For our second full day in the park, we headed South to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. The trail guide for the South section of the park is ginormous, and would take days to do it all! And just like the North guide, the trail distances are listed one-way, not round-trip (unless it is a loop), so keep that in mind when planning your adventure.
Since we didn’t have much time to work with, we decided to choose a variety of shorter trails so we would see a more diverse sampling of the park. We started our day with the Fern Canyon Loop Trail, a 0.7 mile loop. Most of this hike is very easy, but there is some stream crossing, as well as a bit of climbing over fallen trees. Exiting the canyon requires some uphill hiking, making the trail maybe more moderate, but those wishing to avoid hiking uphill can simply hike into the canyon, and then straight back out instead of completing the loop.
The canyon was awesome. 30′ tall canyon walls completely covered in ferns, with waterfalls, streams, and fallen trees blocking the trail, making it feel like a jungle gym for adults. Fun!!
We also hiked the Circle Trail, which was an easy, 0.3 mile loop. And this one was definitely easy. Short and flat.The trail takes you through redwoods, and leads to the Big Tree, the biggest tree in the Prairie Creek section of the park.
The last trail we did in the South section of the park was the Trillium Falls Trail, which was a moderate, 2.5 mile loop. The falls were cool, but the best part of the trail? Berry picking!!
Right at the beginning of the trail were tons of wild berry bushes with lots and lots of ripe berries for picking (we visited the park in mid-August, for reference). Park visitors are allowed to pick one gallon per person, per day. But we got nowhere close to that. We just grabbed a couple handfuls to snack on while we hiked. Super fun and tasty!
The falls! It is only a 10′ waterfall, so not super breathtaking. But the trail was a lot of fun, and the berry picking was awesome.
In talking to the park rangers, we learned that the South section of the park was a more recent addition to the park, and had suffered a great deal of forestation prior to being put under park protection. So as a result, it is significantly less impressive to see than the North section. It may have more hiking trails, but if your time in the park is limited, I would recommend focusing your attention on the North. It is a kind of far drive to get to the South half, and there isn’t as much worth seeing there. Yet.
For a complete listing of trails in the South section of the park, click here!