Nice Mix of Redwoods
The Hope Creek-Ten Taypo loop hike is a short and moderately aerobic journey through distinct zones with different sized redwoods. Being on the far northern end of a seldom-visited, yet superb, state park means these trails don't see a lot of people. This is in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park which is part of the Redwood National and State Parks. The National Park Service and California State Parks cooperatively manage all of the parks: Redwood National Park, Prairie Creek State Park, Del Norte Creek Redwoods State Park and Jebediah Smith Redwoods State Park.
The hike starts off of the Newton P. Drury Parkway directly across the road from the Ossagan trail head. The redwoods are huge here with dozens of old growth monsters crowding out most of the sunlight. The giant redwoods with beams of sunlight poking through presents a stunning scene that is quite difficult to photograph without the aid of a tripod, and it's even difficult then. The hike starts on the Hope Creek Trail for 0.3 mile before reaching its junction with the Ten Taypo trail. Go left (clockwise) on Ten Taypo for a shorter and steeper climb to the top of the ridge which marks the high point of this hike only about a mile ahead or left for a gentler, but up-and-down, ascent to the top of 2.2 miles.
You'll obviously go left because steep is cool. The old growth trees along Hope Creek disappear almost immediately as soon as you start climbing the 400' over the next 0.4 mile to a flat stretch near the high point. The redwoods here are second growth, but many of them are quite impressive. Many of these trees are over 200' tall, and you may not even notice their immensity if you've been in the park for a few days. There's an interesting stretch featuring redwoods growing in a "dog hair" cluster. This is when many small, straight trees (like conifers) grow close together. This is obviously a fire hazard, and probably the result of fire suppression. However, I would expect the top of a ridge to be subject to more fires due to lightning strikes than a damp canyon full of old growth.
Most of the forest is open here, however, so photography is easier. The high point of about 1,130' is reached about 1.2 miles from the trail head, but don't expect views of anything besides trees and the underlying foliage (which isn't much). However, redwood sorel, miner's lettuce and the Pacific starflower with its pretty pink and white flowers cover small patches where just enough sunlight makes its way to the forest floor.
The upper .40 mile stretch is on an old logging road that is closed to vehicles and bicycles, and the Hope Creek Trail branches off to the right to complete the final 2+ miles. Hope Creek Trail heads briskly downhill before mellowing out into a mild up-and-down journey through a forest of ever-larger trees. This is a good place to see northern red-legged frogs. Their red and green coloration makes them hard to see on the forest floor, but they're common throughout the redwood parks.
Hope Creek hits its lower junction with Ten Taypo, and you continue the short distance back to Drury Parkway under some of the largest trees on earth.
Check out the Official Route and Triplog.