Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park preserves some of the finest specimens of Coastal Redwoods in northern California. The park has many trails that can obviously be hiked in any combination. I was able to hike almost all of the park’s trails by doing 4 different one day loop hikes. This is a description of one of the loop hikes. The other three loop hikes are as follows:
Ossagon, Friendship & Coastal Trails Loop Hike
This description starts at Ossagon Trailhead at an elevation of 630 ft. For the first half a mile, the trail goes into a beautiful Redwood forest going up to 740 ft and then descends quickly to reach the Pacific Ocean. Redwoods disappear at the start of the descent. You will then get onto West Ridge and Friendship Trails going up among Redwoods to an elevation of 810 ft and then slowly descend back to the ocean where a 2.7 mile hike on a sandy beach will bring you back to Ossagon Trail. The site referenced at the bottom of this page says in winter/during the wet months boggy areas near the ocean make it difficult to reach the shoreline (I saw no standing water in early September).
From Crescent City, California, drive 25 miles south on Route 101. Take Exit 765 to Newton Drury Scenic Parkway and go south 2.5 miles to Ossagon Trailhead on the right (west) side of the road.
The red line was added by me showing the approximate location of the correct path where I lost the trail and ended up bushwhacking.
|Hike length||13.9 miles lollipop loop|
|Highest elevation||810 ft|
|Lowest elevation||zero ft|
|Total uphill||1800 ft|
Get on Ossagon Trail and head west through a pretty Redwood forest.
After half a mile, the trail begins to descend and takes you down to the Pacific Coast. Redwoods disappears shortly after the start of the descent and you will be hiking through a forest of pine and other trees. Near the coast, the trail begins to head south parallel to the ocean (Coastal Trail). During the wet season (other than summer), this area can apparently become boggy making it hard to hike.
I followed the Coastal Trail to a spot where it suddenly seemed to make a 135 degree turn heading northwest. The true Coastal Trail apparently enters the forest at that spot but I was not able to find it. You can see my wanderings on my GPS path (the added red line is the approximate correct path). I ended up whacking my way through a very dense growth of grass taller than me to find Coastal Trail. After a short hike in the forest, you will reach the signed junction with West Ridge Trail. Follow this trail uphill. Redwoods appear again.
At an elevation of 810 ft, you will reach the junction with Friendship Trail. Turn right and follow this trail for the next 2.5 miles slowly going down in elevation.
You will then reach the junction with James Irvine Trail. Turn west and follow the trail to reach the beach. You will have the option of going into Fern Canyon (see Miner, Fern Canyon, Irvine Trail hike). This description stays on Irvine Trail where you can look down into fern Canyon.
At the west end of Fern Canyon, I followed the trail south to reach Fern Canyon Trailhead and went west onto the sandy beach to reach Pacific Ocean where I turned north and began to hike parallel to the ocean.
After 2.7 miles, you will reach near where Ossagon Trail brought you down. You will not find any signs for the trail here. Some big rocks can be seen on the beach to the north. Turn east and go inland to find Ossagon trail. The rock known as Ossagon Rock can be seen on the beach. Get back on Ossagon Trail and go back uphill to reach the starting point.