Normally when you hike a trail, you don’t spend your time speculating what motivated the trail builders to put the path where the did. Perhaps the CCC was simply creating work for itself when it designed Woodland Trail in Richardson Grove State Park. The east side of this 1.25-mile lollipop loop is sensible, passing through pockets of redwoods at the base of a hill. On the other hand, the west side makes you feel like a struggling actor, asking what’s my motivation as you ascend 325 feet up the side of a mountain to an arbitrary apogee, just so you can immediately hike down the other side. No one says you have to hike the whole thing, so to avoid what seems like wasted effort and cut out the climb, reducing the loop to a 1-mile out and back with less than 50 feet of elevation gain.
Find Woodland Trail from the Ranger Station just inside the entrance station, or from the north end of Huckleberry Campground. If you park at the ranger station, backtrack a short distance up the road past the entrance to a trail marker on the left side of the road. This single track heads northwest, skirting along the exterior of Huckleberry Campground before crossing a wooden bridge to reach the start of the loop. To the left, the trail ascends 300 feet over a quarter-mile to a picnic table at Hikers Rest. It is a quick aggressive climb, with no rewarding view at the top. Past the picnic table, the trail immediately drops back off the wooded mountainside, reaching the level part of the loop after 1/3 of a mile.
To skip all the uphill, or save it for last, turn right at the start of the loop, taking a gradual course through an oak forest mixed with redwoods. There are several signs for named groves along the trail. Calling them groves may be a bit of an exaggeration, as there are only a handful of redwoods in each grouping. Nevertheless, there aren’t any obvious redwoods on the arduous side of the loop, which is why you can pull a 180 as soon as the grade starts to increase. Save yourself the trouble and give the easy-to-reach redwoods a second look. That’s what you came here for anyway, right?
No permit is required to hike Woodland Trail, but at $8 day use fee is required to enter Richardson Grove Redwoods State Park. Dogs are not allowed on hiking trails within the park. For a longer hike in the park with even less redwoods, check out Durst Creek Trail – Tan Oak Springs Trail – Lookout Point Loop, or take a short stroll through the grove near the park visitor where you will find the highest concentration of redwoods in Richardson Grove Redwoods State Park.
To get to the trailhead: From Highway 101, 15 miles north of Leggett, and approximately 30 miles south of Humboldt Redwoods State Park, turn west into the main entrance for Richardson Grove Redwoods State Park. The road curls immediately to the south to the park entrance station. Proceed straight ahead to the ranger station outside Huckleberry Campground and park. Backtrack up the road(using the path to the right of the entrance station if you prefer) to reach the trailhead at the bend in the road.
Trailhead address: 1600 Highway 101, Richardson Grove Redwoods State Park, Garberville, CA 95542
Trailhead coordinates: 40.021954, -123.794194 (40° 01′ 19.03″N 123° 47′ 39.09″W)
You may also view a regional map of surrounding Northern California trails and campgrounds.
|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.
|Founders Grove Nature Trail|
This 0.5 mile loop explores an ancient grove honoring the founders of the Save-the-Redwoods League in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
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.
|Gould Grove Trail|
This half mile loop explores an old growth redwood forest across from the visitor center in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
|Fern Canyon Trail|
This one-mile hike explores an incredibly ferny canyon in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.
|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.
|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.