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Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
IUCN Category II (National Park)

A small waterfall on the side of Rhododendron Trail
Location California, USA
Nearest city Arcata
Coordinates 41°24′14″N 124°02′18″W / 41.40383°N 124.03844°W / 41.40383; -124.03844Coordinates: 41°24′14″N 124°02′18″W / 41.40383°N 124.03844°W / 41.40383; -124.03844
Area 14,000 acres
Established 1925
Governing body California Department of Parks and Recreation (cooperatively managed within Redwood National and State Parks)
An Oregon Arborist in Prairie Creek Redwood State Park's 'Atlas grove', next to a coast redwood called Iluvatar, during Spring of 2008. This is the largest tree in the park, and the third largest redwood in the world.

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is a state park, located in Humboldt County, California, near the town of Orick and 50 miles (80 km) north of Eureka. The 14,000-acre (57 km²) park is a coastal sanctuary for old-growth Coast Redwood trees.

The park is jointly managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation and the National Park Service as a part of the Redwood National and State Parks. These parks (which includes Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, and Redwood National Park) have been collectively designated as a World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve.

The meadow along the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, with Roosevelt elk, is considered a centerpiece of the park, located near the information center and campground. Other popular sites in the park are Fern Canyon and Gold Bluffs Beach. The park is also home to the tailed frog and several species of salmon.

A visitor center is provided with displays, wall maps and bookstore. It is along the same driveway as the campground and some day use parking. There is also parking along part of the parkway where elk may be seen; no day use fee is required to park and leave vehicles in that area during daylight hours.

Restrooms are located near the visitor center and also nearby at the Big Tree parking lot.



Some of the first Euro-Americans to the area arrived in 1851 with the discovery of gold in the area that would become known as Gold Bluffs. Gold Bluffs had at one-time been a substantial mining camp although little remains today.

With the end of the Civil War and a fall in the price of gold, operations at the Gold Bluffs were shut down. In 1872 Captain Taylor of New York visited the Gold Bluffs to obtain the mine and exploit the rich sands supposedly deposited offshore. In the spring of 1873, over 100 tons of sand were raised from an area from one-half mile to within 40 feet of the bluffs, and in depths of from eight to four fathoms of water. However, by the 1880s activities at the Gold Bluffs again began to slump.

But perhaps the most interesting story of the region comes from the area of Gold Bluffs. In a newspaper article from 1984, Thelma Hufford recorded this fascinating tale:

At Upper Bluffs, imported miners from Cornwall, who were expert tunnel builders and who know how to set-up timbers in a tunnel (were employed)...Arthur Davison said it was opened in 1898. The tunnel was through to the coast. It was 600 feet long and six feet square. The tunnel was built to bring water from Prairie Creek to the headwaters of Butler Creek. A reservoir was built on the west-side of the creek. It was used for five years...The opening, Fay Aldrich said, was on the Prairie Creek side of Joe Stockel's place near the apple tree on Highway 101.

By 1920 mining operations at the Gold Bluffs had been closed down.

The park was created in the early 1920s by the forethought of the people of California and the generosity of the Save-the-Redwoods League as is a sanctuary of old growth coast redwood.


Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is home to Atlas Grove, researched by Stephen C. Sillett. Atlas Grove (location undisclosed) includes Iluvatar, the 3rd largest Coast Redwood.[1] The location of Atlas Grove's Iluvatar is undisclosed to protect its sensitive ecosystem. Other notable trees in disclosed to visitors are Big Tree, Corkscrew Redwood and the Cathedral Trees. Besides Coast Redwood, other tall coniferous tree species in the park's forests include Coast Douglas-fir, Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock.

Plenty of redwoods in this park have reached 300 feet tall. Some like Godwood Creek Giant and Gemini, are over 340 feet high.


Trails in the park include:

  • Miners Ridge and James Irvine - 11.6 miles
  • Brown Creek Loop - 3.5 miles
  • Big Tree Loop - 3.2 miles
  • Ten Taypo Trail - 3.5 miles
  • Rhododendron and Cal Barrel - 5.1 miles
  • West Ridge and Prairie Creek South - 5.8 miles
  • West Ridge and Rhododendron North - 7.7 miles
  • The Friendship Ridge Trail - 8.0 miles
  • The Ah Pah Trail - 0.6 mile
  • The Nature Trail - 1.0 mile

External links


  1. ^ Preston, Richard (2007). The Wild Trees: A Story Of Passion And Daring. Allen Lane Publishers.


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