[Photo of Trillium Falls Trail]

The Redwood Parks
near Orick

by Jim Popenoe

- Orick, California is a small town situated at the south boundary of the Redwood National and State Parks. The photo at the left shows the trail to Trillium Falls, just north of town. The trail starts at the Elk Meadow Day Use Area, 1/4 mile west of Highway 101 via Davison Road.  Turn left into the parking lot after crossing the bridge over Prairie Creek. (See David Baselt's map and photos)  Continuing to the end of Davison Road takes us to the very popular Fern Canyon.

- While in Orick, another route to explore is the Bald Hills Road.  It leads up to the Ladybird Johnson Grove where the national park was dedicated.  (See David Baselt's map and photos) Continuing on past the grove, we come to a series of grasslands on ridgetops, known locally as the "Bald Hills prairies".  Blue lupines may be in bloom in spring.  In summer, the Bald Hills is where we like to go for warmth and sun, escaping the chilly fog at the coast.  We drive 17 miles from Highway 101 on the dusty Bald Hills Road to the Lyon's Ranch trailhead at Schoolhouse Pasture. The two-mile ranch road makes a gentle, meandering descent, full of closeups and wide vistas of the grasslands, oak woodlands and conifer forest, all the way down to the historic Lyon's Ranch.

- There are many other park trails to explore around Orick.  Some are short, others long.  Some are level walks; others descend or climb steeply.  Some trails take you miles deep into the forest far from roads and out of cell phone contact.  So plan ahead and be prepared.  I recommend David Baselt's Redwood National Park Maps (two maps).  The maps are accurate and water-resistant, and I always take one with me for safety and peace of mind on long hikes into the park. The maps are for sale in all of the Redwood National Park Visitor Centers.  Be sure to ask staff in the park Visitor Centers about the sights, trails and what to bring with you.

- The Orick Chamber of Commerce has information about lodging, dining, local arts and activities in the Orick area.