When we first planned a trip to the north coast with the stop at Redwood State and National Parks, I could not understand what should I add to the plan. Where to stop, where to hike, what are the absolute must see. The park looked huge, and all state parks inside it didn’t help.
After a few years of visits, I still cannot say that I’m an expert. But now I can define what places you should see on your first visit are.
Trillium Falls Trail is among them. Moderate, not long trail that circles among the first grown redwoods, and has a lovely waterfall, is an excellent place to stretch your legs after the long drive.
The trail is a loop in the strip of old-growth redwoods on the place of the old sawmill. Apparently, the closure to the mill was the reason why they weren’t logged. Today you will not find any structures left but a big meadow where sometimes elk graze. At least the sign on 101 near the exit tells that.
The trailhead and its parking lot are very close to 101; there is no long drive to it or dirt access road. Near the parking lot, there are few picnic tables, and two access trails, both of them lead to Davison Trail. From there after a short walk turn right to Trillium Falls Trail.
From here the trail starts to switch back uphill among gorgeous old redwoods. We’ve been there in the second part of the day in the middle of March, and the light was amazing.
Less than in half a mile, the trail starts to go downhill and soon you will see a small waterfall and a bridge over it.
Last year we had an unsuccessful hike to Fern Falls at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, when falls were nothing less than a drizzle. But this time, it was the right time to chase waterfalls. The cascade roared, the ground around it was mud, and the air was fresh with all the moisture.
You can take a good look from the bridge. However, if you decide to walk down, be careful: rocks are slippery. There is also a fallen tree across the falls. I definitely not suggest to walk on it: I did only to realize how unsafe it is to walk back there.
From the falls, you can return to the car if you have not much time, or complete the loop. From there path proceeds its way among redwoods though I found them less impressive than at the beginning however still beautiful. You will pass the intersection with the dirt road. You can take it, and make the hike shorter, or proceed on the path among the redwoods for a bit longer.
The final section is a dirt row, very even, along the creek. You will not see any redwoods here, but in the early spring, there are a lot of wildflowers along the path.
Link and information
- The trail could be hiked differently, and it will result in different distance. We hiked the longest combination – a total of 2.6 miles.
- Direction to the Trillium Falls trailhead on Google Maps. It’s ~40 miles south from Crescent City; or ~40 miles from Eureka, ~340 miles from San Francisco
- I found out that the map and trail description are the best at redwoodhikes.com
- The trail is on the lands of Redwood National Park, so all national park regulations are in place. This is an official park map – search Elk Meadow/Trillium Falls
- Other adventures in Redwood National and State Park read here
- More on California North Coast
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