Gilliam Creek Trail– East Austin Creek Trail • Double Loop Professional Review and Guide
"This is a strenuous and secluded nine-mile loop trail that traverses the width of Austin Creek State Recreation Area, a large, undeveloped park adjacent to Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve. Hike 47 explores the first half of the loop. This hike follows the entire double loop. The route begins on the Gilliam Creek Trail. The trail contours across grassy slopes and drops down tree-lined ravines to three creeks—Schoolhouse Creek, Gilliam Creek, and East Austin Creek. The path continues parallel to Gilliam Creek in an oak-shaded woodland, crossing the creek nine times (which all require wading). The route climbs out of the creek drainage along an old dirt road to the East Austin Creek Trail, a 4.7-mile unpaved service road. The road drops from 1,200 feet to 300 feet, winding down the remote canyon through a mix of forested groves, grassy meadows, and spectacular vistas of the rugged coastal mountains and the Russian River Valley. En route, the hiking and equestrian trail passes Gilliam Creek Trail Camp (at the confluence of Gilliam Creek and East Austin Creek) and the Tom King Trail Camp (on the banks of Thompson Creek). Biking is allowed on the East Austin Creek Trail. NOTE: During the winter, the lower Gilliam Creek Trail can be impassable due to high water. Check with the rangers at the visitor center before heading out."