Redwoods Hiking Fall 2016 and a Little Bit More

Redwoods Hiking Fall 2016 and a Little Bit More

1      Klamath Redwoods

The remnant forest on Flint Ridge above the mouth of the Klamath River is quite spectacular.  The trail starts out near an old logging pond.  There is an interesting hike around the pond, some of it on an old narrow gauge railroad bed.  Remnant bumper piers built to control the log runs are visible.  There are colorful wood ducks paddling on the water.

The climb up the east slope of Flint Ridge is nice, the switchbacks are well designed and maintained and the trail bridges are in good shape.  The old growth redwoods start on the switchbacks not too far above the pond, with a number of redwoods in the 16 foot diameter / 325 feet height class.  The appearance of the old growth is very sudden and scenic.  That’s Mario and Ed, who joined me on this hike, in the pic.   Mario has a much, much better picture of the three of us at this location on his web site.

Flint Ridge at start of old growth
Flint Ridge at start of old growth

The good size redwoods run from this point all the way up the ridge.

Scenic old growth about half way up Fint Ridge
Scenic old growth about half way up Flint Ridge

 

On the upper half of the ridge Douglas fir are mixed in with the redwoods.  These fir trees are very tall, there is one right by a bridge on the trail that is about 300 feet in height.

Flint Ridge very tall Douglas fir
Flint Ridge very tall Douglas fir

Near the top of the ridge the nearby ocean starts to have an influence.   A few Sitka spruce start to appear.  There is a very interesting distinctive red cedar right by the trail.

Red cedar high on Flint Ridge
Red cedar high on Flint Ridge

This trail reminds me of the new James Irvine trail in Prairie Creek Redwoods, but Flint Ridge is less crowded and has more interesting and large trees right by the trail.

 

2      Prairie Creek Redwoods

 

Prairie Creek Redwoods provides a high level of easy access to large redwoods.  Drury Parkway and Cal Barrel Road (open in summer) have giant redwoods right by the road, then there is a web of trails that wind through many of the groves with the biggest redwood trees. It is a busy park (even on a late October weekend) and you will meet people from all over the United States and the world on the trails.

I did some hiking on both the old and new James Irvine trails.  It was interesting to see some of the big trees in the valley (old trail, no longer maintained) and then see the crowns of the same trees from the hillside (new trail).

James Irvine Giant redwood
James Irvine Giant redwood

 

I also spent some time on the trails near and along Prairie Creek.  There are many notable redwoods that grow along Prairie Creek.  Some of the big ones right by the road have a lot of wear and tear from foot traffic.  However some trees are protected by their location, being neither adjacent to a road or a trail.

Distant view of Adventure Redwood crown
Distant view of Adventure Redwood crown

 

3      Humboldt Redwoods

 

Later on the weekend I drove down to Humboldt Redwoods to do some exploration and hiking.  I was very keen to pick out the Millennium Redwood, which is a 370 foot redwood located in a small but beautiful grove in Humboldt Redwoods.  I had found the grove last summer, then received an obscure clue to help me locate the specific redwood.   As it turns out I had been to the very tree in June.

Millenium Grove crowns
Millennium Grove crowns

 

I also spent some time in the Harper Flat area.  Harper Flat is an even aged forest on the south side of Bull Creek a little east of the Giant Tree area.  There are many very tall redwoods, with more than a few of them having fused trunks or immediately adjacent trees.  Maybe abound 1,300 years ago this area was leveled by a flood or Cascadia earthquake and clonal sprouts from common stumps grew and fused over time.

The forest in Harper Flat is very dense, if you use GPS it will have problems in there.  However nearby Bull Creek with distinctive logs in the creek is always available as a reference.

Randy Stoltmann redwood
Randy Stoltmann redwood

 

It appears one very tall redwood in Harper Flat has fallen.  It was the north side of this pair, note the root ball.

Harper Flat tall tree down
Harper Flat tall tree down

 

Now for a little bit more ….

