14 February 2017

Trillium Falls

Redwood National Park



There was just enough time for a quick trip around the loop to see Trillium Falls and the old growth before sunset as I passed, so I stopped. I had a plan to include climbing the Berry Glen Trail to the Lady Bird Johnson Grove with this for a longer day of trees but suspect I will not actually get to it. And when I finish, it should be prime time for spotting elk in the nearby meadow, which is even an official viewing spot for such wildlife. For now, I head down the paved path.

start of the trail
Picnic area at the start of the trail.

The parking and picnic area and meadow were once the location of a mill and mill yard harvesting the trees. It was restored to something like its natural state before the trail was opened. The nearby old growth appears to have been left as a show piece.

creek within alders
A once buried creek gurgles down between young trees.

A dirt trail soon splits off the side of the paved path next to a sign with a detailed map of the trail. The sign shows the waterfall is very early in the 2.2 mile loop. The trail climbs easily upward into the tall trees.

view through trees
A bit of the meadow through past the edge of the trees.


tall trees
Among tall trees.

nursery log
As with the other trail, there is a nursery log directly overhead along the way.

There are little bridges for the little creeks and a larger one for the bigger creek with the waterfall. Had I not known to expect it early in the hike, I might have missed it. Trillium Falls is really a steep cascade.

water cascading
Just a little waterfall, but Trillium Falls does cascade in a lovely way.

After the waterfall, the rest of the hike is winding around trees. Surprisingly, this forest is not quite the monoculture I have been seeing. Some of the very large trees are not redwoods. One ponderosa in particular catches my eye.

huge ponderosa
This one is bulky and tall, but it is not a redwood. The hints point to ponderosa.

bright yellow mushroom
Of course, the trees have their symbiotes.

The recent storms have been harsh and I have to climb over a tree as I go. It is not one of the particularly big ones, so not too much effort. It is particularly recent and I suspect this trail will be cleaned up quickly. As I go, I see the scars from older disasters within the forest. Char marks from fire stretch upward on the trunks of all sizes and a few lost pieces to the flames.

fire injured trunk
One trunk displaying injury from fire.

roots around the side of a fallen trunk
There are also some interesting growth patterns like this tree gripping the side of a fallen trunk.

small bit of char on a trunk
A little bit of char on the larger trunk in a small grouping.

dark black lines upward
Distinct char beside burned remains of another tree show details of the bark texture.

Frequent signs call out sponsored groves along the way. I wonder what exactly demarcates a grove from the rest of the growth. Sometimes benches are tossed in, each with an inscription and name. I just continue to admire the trees as the trail winds up and down the hill. It is getting a bit difficult because it seems to be getting dark a half hour before sunset instead of the usual time a half hour after.

moss and char on a trunk
A little bit of moss really helps set off the char on one trunk.

pieces of burned trunk still standing
Broken and burned trunks from long ago.

The trail comes to a gravel road and crosses it before winding down further. I can hear a larger creek flowing below and the trail slowly drops down to it. It meets the road I was walking in on when the dirt path broke off by a bridge. It is not paved here. It is not so dark once out of the forest, but it is getting late and will be dark soon enough. I turn back to the car.

bridge crossing the wide creek by the meadow
Out of the forest and back to the main trail system that runs through the park. Here it crosses a wide creek beside the meadow.

skunk cabbage with big yellow flowers
They seem a little knocked down by the recent rains, but the skunk cabbage here is already blooming.

The paving starts shortly before I get back to the break off point for the loop. As I walk back, I look for elk in the meadow. There does not seem to be any, just signs warning not to approach them if there are.




©2017 Valerie Norton
Posted 26 February 2017

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