Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
The most old-growth redwoods per acre in California
HIGHLIGHTS: Just east of Highway 101, about a dozen miles south of the Oregon border, Jedediah Smith's 10,000 acres have more old-growth redwoods per acre than any other park in California. The area is managed cooperatively by state and national park administrators, along with Del Norte Coast and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks and Redwood National Park. Save the Redwoods League helped protect over 5,500 acres in this park.
ACTIVITIES: Explore 20 miles of hiking and nature trails, the Smith River, scenic drives, and two visitor centers. Hike along the Smith River, the longest free-flowing river in California and a haven for chinook salmon and steelhead trout. Look for river otters, marbled murrelets, spotted owls, ruffed grouse and osprey.
VISITOR CENTERS: The Jedediah Smith Redwoods Visitor Center and Hiouchi Information Center are across the road from each other 9 miles east of Crescent City on Highway 199. The former is state-run; the latter is federal. You can get the same park information at both.
CAMPGROUNDS: The park's one campground, just west of the visitor center, has 86 sites. Reservations are recommended between June and Labor Day. Call 800-444-7275 or visit www.reserveamerica.com.
TRAILS: The 0.6 mile-long Stout Grove Trail takes you to the cathedral-like Stout Memorial Grove, where you can gaze up at trees 20 feet in diameter. This grove was named for lumberman Frank D. Stout, who, along with his family, worked with Save the Redwoods League to ensure protection of some of Jedediah Smith's most celebrated trees. If you come up the Howland Hill Road from the south (see below), the trailhead is at about mile 5.
MUST-SEE, UNIQUE FEATURE OR SEASONAL HIGHLIGHT: If you visit the park during May and June, don't miss an explosion of the Pacific rhododendron. In any season, consider a drive along the Howland Hill Road. Built in 1850, this unpaved 10-mile-long road will take you from Crescent City to the town of Hiouchi past some of the park's best old-growth redwoods. From Highway 101 at the south end of Crescent City, turn east on Elk Valley Road. Take the right fork on the Howland Hill Road after about 1.5 miles.
Be sure to check out the live redwoods webcam to see the wild Smith River running through this park!
HIDDEN GEM: More than a century ago, supplies were hauled inland from Crescent City on a road made of redwood planks. Parts of the old Crescent City Plank Road can be viewed by hikers on the Leiffer and Ellsworth trails. Driving east on Highway 199, turn north on Walker Road and proceed about half a mile to the Leiffer trailhead.
EAT: Christine Aralia, Land Project Manager, suggests Good Harvest Cafe in Crescent City for large portions and fresh ingredients.
FAVORITE HIKE: Stout Grove is great for out-of-towners and little ones to take an easy walk and dip their toes in the river.
FAVORITE PARK ATTRACTION: Christine says "Thick redwood forest, banana slugs, a beautiful river, pollywogs - what more could you ask for?"
See the wild Smith River with our live redwoods webcam!
DON'T MISS: Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park.
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HIGHLIGHTS: Just a few miles north of the Russian River at Guerneville, Austin Creek SRA and Montgomery Woods are complementary. Austin Creek is sunny and open, with grasslands and rolling hills dotted with other conifers and oaks.