Hiking the Redwood Coast  by Dan Brett

Hiking the Redwood Coast Guide Book

by Dan Brett (Falcon Guides)
Hiking the Redwood Coast  by Dan Brett
Enjoy 52 of the Redwood Coast’s most fascinating hikes, featuring a dazzling geographic, historical, biological, and cultural diversity that makes this region unique. From the towering majesty of Redwood National Park to the sea caves and blowholes of Mendocino’s shores and the wildflower meadows of Big Sur, the Redwood Coast offers abundant opportunities to experience nature at its best. Whether you want to whale watch from rugged coastal bluffs, delve deep into ancient forests, or comb beaches for Neptune’s treasures, let veteran hiker and local guide Dan Brett lead you through this land of stark contrasts, stirring history, and incomparable beauty.

© 2004 Dan Brett/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Hiking the Redwood Coast" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 52.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 52.

An amazing resource so close to the frantic traffic and urban sprawl of Silicon Valley, the patchwork of public lands that make up the South Skyline Regional Open Space Preserves are crisscrossed with enough trails to make everyone happy. This hike skirts picturesque Alpine Lake before climbing a grass-and-oak-covered ridge to some impressive panoramas of the western Santa Cruz Mountains. This trail is part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail network.
Los Altos Hills, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
Out-of-the-way Butano State Park is a great place to go to escape the urban hustle without spending half your weekend in the car. Ranching activity going back 150 years has changed the park environment, but Mother Nature is proving herself as a competent healer. The hike takes a tour of several plant communities now thriving within the small park’s borders.
Pescadero, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.3
Año Nuevo State Reserve is home to a large population of elephant seals, the largest pinniped in the ocean. The seals come ashore at various times of the year to molt, mate, and occasionally wage bloody battles for breeding rights. An easy day hike leads you out along the Año Nuevo headlands to the scene of all this natural drama: broad sandy beaches nestled up against the dunes of the point. A limited number of visitors are allowed in each day. Call in advance for season-specific information and reservations.
Davenport, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.4
A leisurely jaunt through second-growth redwood forest along gravel and dirt tracks, just a stone’s throw from the quirky college town of Arcata. Plenty of clearings and small meadows provide contrast to the deep shadows of the forest, and numerous connecting trails are available to customize the hike. Tucked up against the progressive little college town of Arcata is a jumble of densely forested hills that represent an ongoing experiment in modern silviculture. Dedicated in 1955, the Arcata Community Forest was originally acquired by the city as a source of drinking water, which was collected by building small reservoirs on the creeks flowing through the forest.
Arcata, CA - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 4
This much-loved trail leads through the heart of Big Basin Redwoods State Park, the oldest of California’s state parks, on a large loop trail. The path follows the courses of fern-carpeted Berry and West Waddell Creeks, with plenty of banana slugs, salamanders, and other slimy critters to keep you company. The highlight of the trail is a series of unusual waterfalls on Berry Creek.
Saratoga, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 10.4
A gentle stroll through old-growth redwoods to a quiet curve of the Navarro River, then back past memorial groves and through a short stretch of oak-studded grassland to the trailhead. Numerous trails allow for longer or shorter loops.
Philo, CA - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 1.6
Spectacular views of the ocean, pocket beaches, and rugged cliffs await hikers on this quick loop around Bodega Head. Wildlife lovers with binoculars can observe rare birds, blue and gray whales, and sea lions from the rocky promontory, which juts out into the Pacific.
Bodega Bay, CA - Birding,Hiking - Trail Length: 1.7
This trail takes hikers on a classic stroll through the Rockefeller Forest, one of the largest tracts of contiguous uncut coastal redwoods in the world. The path wanders among the majestic trees, many of which are individually named for peculiar traits— such as the Flatiron Tree, known for its distinctive cross section. Beneath the canopy, plant lovers will find a variety of floral gems, including giant horsetail, iris, blue blossom, and sweet-scented bedstraw.
Fortuna, CA - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 9.2
This hike explores the deep folds and rocky heights of Castle Rock State Park, perched up on the ridge of the Santa Cruz mountain range between the urban centers of San Jose and Santa Cruz. The dense oak forest of the park is studded with large granite outcrops that local rock climbers find irresistible. The park’s namesake Castle Rock is marked by strange honeycomb formations, but it is Goat Rock that provides the best views.
Saratoga, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
