Redwood National Parks Spotlight: Stout Grove Trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is the starting line for Northern California’s stretch of the Redwoods National Parks. These sprawling 10,000 acres offer much to be explored. Raft, float, swim and fish in the wild and scenic emerald waters of Smith River. Camp underneath ancient redwood trees. Hike, bike or take a drive through lush green forests with fern-covered understory.
There are more than 15 hiking trails around Jed Smith, from short creekside strolls to multi-day backcountry adventures through thick old-growth redwood groves. One such grove is Stout Grove.
Stout Grove was where it all began for Jedediah Smith State Park. Donated by Clara Stout in 1929 to honor her late husband Frank D. Stout, it became the first official redwood grove of the park. You’ll wander under a cathedral-like canopy of towering trees. Though your eye is drawn up, be sure to look below at the hardy ferns that blanket the ground.
Look for the gnarled black bark of the Stout Tree, the giant of the grove. A viewing platform has been built for the trail’s primary celebrity redwood tree, ensuring visitors remain on the trail to protect the megastar’s roots.
Why We Love this Hike:
Stout Grove trail is short and sweet but doesn’t skimp on the views. In addition to towering trees, there is the added wonder of Smith River’s crystal waters. Enjoy a summertime picnic on the pebbly beach of the rushing Smith River and Mill Creek confluence. If you have a sunny day, plan for a late afternoon as the sun casts amber beams through the thick canopy. Bring your floaties or a paddle board for a tranquil float on the emerald-blue river.
The hazy glow of the grove inspires an appetite for something smoky. Make a stop at Arts BBQ in Crescent City for delicious, wood-smoked brisket, ribs or chicken. Try the garlic white sauce for something different!
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