With the high country in the Sierra Nevada, Cascades and Klamaths still covered in snow, May was the month to pick off some scattered low elevation trails around the state. At the beginning of the month I was able to pop over to the Redwood Coast and claim two spectacular trails in the Redwoods. Following that, day trips accounted for a trail in the Klamath Basin and one on the edge of California’s great Central Valley. Lastly, a family wedding down in Exeter (near Visalia) gave me the opportunity to finish a trail in the Sierra Nevada’s southern foothills. I was really glad to get this one done before the wildflowers went away and the summer heat moved in. Even though I caught this one in mid-May, it stilled turned into something of a personal saga (fortunately, all ended well). Now the preparation begins for the real summer work. Next month I will be heading off to Sequoia and Kings Canyon, as well as some other scattered spots around the southern Sierra. It should be a great start to the summer!
The James Irvine Trail in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is one of the finest redwood hikes around. If it is not done as a shuttle hike, it can be pretty long, but the hike includes incredible old growth trees in a wild setting and the turn-around point is at awesome Fern Canyon and Gold Bluffs Beach. For a complete redwood experience, this hike is tough to beat.
The second hike I picked for the Redwood Coast is the Boy Scout Tree Trail. In Del Norte County’s Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, this is another incredible redwood hike that feature exceptional old growth trees, including the mighty Boy Scout Tree, one of the most immense redwoods in the region. The trail ends at lovely Fern Falls.
I can’t leave out the Lava Beds. While this is not exactly a hiker’s park, there are some really nice trails with high desert scenery and great views of Mount Shasta, vast lava flows and many landmarks in southern Oregon.
The trail to the Sacramento River and Iron Canyon is not too well known but it is a pretty hike with some excellent views of the mountains ringing the north end of the Central Valley. The dramatic vista of the river’s passage through the canyon highlights its transition from a mountain river to the lazy, winding giant that flows south through the valley to the Delta.
The San Joaquin is California’s other great river that composes the network of waterways that feed the Delta and San Francisco Bay. Along the way, it collects the waters of the Merced, Tuolumne, Stanislaus, Mokelumne and Cosumnes Rivers. During years of heavy precipitation, the mighty Kings River even joins the San Joaquin. The hike down to the San Joaquin River Gorge passes through awesome wildflowers en route to a bridge that crosses the rugged granite gorge. From there the trail makes a loop to the top of a high ridge with fantastic views of the surrounding area.
The next post will finally see some classic Sierra Nevada scenery!