The driving force in the creation of the redwoods state and national parks on California’s North Coast was the Save-the-Redwoods League. Founders Grove was selected to memorialize the originators of that league. Expect something special on this easy half mile hike. A guide accompanying this trail is packed with useful information, allowing hikers to thoroughly experience a redwood forest on Founders Grove Nature Trail.
The first attraction on the loop is Founders Tree, a 346 foot tall redwood that is 40 foot around. Like the rest of the grove, the Founders Tree honors the creators of the Save-the-Redwoods League, which was formed in 1917. The group purchased its first grove in 1921 in what is now Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Over the last 90 years, the league has protected 170,000 acres of redwood forests and contributed over 57 million dollars to their preservation.
At the start of Founders Grove Loop turn left and pick up a free trail guide. Numbered markers along the trail coincide with entries in a guide booklet, which add quite a bit of learning to the short hike. Hike the loop in a clockwise direction to follow the guide in order, and learn interesting factoids like:
A very large redwood can release up to 500 gallons of water into the air per day.
The greatest accumulation of plant mass ever recorded on earth was a redwood stand in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. This temperate rainforest has seven times the biomass (living and dead organic material) of that found in a tropical rainforest.
At the far side of the loop, reach the Dyerville Giant, a fallen redwood believed to be 1,600 years old. When it fell in 1991, the 370-foot tall redwood was the oldest, largest, and tallest tree in the grove (slightly taller than Niagara Falls!).
No visitors were present when the tree fell, but a sound like a train wreck was heard a mile away when the giant redwood fell. The demise of this 1,000,000 pound tree with a 17-foot diameter splattered mud fifteen feet up the trunk of another redwood, 50 feet away.
Founders Grove Loop offers an easy hike with approximately 25 feet of elevation gain. The sight of these great trees is astounding, but the added knowledge from the trail guide makes the forest even more impressive.
To visit more of Humboldt Redwoods State Park, check out Gould Grove Trail, Drury-Chaney Loop Trail, and Grieg-French-Bell Trail (to the Girdled Tree). Dogs and bikes are prohibited on Founders Grove Nature Trail. No permit is required to visit Founders Grove and parking at the trailhead is free, so get out and enjoy!
To get to the trailhead: From the north, drive 40 miles south of Eureka on Highway 101 to exit 663. At the bottom of the ramp, make a left, cross under the 101 and make an immediate right onto Avenue of the Giants. (This scenic drive parallels Highway 101 through Humboldt Redwoods State Park. You may exit earlier to see more of the park.) Drive 1/4 mile on Avenue of the Giants, and make the next left onto Dyerville Loop Road. The trailhead parking is a few hundred feet ahead on the left. The trail itself is to the right.
From the south, drive 47 miles north of Leggett on Highway 101 to exit 663. At the end of the off ramp, cross Avenue of the Giants on to Dyerville Loop Road. Find the parking on the left across from the trailhead.
Trailhead address: Dyerville Loop Road, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Weott, CA 95571
Trailhead coordinates: 40.352153, -123.923897 (40° 21′ 07.75″N 123° 55′ 26.02″W)
You may also view a regional map of surrounding Northern California trails and campgrounds.
|Gould Grove Trail |
This half mile loop explores an old growth redwood forest across from the visitor center in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
|Grieg-French-Bell Trail |
This half-mile loop in Humboldt Redwoods State Park explores redwood groves dedicated to Grieg, French, and Bell, crossing ground covered in redwood sorrel to visit the Girdled Tree, which had its bark stripped away and sent to San Francisco.
|Drury-Chaney Loop Trail |
This 2.4-mile lollipop loop provides an easy and enchanting hike through redwood trees at the north end of Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
|Woodland Trail |
This 1.25-mile loop explores patches of redwoods surrounded by a shaded oak forest in Richardson Grove Redwoods State Park.
|Durphy Creek Trail - Tan Oak Springs Trail - Lookout Point Loop |
This 3.75-mile loop climbs 1,000 feet to a forest ridge before descending to Lookout Point, where you can enjoy an unimpressive view to the south.
|Yurok Loop and Hidden Beach |
This 2.25-mile hike explores a rugged and beautiful area of California's north coast, combining Yurok Loop Trail and the Hidden Beach Section of Coastal Trail to visit beaches, forests, and ocean vistas.
|Fern Canyon Trail |
This one-mile hike explores an incredibly ferny canyon in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.
|Stout Memorial Grove |
This 0.55-mile hike explores an old growth grove of coastal redwoods in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.
|More hikes in Northern California |
Explore other trails in Northern California, including hikes in coastal parks and around Mount Shasta.