Short Old Growth Redwood Hike
The South Fork Trail is one of the numerous short trails in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in far northern California. This trail is commonly part of a loop either with the Brown Creek and Rhododendron trails to the north or the Rhododendron and Foothill trails to the south. This description is for a short out-and-back excursion on only the South Fork Trail.
The trail head is along Newton B. Drury Parkway about a mile north from the visitor center on the east side of the road in a dark old growth redwood forest. These remarkable trees dominate for the 1/4 mile as the trail gently then dramatically climbs out of the Prairie Creek drainage. The redwoods are smaller the higher one hikes, and increasingly joined by Sitka spruce. The upper half of the trail also has a lot of dogwood and rhododendron to provide color.
Unfortunately there aren't any views on top of the ridge where the South Fork Trail ends in a 'T' at the Rhododendron Trail. US Hwy 101 is about a mile away up and over the ridge that South Fork climbs, but traffic isn't audible due to the dense forest. Return the way you came, and hopefully head out for another adventure in the great redwoods.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.