As the main attraction in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, the Redwood Grove Loop Trail is a pretty fantastic way to get immersed amoung these giants. The trail itself is less than a mile, but it could easily take you an hour as there is so much to see that you will want to take your time. Here is all the information so you can check it out yourself.
- .8 miles
- Wheelchair accessible but still a dirt path
After turning into the park and paying your fee, the Redwood Grove Trail leaves from the parking lot next to the visitors center. It is hard to miss as there are signs to help you find it.
Before heading out on the trail be sure to stop by the visitors center and to learn about the area.
Also, grab a trail map which shows you what all the numbers on the trail refer to. You can buy one for a quarter or just take one of the loaner ones and return it when you come back.
One random thing I learned on the trail was that the tree’s bark has a lot of tannic acid, which provides a defense against bugs, fungus and even fire.
The trail itself is flat and shaded nearly the entire way. There are so many massive trees in this old growth grove that it is a fabulous spot to explore.
Since the coastal redwoods can sprout from the base of an older tree, one of the first attractions you will pass by is the Redwood family circle which has lots of smaller trees that form a circle where an old one once grew.
The main attraction in the middle of the grove is “The Giant.”
This tree is 270 feet tall and over 17 feet wide. It is an amazing tree to behold and it is worth hiking the trail just for it.
Passing the giant tree you will continue along the path with lots of trees proceeding to pop up around you until you reach the halfway point noted by the bathroom.
Be sure to continue past the bathroom to the Fremont Tree though. This tree is said to have housed John Fremont when he spent the night in the hollowed out redwood.
You can still stick your head inside, and it is pretty big, I could have slept in it.
As you are walking back from the mid-point, be sure to listen for the train. The train tracks are right on the other side of the grove, and you can see and hear it if you are walking through when it goes by.
On the way back, I found the above tree with these massive burls and thought it was pretty cool for a picture.
The map also notes where banana slugs should be on the trail as well. Unfortunately, when I went there were not any banana slugs which was a bummer. Here is a picture of one I saw at Big Basin though.
The last main tree of note is the Phantom of the Forest. This tree is described as having an albino white foliage, and I thought it would stand out a little more then it does. It is an impressive tree though with a large burl.
Passing this tree you will wrap your way back around to the visitor center, completing the loop.
Here is a video I made of this trail and the Berry Creek Falls Trail which shows more highlights.
There are many more miles of trails you can see in the park, so make sure to check them out if you have time. Also, you can ride the old steam railroad on the outside of the park, read my review here.