【Redwood National Park】Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park | Introduction

Maybe you will feel strange when you read the title, isn't it a national park? Why is this article about Prairie Creek State Park? In fact, Redwood National Park has a large area of redwood forests, some of the land belongs to the State of California, and some belongs to the National Park Service, so some parts of it are considered as state parks, and some parts of it are considered as national parks. To us tourists, the difference is not that big. Even the national parks themselves think that there is no difference for tourists, not only can you enter all the related state parks by holding a national park annual pass, but also the publications of the National Parks Service actually says "Redwood national and state parks".

Back to the topic.Redwood National ParkLocated on the California coast, Redwood National Park is a narrow, elongated national park. The entire Redwoods National Park and the state park are divided into six areas from north to south, which are Hiouchi area, Crescent city area, Klamath area, Prairie creek area, Bald hills area, and Orice area, with Prairie Creek area being the largest and most visited in the south. Among them, Prairie Creek area is the largest and most visited in the south, which includes Prairie creek redwoods state park, Elk meadows/Trillium falls, Gold Bluffs Beach ( Fern Canyon) and the Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway, a section of scenic highway that runs through the area.

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is the best place to see the large redwood forest. If you don't want to spend too much time, the most basic trip is to drive along the Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway, which is about 10 miles and is part of Highway 101. You will pass the Prairie Creek Visitor Center, and spend 15 minutes to walk to the Big Tree Wayside Trail opposite the Visitor Center to see the Big Tree, which is the fastest way to absorb the essence of Redwood National Park. The California Redwoods are one of the tallest plants in the world, and it is really hard to record the size of the forest with a camera. If this is your first time to see such a large and huge forest, you may be quite shocked. I still remember when we first came here, the ranger explained to us in a simple and straightforward way, this is just a lot of trees, and they are huge.

If you can make it a half-day trip, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park has a number of trails that are gentle and easy to follow, and are great for the whole family. Starting from the Visitor Center, there are many routes to choose from. In addition to the Big Tree, there are also the Revelation Trail, the Karl Knapp Trail, the Foothill Trail, and many others, which can easily take half a day.

Prairie Creek Visitor Center

If you're visiting Prairie Creek, you'll want to drive to the Prairie Creek Visitor Center, which is in the heart of the Prairie Creek Area, just a short drive north on 101, and home to the popular Elk It is also home to the popular Elk Prairie Campground. Even on vacation, even the parking spaces in the campground are full, so you have to look for a spot outside on the 101. It's no wonder, as some of the most popular trails can be accessed from here.

Important Scenic Spots and Trails

The Prairie Creek area has a number of trails that are gentle and easy to follow, and are great for the whole family. Starting from the Visitor Center, there are many trails to choose from. Besides the Big Tree, there are also the Revelation Trail, Karl Knapp Trail, Foothill Trail, etc. You can easily spend half a day on these trails.

Revelation Trail | Redwood Access Trail

The Revelation trail is just next to the Visitor Center. It is a very famous short trail, only 0.3 mile long, and is recommended by the National Park. However, if you come here because of its name, you may find it a bit hard to find. The entrance is Redwood access trail, so look for the sign next to the visitor center that says you can go to the Redwood access trail, and after walking for a short while, you will naturally be connected to the revelation trail. the entrance to the Redwood access trail is actually behind the restroom in the visitor center.

The reason why it is called Redwood access trail is that you really feel close to the redwoods on this trail. It is very humid and there are a lot of ferns along the way besides the redwoods.

The Revelation trail itself is very short, and you'll be done with it in no time. It's a nature trail, and it's very good for observing in detail. It is a nature trail which is very suitable for observing. Therefore, the main thing is to understand the knowledge of redwood. The most important knowledge to be learned in Redwood national park is the difference between Coast redwood and Seqouia. The redwood in Redwood national park is Coast redwood, which is thinner and taller, with a life span of about 2,000 years, compared to the redwood in Seqouia national park. Compared to the Sequoia in Seqouia national park, it is fatter and bigger, but shorter in height and has a longer life span. In addition, although the redwoods are big, there are no big pine cones, which are often seen in California, and the fruits of the redwoods are only olive-sized.

Prairie Creek Trail (Karl Knapp Trail) / Foothills Trail Loop

Prairie Creek Trail (Karl Knapp Trail)

From the Redwood access trail, you can also connect to the Prairie Creek Trail, which has recently been renamed the Karl Knapp Trail, which is in fact the same trail as the Prairie Creek Trail, but if you are following the directions, you may find that some of the signs are still old and a bit confusing. Karl Knapp Trail and the Foothills Trail across the road is 2.5 miles in total, which is a very gentle loop back to the Visitor Center.

Why was it renamed Karl Knapp trail? It was renamed in recent years in honor of Karl Knapp, who worked for California's state parks for 45 years, was a trail expert, and did a lot of work on California's trail system, contributing so much that people felt there had to be a trail named after him.

If you have enough time and energy, you can continue to walk down to the places marked with Zigzag #1 and #2, and make a bigger circle back. There are redwood shelters along the way, so you don't feel tired.

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In the center of the trail, there were some big fallen trees and a tunnel was dug out for pedestrians to walk through, which was quite interesting. After that, I saw a small bridge crossing over Goodwood Creek.

Big Tree | Circle Trail

After crossing the road, keep walking, you will join the Big Tree Wayside Trail, there is a must-see tree called Big Tree, if you have limited time, you can park your car at the entrance of the Big Tree Wayside Trail, which is located at the side of the 101 road, you only need to walk for about 100 meters to get to the Big Tree. The Circle Trail next to Big Tree is only 0.5 mile, and it only takes 15 minutes to finish it.

Cathedral Trees

The Cathedral trees trail is another small trail next to the Big Tree, and as you walk in, there is a large area of very tall trees, these are the Cathedral Trees.

Foothill trail

After crossing the Big Tree Wayside trail, which is the most crowded area, I continued my walk to the south and came to the Foothill Trail, which is relatively quiet, but in fact, it is my favorite part of the trail in this area. There are a lot of big trees along the way, after crossing the road, you will be back to the visitor center.

Corkscrew Tree

There is another tree near Foothill trail, called Corkscrew tree, which is worth seeing, the sign is not very clear, when you drive to the entrance of Corkscrew tree, you will see a sign of Corkscrew tree, but it doesn't say where the tree is or how long the trail is. At first, we thought that the big tree on the roadside was the Corkscrew tree we were looking for, but after walking a little bit inside, we realized that the tree was actually inside, and we had to walk about 400ft inside, and when we saw the tree, it was really a tree as its name suggests, with its trunk tangled and spiraling upwards, which was quite special.

Further reading

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