The Resident Expert and I have the hiking bug pretty bad still, weeks after the Yosemite trip. We’ve taken to the trails most weekends since then, with the help of an experienced guide – the Redwood Hikes guy. He’s assembled maps and trail guides to the Coast and Sequoia Redwood groves. As luck would have it, there are several in the immediate vicinity, although these are nearly all second growth forests – not the ancient frontier groves of the north coast. Here and there a few old-growth pockets remain, and we will be seeking these out in the days to come.

Last weekend we followed the Coyote Ridge and Tarwater trails. As described by our guide, this isn’t exclusively redwoods, but does have quite a bit of variety and points of interest along the route. We saw one small group of hikers near the start, then one other guy – a trail runner – farther along. After that, nobody. This was on a beautiful Saturday, with the adjoining state park campground absolutely full of car campers. As you might as well know, I much prefer the solitude, so the lack of traffic on the trail was a welcome surprise.

On the way up the Coyote Ridge Trail (which is quite a steep ascent), we saw some Bearing Tree plates on trees. I haven’t noticed these before, but they’re apparently used to mark survey boundaries. Check out the hammered-by-hand letters on the plate. You have just one shot at getting the spelling correct on these.

Bearing Tree

The slightly off-kilter lettering has a Tim Burton quality to it. We saw a few wildflowers along the trail – here’s a bit of Clarkia.


Right nearby, the Resident Expert spotted this old sign in the grass. I’m still not sure what the missing word is in the “California Something Growers Assn.” name is, but it looks to me like the emblem in the center includes the face of a cow. If anyone has a guess, let’s hear it.


Now, here’s a decent sized Coast Redwood tree for you. Those trunks coming out of the main trunk would be good sized trees on their own. The other side of this tree was completely hollow at the base, and there was a redwood sapling growing in that sheltered space.

Patriarch Tree

You’ll find this along the Tarwater Trail, on your way back down from Coyote Ridge. This trail descends through second growth redwoods, and in some areas it looks like the logging was recent – within the last 50 years or so. The redwoods in our neighborhood are larger than these trees. But farther along, you get to a beautiful area with lush ferns, sorrel, and very healthy looking redwood trees.


This looks like it’s recovering very nicely, and will be a beautiful old growth forest for visitors 2000 years from now.

Just past this section you will find the Tarwater Trail Camp. I had an interest in seeing this, to evaluate it as a future weekend backpacking destination. Looks good. No one was camping here (on a beautiful summer weekend). There’s no running water, but it does have a clean, primitive comfort station. And the camp sites have fire rings, and reasonably flat areas for your tent. Here’s one of the nicer sites (T-3).


They’re all close together, but each one is screened by the surrounding plants. Most of the sites had fire rings, and a few had simple benches. This one uses a segment of a log as a good flat table next to the fire ring.

On the way back to the car, I made us take a wrong turn down the Iverson Trail to Pescadero Creek, but that detour yielded a sighting of a wild lily.

wild lily

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