Headwaters Trail

Eureka, California

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The hike leads through one of Northern California’s most controversial pieces of real estate, the infamous Headwaters Forest. This infamous parcel of land includes old-growth redwood forest that was saved from the chainsaw through the much-publicized Headwaters Deal of 1999. The trail is the only path in the preserve that presently is open to the public. It passes by the site of a former mill town called Falk, gone now except for some plants that once decorated residents’ gardens. The hike culminates on the edge of the old-growth Headwaters Grove at a vista point overlooking Hole in the Headwaters—a controversial piece of land within the preserve that was exempted from the agreement. Terrain: Pavement, gravel road, and dirt road over riparian lowland and steep, forested hills.

Headwaters Trail Professional Review and Guide

"The hike leads through one of Northern California’s most controversial pieces of real estate, the infamous Headwaters Forest. This infamous parcel of land includes old-growth redwood forest that was saved from the chainsaw through the much-publicized Headwaters Deal of 1999. The trail is the only path in the preserve that presently is open to the public. It passes by the site of a former mill town called Falk, gone now except for some plants that once decorated residents’ gardens. The hike culminates on the edge of the old-growth Headwaters Grove at a vista point overlooking Hole in the Headwaters—a controversial piece of land within the preserve that was exempted from the agreement. Terrain: Pavement, gravel road, and dirt road over riparian lowland and steep, forested hills."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Eureka
Distance: 11
Elevation Gain: 1,770 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 4 to 5 hours
Season: Year round
Trailhead Elevation: 200 feet
Top Elevation: 1,400 feet
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: BLM, Arcata
Local Maps: USGS McWhinney Creek, Fields Landing

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