Best Hiking in Humboldt Redwoods State Park: Homestead + Big Tree Loop

2 hikers in orange and red jackets gazing up at tall redwoods and open sky above canopyThe Homestead and Big Tree Loop is judged to be one of the best hiking trails in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve. You will find this top redwoods hiking trail less than 30 miles from The Redwood Riverwalk Hotel in Fortuna. 

The description of the hike on states:
“For the sheer scale of the forest — the size of the redwoods and well as the overall expansiveness of the grove — this is one of the most impressive redwood walks anywhere.”

According to
“The best hikes are along Mattole Road, close to Bull Creek, since the trees are large, the traffic generally light, and the forest very atmospheric, and perhaps the top route is the 2.4 mile loop along the Homestead Trail and part of the Big Tree Trail.

The fall is a great time to take this easy 2.4 mile lowland hike around Bull Creek Flats. In autumn, the leaves of the Park’s big leaf maples, Oregon ash, black oaks, alder, cottonwood and dogwood transform from greens to a kaleidoscope of golds and yellow, red, and purple. The relatively flat hiking trail (change in elevation is just 110 feet) stays close to Bull Creek in a relatively quiet area of the Park away from the heavily trafficked Avenue of the Giants and Highway 101.

Homestead Trail

From the Big Tree Area Parking Lot (about a 35 minute drive from The Redwood Riverwalk Hotel in Fortuna), the loop trail begins nearby at the “Addie Johnson Trail” trailhead across Mattole Road. A short distance into the redwoods, you will find a “T” where the Homestead Trail branches to the left. This trail (shared with equestrians) leads over small rises along the alluvial flat. Sunlight penetrates the forest floor through small gaps in the tree canopy, enabling a variety of vegetation to grow there. The old growth forest ends as the trail nears the Albee Creek Campground.

Big Tree Trail

Across Mattole Road, your hiking loop continues on the Big Tree Trail, where you will see much bigger trees. The first part of the Trail passes through along Bull Creek lined with relatively smaller redwoods and an understory of huckleberry. When you reach the grove of huge old-growth redwoods, the sparse understory and relatively open canopy allow you to see to the tops of trees. Farther along the Trail, you can make a short detour to visit the Tall Tree before you reach the end of the trail at the Big Tree Area Parking Lot.

Addie Johnson Trail

At the junction of the Homestead Trail with the Addie Johnson Trail, if you choose the alternative of hiking on the Addie Johnson Trail (2.2 miles in-and-out), you will pass through the redwoods, climbing about 600 feet to the Johnson Prairie, an open area with views of the Grasshopper Peak as well as the redwoods.

Fall colors will be appearing soon along the Redwood Coast

Autumn is the perfect time to come and stay with us at The Redwood while you enjoy hiking in the redwoods and other outdoor activities from biking to horseback riding. The Redwood’s sense of place, central location, Lumberjack Breakfasts, indoor pool, launderette, books, games, “boutique hotel” service and exceptional hospitality make it the ideal base camp for hiking in the many California state parks nearby as well as enjoying other outdoor activities in Humboldt County.

Dogs love trees too. If you want to hike with your canine companion, The Redwood is dog friendly, always. While dogs are not permitted on trails in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, there are many dog-friendly hikes in the redwoods and along the beaches near Fortuna.

Images courtesy of Humboldt Lodging Alliance

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