Armed with brochures and maps and information gathered at our quick visit to the Smith River National Recreation Area Gasquet Ranger Station, we set out for Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, a California state park that is also part of Redwood National Park. I wanted to get at least one hike through a stunning redwood grove in before heading to Crescent City for the night!
Brian checked out the park map and when we read that Stout Grove is one of the best places to see a coast redwood forest in Northern California, and the most photogenic area in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, we decided walk that trail first!
Stout Memorial Grove is named for lumberman Frank D. Stout, founder of Knapp, Stout & Company — one of the largest lumber companies in the world during the 1870s and 1880s. Clara Stout donated the 44 acre grove to the Save The Redwoods League in 1929 to save it from logging.
The Stout Grove Loop Trail
The Stout Grove Loop Trail is an easy, flat 0.5 mile loop trail with only 75 feet of elevation change. We did have to walk the 0.5 mile River Trail, which parallels the Smith River, to reach the start of the loop trail though, making the total walk/hike 1.5 miles.
The trail loops Stout Memorial Grove, a densely-packed, old growth coast redwood grove in the heart of Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. As we walked the loop, century old redwoods towered 300 feet above us, while a thick, lush blanket of sword ferns and redwood sorrel covered the ancient forest floor. The filtered sunlight shining through the redwoods made it a beautiful, shady walk.
Floodwaters of the Smith River, which borders the north side of the Stout Grove Loop Trail, have kept other trees from growing here. So unlike redwood groves in other places, all of the trees in this grove are coastal redwoods.
The Stout Tree
The largest redwood on the trail and one of the most massive coastal redwood trees is the Stout Tree that measures 16 feet in diameter at its base and 340 feet tall. A viewing platform protects the tree from damage by park visitors.
Alternate Stout Grove Access
If you want less driving, or you want to skip the River Trail, you can begin your hike in the Jedediah Smith Campground. When the seasonal bridge crossing the Smith River is in place, you can walk/hike from the campground, across the river, to walk the Hiouchi Trail and Mill Creek Trail, which connect to the Stout Grove Loop Trail.
During the summer, the beach along the Smith River is often crowded with people picnicking, swimming, and playing. Many kayaking tours down the Smith River also run through this area, passing under the seasonal bridge!
Know Before You Go
- The year-round trailhead access for Stout Memorial Grove is located off Howland Hill Road on Douglas Park Drive in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Crescent City, California 95531, just 2.5 miles south of Crescent City and 18 miles north of Klamath. The mostly dirt roads are narrow, winding, and not suitable for large vehicles. There is no fee to enter this area of the park.
- In the summer, parking at the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park Campground Day Use Area is $8.00. From the campground a trail leads to the Smith River, follows the river upstream, then crosses the river on the seasonal, summer hikers’ bridge to access Stout Memorial Grove.
- 10,000 acre Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park and campground are open year-round. Day use areas are open from sunrise to sunset.
- Download the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park Brochure.
- Jedediah Smith Redwoods Campground has 87 family campsites, with some able to accommodate trailers or motor homes up to 36 feet. It also four ADA accessible cabins for rent. The cabins have electricity, heaters, an outdoor barbecue, and two twin over double bunk beds. There is no kitchen, bathroom, mattresses, or bedding.
- Summer temperatures are 45-85 degrees and winter temperatures range from 30-60 degrees. From November through May, rainfall can reach up to 100 inches.
- 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.
- There are lots of mosquitoes in the summer! Bring bug spray!
- 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.
- Del Norte Coast Redwoods, Jedediah-Smith Redwoods, and Prairie Creek Redwoods are the only parks in the California State Parks system that accept the Federal Access Pass discount.