By Mathew Brock

Pilot Sports Writer

Weaving up and down the hillside through towering trees, running streams and dense vegetation, the Redwood Nature Trail showcases one of the more challenging and well-maintained day hiking trails in the Brookings area.

The 1.2 mile Redwood Nature Trail allows visitors to tour the northmost grove of redwood trees in the U.S. and serves as both and challenging and rewarding day hike location.

Many of the redwoods on the path are estimated to be around 250 feet tall and 10 feet in diameter. The colossal trees may be as old as 800 years and several have scorch marks and damage from past wildfires, but are otherwise healthy. The many streams along the trail flow down various rock formations, creating small waterfalls and pools near the trail.

Wildlife is sparse, though visitors may see the occasional squirrel. Wildflowers and clover also bloom along the path. The path has been cut through many large, fallen trees and some have small spots to sit and rest carved into them.

Though often not stocked on site, the message board at the base of the trail advertises a informative brochure intended to teach visitors about the trail and the local redwoods. The welcome center at Crissey Field also stocks the brochures, as well as pamphlets and information packets for trails all over the county.

The trail has many steep inclines, which will be more intense depending on which side of the trail you start on. When beginning the trail, visitors can go left to follow the numbered panels sequentially for a more moderate incline as you journey to the top of the hill. But most visitors start by taking the more natural path to the right across the bridge and go counter-clockwise through the trail, which makes for a much steeper first half though a more leisurely second.

The trail is designed and maintained solely for hiking and visitors should stay on the path at all times to avoid harming the local vegetation. Visitors should be also wary of roots and large stones sticking out of the path, as well as occasional encroaching blackberries and poison oak on the sides. Also be mindful of falling trees, branches and other debris from the dense canopy.

Certain parts of the trail also narrow and depending on the time of year, streams along or crossing the path can be treacherous. Aside from the entrance, the trail does not meet barrier-free access standards.

To get to the trail, follow the road north from Azalea Park 9 miles along the Chetco River You’ll find the Alfred A. Loeb State Park campground. If you continue up the road you’ll find the entrance to the Redwood Nature Trail with a small parking area, restroom and picnic table. Alternatively, you can follow the Riverside Trail from the campground for a moderate warm up before the main trail, which lets out right at the entrance of the Redwood Nature Trail.

The site itself has no running water, but the nearby campground has both rest areas and water fountains. Be sure to pack a bottle of water while visiting to stay hydrated, but remember to keep the site clear of litter.

You can learn more about the trail and others like it at www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/rogue-siskiyou/recarea/?recid=69596.

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