A quick look at William Sullivan's Oregon Coast Hikes book (which includes Crescent City, CA and the redwoods), and I'd found a perfect trail. The Hiouchi Trail leaves from the Highway 199 bridge over the Smith River and follows the river for about 2 miles, then crosses Mill Creek before reaching the Stout Grove. Later in the year I believe there is a footbridge over the creek, as there is over the river at the same place, but today I had to ford the stream on foot. Thanks to Sullivan's book I had been fore-warned and wore my river sandals. The creek was only about 10 feet across and no more than mid-calf at it's deepest. The cool water felt great on my feet. The round trip took me about 3 hours, with lots of dawdling along the way. Beautiful!
Not far from the highway the trail passes through this old redwood stump, which was really cool. Kind of like a hobbit hole -- I found lots of those today.
Much of this trail travels through a mixed forest and it's very beautiful -- and beautifully maintained with lots of stair-work such as this, many of them much steeper!
Another hobbit hole - but I loved this knarly old stump for much more than that. It called to me for some reason.
Lots of wildflowers along the trail, including these tiny roses with a great big scent. Only a few were blooming, but the air was filled with their aroma.
Wild honeysuckle just about to open -- and right next to the roses. I can only imagine how wonderful this spot would smell when both are in full bloom.
And what would a hike in this are be without wild Rhododendron? Quite a few still blooming, although I think it's fairly late in their season.The wild and wonderful Smith River is visible through the trees for most of the trail, but now and then a wide vista like this opens up. It's a lot tamer looking than when I was here a few months back, in the rainy season, but it's still impossibly green and clear and utterly beautiful. Look at all those tall trees!
I think this is the Stout Grove, but I wouldn't swear to it. One big bunch of redwoods looks very much like another, and it's very difficult to capture the scope of these forests, so I tend to focus more on scenes that catch my eye for one reason or another.
Again, not sure where these are -- but does it really matter? What matters is that there are 10,000 acres of first-growth redwoods in this park that have been saved forever. It matters a lot.