 

4      Tallest tree Lists

 

The tallest tree lists have not been updated for a while with any new measurement results kept private. So what is the current top twenty is anybody’s guess.  Many redwoods, including Hyperion, have apparently increased their growth rates in the last ten years.  This could be due to an increase in annual sunlight coupled with a higher level of atmospheric carbon.  More sunlight and more carbon in the atmosphere provide more energy for photosynthesis.  Then also the state wide drought has been less severe in northern California, so there has been sufficient seasonal rainfall on top of the frequent fog drip.

For Hyperion, I am pretty sure it is still the tallest tree.  There was a recent Facebook Live ranger talk where it was mentioned the tallest tree in Redwood National Park was 380 feet four inches tall (115.92 meters).  That has to be Hyperion, it was confirmed at 380.12 or so a couple years ago and was noted as growing.  Helios is about three feet behind based on published heights a couple years ago and still has a lot of catching up to do.

Based on growth rates and a few scraps of information, this would be my guess at a current top fifteen list:

Name Park 2016 Height Estimate (Feet)
Hyperion RNP 380.3
Helios RNP 377.2
Stratosphere Giant HRSP 373.9
Lauralyn HRSP 372.4
Nugget RNP 372.0
Paradox HRSP 371.4
Orion RNP 371.2
Icarus RNP 371.2
Millennium HRSP 370.7
Paul Zinke HRSP 370.1
Mother & Daughter HRSP 369.8
Mendocino MWR 368.4
Minaret HRSP 368.4
Pipe Dream HRSP 367.9

 

And more of a little bit more …..

 

5      The Big Reveal Website

 

The big reveal web site has been populated with GPS and hiking directions to some of the tallest and largest redwoods for about 18 months now.  For trees right by roads such as Drury Tree or Howland Hills Giant this site has not had much impact, as there was already a huge amount of wear around the trees.

Although my visits to redwoods are infrequent, I have noted newly created human foot traffic trails around both the Mendocino redwood and unfortunately coming out of the creek up to Hyperion.  Wear and tear will happen even if people take care.  It just has to happen when say over a few months a couple hundred people make their way through the ferns up to Hyperion.  This is the down side to the big reveal web site.  If people were searching for Hyperion here and there, then any effect of off trail hiking was spread out.  Now it is concentrated to the routes leading up to and around these trees.

Now the up side is that site has helped a number of people, including me, find some notable and amazing redwoods.  Not that futile searches are bad, any old growth redwood grove is magnificent. Then also for casual tourists there is lots of information on drive thru trees as well as notable redwoods adjacent to trails.

It would be very good if the big reveal web site could refrain from publishing details for locations and hiking routes to Helios and Grogan’s Fault.  You have already proved you are good at uncovering and using clues and also can do some tough hiking.  Your immersive photography is also very nice.  How about leaving a little mystery to the tree search for those who like to intuitively search for trees versus following GPS, and at the same time keeping the approach and area around a couple exemplary redwoods pristine.  If you locate either Helios or Grogan’s Fault put up your immersive photography, with some care to not show too much, and refrain from location description, hiking directions, or GPS.  Just an idea for you.  I don’t know you but I think you could be receptive to this suggestion.

Thanks for reading.

27 thoughts on “Redwoods Hiking Fall 2016 and a Little Bit More”

  1. Lovely photos and interesting, detailed commentary. It’s clear that you respect these giants… and hope others do too.

  2. Very nice photos and commentary. It is nice of you and others to share the photos, so that others can enjoy a view of these trees from the comfort of their computers!

    1. Some of the heights in that top 15 list are actual, including Hyperion.
      Then some of the others are from the 2012 and 2015 lists you may have seen, where I have extrapolated the growth rates to 2016.
      There is little doubt the current three tallest known redwoods are Hyperion, Helios, and Stratosphere Giant, in that order.

  3. Where exactly is this big reveal website? What do you have to enter? And how do you get to Hyperion? Is it near Tom McDonald creek by any chance. There is one tree down there looking like a needle.

    1. Hello TK

      I won’t supply the url but as you probably know all you have to enter is google.com and then the appropriate search phrase. Then as you probably know it will answer some of your questions.

      That site serves its purpose. I just think it overreaches.

      Mark

      1. True. Although that site does reveal the location of the tallest tree, there is good and bad from it. The good news is that some people will have the chance to see the tallest tree on earth. The bad news is that when news breaks out the result will be a stampede to the tree. If the website famous redwoods.com, which has Hyperion’s coordinates, finds Helios and Juggernaut, these two trees will be in danger as well. Helios is already under threat, as it may be close to Hyperion.

        1. Tk – well, for Juggernaut, I can provide that location, it grows right along Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. But you probably mean the big one, Grogan’s Fault. For that one, the location remains unknown as you say.

          The big reveal web site is decently but not completely accurate. I am far from knowing all the redwood locations and stats but there are a few errors on that site. There is one error that is really trivial, so I will help out on that. Re EG – 109.42 meters is way more than 323.82 feet.

          Mark

          1. YEs , I agree, it slightly overreaches. For instance, I think that it should provide the location of the GROVE, not of the tree itself, but then photographs so you can find the tree, like with Orion. If not for that website, it would have stayed hidden. That tree is impossibly well hidden. Groan’s fault is indeed, like Helios and Icarus, well hidden, and probably will stay that way unless the location is literally given away to the wrong person, or accidentally found. I am just kind of hoping that website never finds Millennium. Helios is under danger, as it is in close proximity to Hyperion. I think I know where it is, but that would make the location completely different.

          2. TK, interesting points. Certainly Grove specificity rather than GPS specificity would disburse the footsteps in the forest over a wider area. But then it would entail more off trail hiking which is not good. Off trail hiking in the redwood parks is risky, the creeks are full of huge logs and the hillsides are steep and have false floors. Not to mention black bears and mountain lions. Sure, the risk from a black bear or mountain lion attack is way less than getting into an auto accident on Highway 101, but try telling that to people who have been attacked by mountain lions or charged by black bears. That has happened in the redwood parks, you can look it up.

            For Orion, people started finding it based on canopy photos put up on Save the Redwoods League. Then as far as I know there is nothing like that available for the remaining hidden trees.

            I think there was some public curiosity about Hyperion’s location, but then the interest in redwood locations drops off a lot after that. But it does not diminish to zero, that is for sure.

            Mark

        2. tk-1977 ~ like mark says, the reveal has a purpose including some older gimmes people knew anyway. was it surprising to learn you were already quoting one of its errors? too bad landmarktrees dot net went bye-bye because whatever it had was always reliable.

          1. Hello The420Kid

            I miss landmarktrees, it was quite a personal accomplishment by its creators. Given the difficulty of measuring and the geographic range covered, it was one of the most impressive biological species catalogs ever created. I wish it would come back.

  4. Noticed your amazing photo in the tall redwoods page. Astounding! Is that the Millennium? Or is it just a redwood in Millennium grove?

  5. Interesting form that millennium tree has. I have managed to track down a few photos of the tree, but need to know where it is.
    Have you ever found Minaret? It is located somewhere the Patriarch forest, all I know. Orion’s cover is blown, apparently

    1. Hello Gleb

      That Millennium Grove is a small grouping of tall trees in HRSP. The location hasn’t been posted as far as I can tell so I will not be the first one to do so.
      I don’t know which of those tall trees of similar diameter in the Patriarch Forest is Minaret.
      For Orion, yes saw the internet reveal, some really nice photos of that tree and grove but not a fan of giving out the GPS. There turned out to be a few good clues for Orion released over the past few years, including canopy photos and stats on redwood plots. Looks like there is a pretty nice cathedral grouping in that grove as well.

      Mark

      1. Yes, it is difficult to verify these trees. Steve Hall writes of 3 redwoods that stood out to him, the DBH of which was within the margin of error. I am sure that you have a photograph of Minaret without knowing it. So please don’t post any photographs from the Patriarch Forest. It’s actually interesting in how a tree that is more difficult to find than Helios was found first. I am trying to locate the forest, but am thwarted at every turn.Noticed your images of the Telperion redwood. I can’t imagine what that sounded like from a big distance. Must have sounded like a tsunami striking a mountain. Dyerville sounded like a train collision from a mile away. And now can you imagine what would the fall of, for example, Grogan’s Fault or Olym sound like?

