Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park - Stout Grove Trail


What? :

The Stout Memorial Grove Trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is an easy 0.6-mile-long loop trail passing through a large grove of old-growth redwoods near the Smith River.


Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park has a lot of uninterrupted old Redwood growth and it considered to be one of the most unspoiled redwood parks.



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

Link to the trip planner blog

Link to Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park blog




Where? :

The Park is located few miles east of Crescent City and highway 101 at the most Northern West corner of California, around 2 hour’s drive north of Eureka.

This specific hike trailhead is located on a small parking lot exiting the park the main forest road, on the east side of the park, jut near the Smith River.

You can drive here by crossing the park unpaved road from west to east, Howland Hill Rd.

Another longer option to reach this trailhead is by driving east on highway 199, after 6.7 miles turn right into road 427. Cross Nels Christensen Memorial Bridge and soon after the second bridge (cross over the South Fork Smith River).

Right after the second bridge turn right into Douglas Park Dr., follow this road for 2.4 miles down the river all the way to the parking lot entrance. On your drive you will cross wooden cover bridge and after passing through the small community you will get into the park dirt road. At 2.4 mile you will see the turn right into the parking lot and the trailhead.

Google Map Link


When? :

Year round, Summer temperatures range from 45 to 85 degrees, Winter can bring 100 inches of rain and temperatures between 30 and 65 degrees; snow at this low elevation is rare.


Due note 1: Like most of Redwood National and State Parks, there’s no parking fee or entrance fee for Stout Grove.


Due note 2: Camping at one of the 89 sites is available, reservations are recommended between Memorial Day and Labor Day.


Due note 3: The short trails and the popular redwood groves like Grove of the Titans and Stout Grove can be crowded with many visitors and full parking lots.


Due note 4: Jedediah Smith 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 5: Restrooms are located at the trailhead.


Due note 6: This trail is popular and can be crowded, parking spots can be limited so you will probably need to park on the main road and walk into the trailhead.

When parking on the main road make sure you do not block traffic.


Due note 7: The Jedediah Smith Redwoods State and National Park Visitor center is located on the far east side of the park, right off highway 199, on the other side of the large campground.


Due note 8: There is no parking for RVs and trailers at the trailhead. Howland Hill Road is windy, narrow, unpaved, and is not suitable for large vehicles.


Due note 9: In summer, you can park at the Jedediah Smith Campground (Day Use Area $8 fee required). From the campground walk towards the Smith River and along the riverbank you will find a walking trial heading upstream. This trail is about half a mile and then crosses the summer hikers' bridge to Stout Memorial Grove.


Due note 10: Cell coverage is very limited and cannot be relied on in an emergency, if you want to have an electronic map download it prior leaving Crecent City area.


My thoughts:

Howland Hill drive in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is one of the most beautiful drives I did among the giant redwood trees.

From here hiking into Stout Grove is fun and easy enjoyable hike.

During this visit to the park, I came later at the afternoon, so it was not overcrowded, and I enjoy the hike along the river and underneath the giant trees.



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.



History note about this grove:

In 1929, Clara W. Stout, widow of lumberman Frank D. Stout, donated this tract of old-growth redwood forest to Save the Redwoods League. She did this in memory of her late husband. Stout Grove then became the first dedicated grove in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. This majestic 44-acre grove is considered as the heart of Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.


Additional Related Blogs:


The Hike:

At the confluence of the Smith River and Mill Creek, few miles inland from the ocean, the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park protects 10,000 acres of primeval redwood groves and a lush undergrowth of ferns. The Park contains and preserve 7% of all the old-growth redwoods left in the world.


The trail is relatively short 0.6 mile of easy hike.


From the small parking lot, the paved trail has a short downhill section leading into the 300-foot trees grove. Here you will reach a fork that start the loop section.

Here also the trail is no longer paved but it is flat and easy.

You can choose to make the loop clockwise or counterclockwise, I chose to turn right.

After a short walk below the trees you will reach another trail junction, here the loop trail turn left. I decided to make it longer and I hiked right, following the river.

The trail is leaving the impressive redwood grove and soon you will reach the small bridge over a side creek, here I decided to turn around.


I keep walking along the loop trail, here near the Smith River there are the most impressive trees in the grove.

Along the loop trail the forest ground is covered with large ferns and fallen redwood trees.


When the trail start to turn left to the starting point there is a short detour to the right, leading to the confluence of the Smith River and Mill Creek.

When I visit here during the winter of 2024 both rivers where flowing strong with high water level so you can’t cross even the Mill Creek.

In summer many people picnic, paddle, and swim at this cobbled beach. In summer this is where the hikers' bridge crosses the Smith River.


When you start to walk back in the direction of your starting point you will pass few impressive large redwoods trees.

Soon after you will arrive back to the loop starting point, from here it is a short hike back up to the parking lot.


This is probably the shortest and most rewording hike of the redwoods when it is not overcrowded.








Additional Pictures: