Tim Foolery

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Redwood State and National Park Hikes

Our trip continued north into Redwood National and State Park. This park was really the destination for this part of the trip. We had planned a couple of different hikes and were really looking forward to getting back to nature.

The Redwood Creek Lookout – Fogged in, but still beautiful

We had two full days to explore the area, with our home base being Eureka California. The first day, Independence Day, we chose to do our biggest hike of the trip. The Dolason Prairie Trail starts at 2,400 feet and descends down to 200 feet over 10.4 miles round trip. At the bottom there is another trail, the Tall Trees Trail, which adds another 4 miles to the excursion.

I don’t plan these trips, I’m just along for the ride and I failed to ask the right questions – I thought we were just hiking 16.75 km (10.4 +/- miles), not realizing that trail at the bottom even existed. We ended up hiking 24 km and were not properly provisioned. We were really rationing our water and were very parched as we made our way back up the steep incline at the end of the trail. It was tough and honestly pretty torturous. The views and the hike was beautiful, but I stopped having fun about 15 km (9.5 miles) in. I have never been so happy to see a crappy rental car before in my life.

The View

Dolason Prairie Trail – We hit it hard

The Dolason Barn – The beginning and end of Dolason Prairie Trail. A beautiful sight at the end of a long hike.

Pure nature for as far as the eye can see

A tree lined meadow on the Dolason Prairie Trail

A tree lined meadow on the Dolason Prairie Trail

The sound of this creek made for a perfect lunch stop.

The trail was quite soothing and bucolic

The majestic redwood trees

Dappled light through the canopies.

The forest was dense with ample switchbacks.

Obligatory vertical shot, up a tree.

The stream was free of all other hikers and was a great pit stop on this intense hike.

An upturned stump, massive and imposing.

We were exhausted. This was just our first day of the planned two days of hiking in this park. I now knew the questions to ask before setting off on a hike and Mike knew better the questions I should ask and he would be more proactive on offering up information.

The second day found us at the north end of the Park where we did a couple of easy, road side trails, then a longer trail (Ossagon Trail) that leads you from the Redwoods down to the beach. The trail was very steep too, but this time, I was OVER-provisioned. I had enough water and food to feed an invading army.

The Parks are not something I ever did growing up, so these are all new experiences for me. While it may not be the most strenuous of hikes out there, they are not all a walk in the garden, but the views are unbeatable. We know we won’t always be able to hike these trails, so we are pushing ourselves to do more and more of these while we are still (relatively) young.

How frequently do you visit National or State Parks? Is this a new thing for you or has it been an integral part of your life for years? What is your favorite hike in Redwood National and State Park?

Hendy Woods State Park

We left San Francisco to head up to Mendocino County to spend a couple days with family and to do some hiking. Our first hiking stop was the Hendy Woods State Park. We had some non-hikers with us, so we were happy to take an easy trail so we could all spend time together.  It was their first trip to see these giant trees.

We opted to hike a flat trail – The Upper Hendy Loop Trail – which was very flat and was about 2.5 km (1.6 miles) long. While it wasn’t a strenuous hike, it was really beautiful.

Hendy Woods State Park

Hendy Woods State Park

Big Hendy Grove - Easy Trails

Big Hendy Grove – Easy Trails

Flat Hike at Hendy State Park

The beautify foliage found on the flat hike

Uprooted Redwood

An uprooted tree helps show the massiveness of these giants.

Glorious Redwood Tree

Ubiquitous upshot of a redwood.

Info Sign at Hendy Woods State Park

Very busy info sign – luckily we didn’t find an wild cats during our trek.

This was my first redwood experience ever on foot. I drove through the redwoods about 20 years ago, but didn’t stop and hike, I had places to go and people to see.  I would highly recommend this hike for all fitness levels. You get to see so much of the beauty of the region with almost no physical exertion.

Have you hiked Hendy Woods State Park before? What do you think of this trail? It was utterly dead when we were there, only coming across a single other group of travelers. So sad that more people weren’t experiencing the beauty on this long holiday weekend.