hike: Prairie Creek Trail – Foothill Trail loop
This easy loop hike is a great way to see some of the largest redwoods in the Redwoods National Park at Prairie Creek.
5 miles roundtrip, 600 ft. gain (from the Elk Prairie campground)
While camping at Elk Prairie campground, we did a loop hike on the Prairie Creek Trail and across the road to see Big Tree. Instead of following the standard loop outlined in at the visitors center, we also hiked on parts of the Cal Barrel Road and Cathedral Trees trails.
From the campground, we took the Redwoods Access Trail to the Visitors Center, then we started the loop on the Prairie Creek Trail. Sword ferns and redwood sorrel fill the understory beneath massive redwoods mixed with red alder and bigleaf maple trees.
One of several downed trees with cut-outs for hiking through…
I love the bridges in this park. They all have a similar distinctive style, and several of them have twists and turns as they lead over creeks.
Burls add character to old, gnarly trees
Another awesome bridge with twists and turns…
After hiking almost 2 miles on the Prairie Creek Trail, we followed signs and turned right to cross the park’s entrance road. From there, we turned left and took the trail for the Hunnwell-Donald Memorial Grove.
Big Tree is estimated to be 1,500 years old, with a height of 286 feet and a circumference of 74.5 feet.
Even the root balls on the downed trees are giant here.
We connected back to the Redwoods Access Trail near the Visitors Center and headed back to camp after our hike.