This hike explores one of California’s most fascinating historic idiosyncrasies: a Russian fur-hunting settlement on the Sonoma Coast, dating back nearly two hundred years. The fort stockade has largely been restored to its original appearance, with massive rough-hewn timber walls and log buildings filled with implements of the era. An excellent visitor center and bookstore cover the rich history admirably well. The hike leads from the fort down to Fort Ross Cove, where the Russians launched their furhunting expeditions, and on up the creek to the settlement’s cemetery.
Jenner, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.5
A scenic hike along the Pacific coast through tunnels of wind-shaped cypress, alders, and dense coastal scrub, with plenty of spectacular views of this rugged and forbidding coastline. The turnaround point for the hike is tiny Hidden Beach, a quiet little cove accessible only by foot.
Klamath, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
The trail crosses meadows and alder forests just inland from the broad, sandy shoreline of Crescent Beach. The easy grade and pastoral surroundings make for a very pleasant walk, which culminates with a short climb through denser coastal forest to the overlook above Enderts Beach. From here, hikers can enjoy an excellent view of the Pacific and the scenic shoreline stretching north to Crescent City.
Crescent City, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.2
This hike follows a steep but very scenic trail, which offers the best of old-growth redwoods and rugged coastline. In spring the trail is sprinkled with a variety of wildflowers— most notably the distinctive three-leafed trillium, a showy native flower with white and pink blossoms. The trail ends at a beach next to a small, natural rock arch, carved by waves. Excellent tide pools can be explored at low tide.
Crescent City, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.4
The Dolason Prairie Trail is far from the tourist crowds that plague redwood groves along U.S. Highway 101. Beginning high in the Bald Hills, the trail explores prairies that local Native American populations once maintained with fire, then descends through thick forests to the old-growth redwood groves along Emerald Creek. Brooding fog often envelopes the valley, but on clear days the prairies offer excellent views.
Orick, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 9.6
This easily overlooked park packs a lot into a relatively small package, with four distinct vegetation zones ranging from wind-sculpted coastal cypress groves to a rare pygmy forest at the upper end of the reserve. The Ecological Staircase Trail is named for the natural terraces in the landscape, formed by a combination of geological uplifting and wave action.
Fort Bragg, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.2
This pleasant hike begins and ends at one of a small handful of publicly accessible pygmy forests in the state. From here it plunges down into a deep ravine clothed in mature second-growth redwoods to the headwaters of the Little River. After a stretch along the lush riparian streamside, the trail climbs steeply and returns to the trailhead via an old logging road, now closed to vehicle traffic.
Mendocino, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.2
A very short hike, made more challenging by the long, bumpy approach, but every bit worth the effort to find. The trail follows the bed of Home Creek up through a magical canyon, formed by hydraulic mining during the gold rush. Nature has outdone itself in healing these scars, with a lush carpet of ferns and moss hung like an emerald tapestry from the canyon’s 40-foot walls. The return loop passes by the site of a gold-rush ghost town.
Orick, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1
This hike visits a prime spot for whale watching. The trail is a short hike along steep bluffs overlooking offshore rocks, which are home to harbor seals. Deep gullies and surge channels are also interesting features found along this rugged stretch of coast.
Jenner, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.5
With more than 80,000 acres, Henry W. Coe State Park is the largest state park in California. This hike explores one corner of this vast semi-wilderness, once the working cattle ranch of the park’s namesake. The high rolling hills and deep, forested ravines are home to abundant wildlife, including the unexpected tarantula, which is honored with a festival in the park each October. The hike offers a cross section of the park’s varied landscapes, climbing a ridge to tiny Frog Lake and returning via the forested valley on the Flat Frog Trail.
Morgan Hill, CA - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 4.6
A decent hike up through second-growth forest to the fringe of one of Northern California’s newest and most politically charged parks: the Headwaters Preserve. The trail explores some history early on, passing by the site of Falk—once a flourishing logging boomtown, and now in the process of being rapidly reclaimed by the forest. Farther up, the path leads to the edge of an old-growth grove saved from clear-cutting by the efforts of environmental activists, public outcry, and political dealing. The preserve was created in the late 1990s, but there is a cloud to this silver lining ...
Eureka, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 11.2