Humboldt Redwoods State Park - Founders Tree Trail


What? : 

Humboldt Redwoods State Park is a large state park along highway 101 corridor. The park containing and protecting Rockefeller Forest, the world's largest remaining contiguous old-growth forest of coast redwoods. The Founders Tree Trail hike will take you into a large Redwood Grove, this is an easy flat 1.2 miles loop hike that almost anyone can do.


This park is part of my "Redwood Parks at Northern California Coastline" road-trip suggestion.

Link to the trip planner blog

Link to Humboldt Redwoods State Park blog


Where? : 

Located 170 miles north of Santa Rosa alongside highway 101 and the Avenue Of The Giants Scenic Road, from Myer Flat at the south to Redcrest at the north. The Trailhead to Founders Grove Nature Trail Loop is located on Dyerville Loop sideroad, just off the “Avenue Of the Giants” road (near South Fort El River crossing).

Google Map Link


When? : 

Year round. Between October and May, the park receives about 80 inches of rain. Fog is not as common as at the coastline.


Due note 1: The Park is located along the main south-north highway 101, this is an excellent place to plan a short stop, take a break from your long drive and enjoy a short hike at the redwoods.


Due note 2: This area was more densely populated before European incursion than it is now. Today, more than 10 percent of the population of Humboldt County are Native American, including many people of Sinkyone descent who live along the North Coast.


Due note 3: Humboldt Redwoods State Park is part several others redwood state and National parks that stretch up at the Northern California's coast and protect the remaining of the old growth Redwoods trees.


Due note 4: The trail is not wheelchair accessible and as all singletrack trails in the redwoods, bikes and dogs are not allowed.


Due note 6: Restrooms are located at the trailhead.


Due note 7: This trail is popular and can be crowded, if the parking lot is full find a parking spot on roadside and make sure you do not block traffic.


My thoughts: 

I visit this park on my way north and I found it worth the stop. This is a large park and I only visit few sections of it, visiting old-growth Redwood Groves.

The side-drive onto Mattole Rd is an excellent way to see the redwoods from your car or to enjoy few short redwoods forest hikes.

The redwoods:

California’s coast redwoods (sequoia sempervirens) exist in a narrow band that runs for 500 miles from Monterey to just over the Oregon border. The redwoods follow the rain and fog at elevations below 2,000 feet, where heavy winter rains and moderate year-round temperatures occur. Trees can grow up to 350 feet tall or more, with a base diameter of about 20 feet.

Redwoods are “living fossils” dating back 100 million years to the Cretaceous Period- the time of the dinosaurs. The oldest coast redwoods are about 2,000 years old.

As result of extensive logging activity in Between 1880 and the early 1900s, thousands of acres of old-growth redwoods had disappeared; Series of state and national parks in northern California protect the remaining of the old-growth Redwoods.

In 1994, NPS and California State Parks agreed to co-manage four parks: Del Norte Coast, Prairie Creek and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Parks, and Redwood National Park. Managing the parks together provides protection and preservation of more than 105,000 acres of redwood forest.

After the logging only about 5% of old growth Redwood exist today, 95% of them are in northern California and 80% of them are already protected in one of the parks.


The visit:

Today Humboldt Redwoods Park spans 53,000 acres, about one third, or 17,000 acres, of the park is old-growth redwood forest, the largest expanse of ancient redwoods left on the planet.

This Park offers one of the best places to see redwoods by car: the 32-mile-long Avenue of the Giants Scenic Road parallel to highway 101. Another highly recommended drive is the Mattole Rd., a narrow side road that wind in between the giant redwood trees and offer several hiking options along the road.

Park headquarters and the visitor center are located on the Avenue of the Giants, State Route 254, between the towns of Weott and Myers Flat.


Founders Tree Trail Hike:

This is a very easy 1.2-mile-long loop hike.

You can see many trees and enjoy the hike in the fern covered ground.

From the parking lot (restrooms), cross the road and walk short distance to Founders Tree location.

This giant tree is 346 ft tall (I saw that it may be “only” 325 ft) with age estimation of 1,400 years, the base is protected by a wooden deck and indeed looks like as much larger than the surrounding trees.

From this point the trail fork to the first loop, we went right and after short hike we arrived at a location where several large redwoods fall to the ground, Dyerville Giant.

You can witness firsthand how large are the trees and their root system.

After passing the huge log you can walk back to the loop starting point or turn right to the second loop (Mahan Loop Trail).

Once done with your hiking you will walk back to your starting point.

Overall, this is a fun, short hike, and excellent stop on your long way.






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