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Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

  Simpson – Reed Grove and Peterson Memorial Trails
    Everyone in the family can enjoy strolling through groves of ancient redwoods, forest floor filled with sword ferns and redwood sorrel (looks like clover), on these two short loop trails, one mile total.
    Along with towering 1,000 year old redwoods, by the side of the trail are fallen redwoods, home for new hemlock trees, ferns and huckleberries. Lacey lichen on forest branches create an enchanted forest look. Interpretive signs provide information about the remarkable life of trees and plants in this grove.
      Tip: This is one of the most accessible groves of spectacular old-growth redwoods in the park. The exit from Highway 199 is labeled "Walker Rd. day use, " use the small parking lot at the trailhead.
  Stout Grove Loop River Trails
      An easy half mile loop trail through the redwoods and ferns, and access to the sparkling Smith River.
      The tallest tree in the grove, the Stout Tree, is named after Clara Stout, who donated 44 acres in 1929 to prevent the redwoods from being cut down.
    Kids will have fun stepping inside redwood trees with hollowed out burned interiors, but the tree is still living – fires help the redwood habitat by clearing the forest floor for new seedlings that need light. Also, at the base of some redwoods are burls, rounded growths where new redwoods grow from spouts – some burls look like alien fantasy creatures.
      Take the access trail down to the Smith River. In summer, there's a bridge across the river to the campground. Stand on the bridge, look down into the clear waters (this is the only undammed river in California) flowing over turquoise green serpentine rocks.
      For a longer hike, walk down the River Trail to the right, or go left on the Hiouchi Trail, retrace your steps to return to the parking lot.
boy scout tree
  Boy Scout Tree Trail With older kids, get out and stretch your legs with a hike to the Boy Scout Tree, about five miles out and back. The trail goes through two and a half miles of old-growth redwoods, really gives you a sense of the expanse of coast redwoods that covered this area, and we saw bright yellow banana slugs. Take the spur trail to the Boy Scout Tree, a colossal "twin trunk" redwood, its deeply ridged bark coated with green lichen, standing like an ancient guardian.
      Tip: To get to the parking lots for Stout Grove and Boy Scout Tree Trails, take Howland Hill Rd, no motorhomes or trailers permitted on this narrow, winding gravel dirt road. Parking is limited, so go early in the day.
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park Campground Go to the day use area (fee) along the river, with picnic tables, river access, and River Beach Trail.
      The campground (open year round) is situated in the redwoods, and very popular in summer. Campground reservations are available six months in advance.
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