Exploring the Eel River Valley

The Redwood Forest

The Headwaters Forest Reserve

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Giant Redwood Trees of Northern California.

Inside a Grove of Giant Redwood Trees in the Headwaters Forest Reserve.

One of the most famous redwood groves is a 7,400 acre (3,000 hectare) undeveloped area called Headwaters Forest Reserve. This untouched redwood grove near Fortuna contains the world's most spectacular ancient trees. Some are 300 feet high and 2,200 years old. This grove is also the home of several hundred species of companion plants.

Outdoor enthusiasts who want to learn more about the natural history of the Headwaters Forest Reserve can participate in free, guided hikes offered by the U. S. Bureau of Land Management.

Beginning around the end of May, hikes into the southern area of the reserve will be offered on Saturdays and Sundays, weather permitting. Hikes generally continue through mid-November. Reservations are required for all hikes, and can be made by calling the Bureau of Land Management Arcata Field Office at 707-825-2300. Hikers can reserve dates for the current and following month. Each trip is limited to 20 hikers and 10 cars (the capacity of the parking area).

The two-mile hike takes three hours. It is moderately strenuous and has some steep uphill sections. Participants should bring water and wear hiking boots.

Although the trail does not enter the old-growth redwoods at the heart of the reserve, it does take hikers to an overlook of the 1,500-year-old trees. The route follows an old logging road along Salmon Creek, where hikers can see ongoing restoration projects.

Tour leaders will discuss the natural resources and history of the reserve, and explain the restoration projects. Participants meet at 10 a.m. at Newburg Park in Fortuna, and in their own vehicles follow tour guides to the parking area at Salmon Pass. The three-and-a-half-mile route on Felt Springs Road (see "Related Items" on right) is narrow, steep and winding, and not passable for trailers, motor homes or fifth-wheel trailers. Hikers return to Newburg Park by 1 p.m.

The Bureau of Land Management provides these hikes as part of a long-term management plan completed in June 2004 for the Headwaters Forest Reserve. The plan provides for public recreational access into the area, while protecting natural resources of the Reserve.     Continued.

NEXT: Redwood Facts, or How do they Grow?


The Redwoods


Related Items

Theodore Dwight Felt, physician and surgeon from Massachusetts, came to California during the gold rush to seek his fortune, but like many others, he soon realized there was little possibility of a real bonanza. News of Humboldt County brought him to the rolling hills bordering the redwood forest at a place called Goose Lake Prairie [Hydesville]. Here he took a claim, built a residence, and about 1851 established Felt's Springs (located in the Headwaters Forest Reserve), a sanatorium for the weak and infirm. As the only practicing physician in the county outside Eureka, his services were much in demand, but unlike the fly-by-night "doctors" who often followed the frontier, Dr. Felt was an able physician. In the spring of 1866, the Eel River Jockey Club, under the enthusiastic leadership of Dr. Felt and other ardent horsemen, bought a piece of land from B. F. Jameson and laid out a mile-long race track. Located along the north side of A. P. Campton's Lane [Kenmar Road] and just west of the main county road through Rohnerville, this track became the meeting place of some of California's finest horses. Rohnerville Road was also called the Eureka to Hydesville Highway.