Established in 1923, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park boasts sandy beaches and open meadows grazed by herds of Roosevelt elk. Ferns appear to flow like a green waterfall down steep canyon walls, and majestic old-growth redwoods — the tallest living things on Earth — tower above the forest floors. The park has 75 miles of trails to explore, from easy walks to strenuous hikes.
Little Creek Trail is one of the easiest, flattest trails in this California state park.
Little Creek Trail follows the creek into a canyon and dense forest, passing many ancient fallen redwoods and numerous healthy living trees. It is 0.3 mile one way with a 100 foot elevation change. Basically, it’s flat and just over a half mile round-trip. Easy-peasy.
There are some redwoods along this trail, but this part of the forest really forest really isn’t a redwood forest — it’s full of other tree species and lots and lots of ferns.
We were a little thrown off by the small sign at the start of the trail that says it’s a 1.0 mile trail. That’s not correct. The trail is very short and ends at a memorial bench where you can sit, relax, and listen to the sounds of the forest. Maybe the trail was 1.0 mile a long time ago, but fallen trees and understory growth have since reclaimed the trail? Who knows?!
Know Before You Go
- The trailhead for the Little Creek Trail is right off Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, the main road traveling through Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.
- Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is located off Highway 101 at 127011 Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, Orick, California 95555, 50 miles north of Eureka and 25 miles south of Crescent City in Humboldt County.
- The 14,000 acre California state park protects sandy beaches, open meadows grazed by a herd of Roosevelt elk, a canyon dripping in lush ferns, 75 miles of trails, and stands of the world’s tallest living trees, the coast redwood. It was used as a filming location for Jurassic Park.
- Download the Prairie Creek State Park Map.
- There are two campgrounds at Prairie Creek Redwoods that take reservations year-round: Gold Bluffs Beach Campground and Elk Prairie Campground. The latter has accessible cabins for rent with heaters and lights but no kitchen or bathroom. Each cabin has two single over double bunk beds but you must bring your own bedding. No pets and no smoking in the cabins.
- Dogs must be on a leash no more than six feet long and must be confined to a tent or vehicle at night. Except for service animals, pets are not allowed on trails.
- Two sections of the 1,200 mile California Coastal Trail run through Prairie Creek Redwoods: a 6.0 mile section from Carruthers Cove Trailhead to Gold Bluffs Beach and an 11.0 mile section from Gold Bluffs Beach to Kuchel Visitor Center in Orick.
- Big Tree Trail, Prairie Creek Trail, Revelation Trail, and Elk Prairie Trail are the accessible trails within Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.
- Jedediah Smith Redwoods, Del Norte Coast Redwoods, and Prairie Creek Redwoods state parks joined with Redwood National Park to form Redwood National and State Parks in 1994. Today, the four parks’ combined 133,000 acres contain 45 percent of California’s old growth redwood forest. They have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and form a portion of the protected California Coast Ranges Biosphere Reserve. They are the only parks in the California State Parks system that accept the Federal Access Pass discount.