Hike the Emerald Ridge - Redwood Creek Loop

Humboldt County, California



6 miles

Elevation Gain

900 ft

Route Type



Added by John Maurizi

A great loop hike through beautiful scenery along the Redwood Creek. Several river crossings, so best to go in warm weather.

This loop begins at the Tall Trees Trailhead.  To access this parking area, you must have a permit that you can obtain from the Kuchel ranger station.  The gate is locked.  When you get the permit, the ranger will also give you the combination to the gate.  Once you drive through, close the gate and lock again.

The Emerald Ridge Trail begins just from the parking lot and off the Tall Tree Trail.  Turn left and hike down Emerald Ridge.  After about 1.5 miles, you will reach Redwood Creek.

The Redwood Creek is a beautiful, shallow river. It is rocky and popular with local fishermen. Technically it is not a trail however the park service has put signage on the Emerald Ridge Trail and they also tell you this at the visitor center, that this loop exists. The park service map even shows an un-maintained trail along the river bank. This is misleading because the to complete the loop, you must cross Redwood Creek more than I few times. I did this in mid June and I had to cross the river 6 times. So, plan on getting wet.  The water wasn't any higher than my knee and most crossings it was only ankle deep. Keep this in mind because your hiking boots will need several days to dry out completely. There are too many crossings to waste time taking off and putting on the your boots.

When you enter the river bed, you walk along the river on dry portions of the gravel river bank. Eventually you run out of real estate and have to cross the river to get to the next dry gravel bench. Keep this in mind because your hiking boots will need several days to dry out. There are too many crossings to waste time taking off and putting on the your boots. This hike should only be done in late spring and summer. I also recommend hiking the loop in a clockwise direction, entering from Emerald Ridge Trail. Once on the river, you will travel down stream (turn right) and hike for 1.7 miles. Here is the difficult part. Where to exit the river? This was hard to determine. A map is essentials! There is a small stream entering the river from

the left called Tom McDonald Creek. Just after this stream there is a large gravel shore area. Walk toward the tree line and look for some small orange ribbons tied to tree branches. These were faded when I was here and it took about 10 minutes to find the right place. This exits you onto the Tall Trees Loop Trail, which is a good reason for hiking in a clockwise direction.  You may be able to hear people hiking on the Tall Trees Loop.  Complete the loop by hiking up the Tall Trees Trail back to your car.

This was one of the best trails I did this trip. I was wet and uncomfortable but the scenery was amazing and I loved every minute of it!

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