Boy Scout Tree Trail: Jedediah Smith State Park

Sunrise along the Boy Scout Trail Jedediah Smith State Park
There is something so remarkable about an old-growth Coast Redwood forest that saving the redwoods was an early cause for conservationists. Sadly the majority of it's native range was privately owned thus has been clear-cut many times and replaced with Douglas-fir plantations in some areas. Thankfully some incredible, though fragmented patches of native forest were placed under the control of the state of California or the federal government. Jedediah Smith State Park is the farthest north of the jointly managed Redwoods National and State Parks system, it's also home to the largest Coast Redwood. There is appoximately 18 miles of hiking trails within Jedediah Smith State Park; the Boy Scout Tree trail is one of the most impressive.

Tralhead for the Boy Scout Tree trail just off Howland Hill Road
Boy Scout trail as it passes near massive Coast Redwoods
The Boy Scout Tree trail is one of my favorites in the redwoods because of the lack of road noise and that it's lined by old-growth Coast Redwoods the majority of the hike. Most trails within the redwoods pass through different types of forest or pass through second growth forest. Because of the high levels of rain the trail will often be muddy, try to avoid widening it. There are also a few small streams that are easily crossed.
Small stream along the Boy Scout Trail

Massive Coast Redwood along the Boy Scout Tree Trail
All too quickly the trail passes by a side trail to the Boy Scout tree and then shortly down trail is the beautiful Fern Falls. After a heavy rain would be the best time to see Fern Falls, I'm sure by mid-summer it's little more than a trickle.

Fern Falls at the end of the Boy Scout Tree Trail
Fern Falls and surrounding forest at the end of the Boy Scout Tree Trail
Easy access and an easy hike make this a very popular trail on warm weekends, especially summer. I would recommend starting the trail a few minutes before sunrise. There is just something incredible about this trail as the sun is rising. It definitely feels like you're on another planet.

The Boy Scout Tree
Enjoying the morning sun among giants on the Boy Scout Tree Trail
Directions from Crescent City: From 101 turn onto Elk Valley Road, follow for 1.1 miles, turn right onto Howland Hill Road, follow for 3.6 miles to the trailhead on the left.

Trailhead Elevation:
Approximately 300 feet

Hike Distance: 5.9 miles according to Garmin Oregon 550

Hike Type: Out and Back 

Elevation Gain: Less than 400 feet

Light in winter, heavy in summer 

Difficulty: 1 out of 5

Fees: None


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