        1. Hi Gleb

          That Millennium Grove is not in a surprising area. That is one tree grouping I found using a range finder to estimate tree height.
          For Minaret, yes realize I got a whiff of it.
          I’m not familiar with Olym redwood, but have reviewed some of those posted photos of Grogan’s Fault. That looks to be one heckuva redwood. A 41,000 cubic foot redwood would weigh about 2,050,000 pounds which is the equivalent of 10-12 filled rail cars. So if such a tree fell (and it will eventually) there would be a short rolling thunder for sure.
          The creeks must really be flowing this month. I saw on the California creeks web site the flow rate of Redwood Creek at Orick is about double the 65 year average for May 6.

          Mark

          1. Good evening Mark,
            Oily is the coast redwood on the emissary page. I am not very sure it is actually called that, but I got the name off the photo url that came up. I think it will sound more like a train smashing into a huge building. Yes, wouldn’t want to be close to that!
            That Spartan redwood is just monstrous- “only” 90+ metres tall. I think the top may have been blown out over the course of the years. Because I don’t think a redwood that old would not grow up to taller than Hyperion.
            There is one problem – FR.
            They have blown the cover of lots of trees (I hope the “Orion” on the webpage actually isn’t the Orion), and sooner or later Helios, Icarus and Daedalus, Grogan’s Fault, Millennium, and Minaret will follow. Apparently a redwood called Apex has fallen- is it true?
            Thank you
            Gleb

          2. Hello Gleb
            Thanks, took a look on Mario’s web site, that Emissary looks to be another giant one for sure.
            I don’t know if the Orion photo is correct or not. But would say more likely than not it is.
            For Apex, it is listed as being in Harper Flat. For sure a tall tree fell in Harper Flat between 2012 and 2016 but I don’t know if it was Apex. I have a posting on this blog called Redwood Thunder that shows some GE details.
            Mark

    1. Hello Mark
      Recently I have been overwhelmed by searching up clues for Helios. I have a decent amount, so now it’s time to think about them. Do you have any idea, of what Vaden’s “Hail Storm” might be? I am maybe thinking of a redwood taller than Hyperion in an area missed by LiDAR. LiDAR has several downsides in that if a tree is on a slope it can measure the height incorrectly. so possibly Hail Storm is on such a steep hillside that it showed up as something which was “not interesting at 350ft” or something. I wonder what is now the largest coast redwood… it’s not Grogan’s Fault, that’s for sure, although I cannot imagine a beast any bigger than that. If that is ok, could you tell me if there are any nasty bits up the creek en route to Helios? I am remembering the logs near Hyperion as I write this. Thank you very much for such a website.
      Gleb

      1. Hi Gleb
        I don’t know where the Hail Storm tree is located. All those new discoveries are under really right wraps, including Grogan’s Fault. I don’t know the various places they are located, though there are a couple areas I am going to look later in the year, just using my own inferences.

        I doubt there is a taller redwood than Hyperion and don’t think there will be a redwood taller than Hyperion for twenty years or longer. It is a special tree, in a terrific setting, and reading your comments about the logs I am very happy you got to see it. Reading through the articles on the LiDAR redwoods apparently many growing on slopes were overestimated for height, as the tops tended to lean a bit toward the down slope daylight. There is one called “Big Leaner” in an unnamed RC tributary that returned 372 but turned out to be 355.

        For Helios, best not to mention much about it.

        Mark

  6. Hello Mark
    Yes, I understand. I wasn’t trying to figure out the location from you, as that would make my search not interesting. I was just interested if there would be such nuisance like the logs.
    Have you yet seen any albino redwoods? I think they are particularly interesting. And as for Grogan’s fault, I have a possible location. Just recently figured out where the Darth Vader tree might be hiding. Might know where Helios is. Those coast redwoods are simply amazing, and I don’t know why some people try to ruin the searches for everyone by leaking clues and stuff like that. The top of Icarus is interesting. I know why it’s location is not published, as it is stated that it is minutes from Helios, so they will not give a head start like that!
    Do you know what the oldest redwood might be?
    Thank you
    Gleb

    1. Hi Gleb

      The oldest estimated age I’ve read is the 2750 year age estimate for Grogan’s Fault.
      The oldest age noted in research is about 2500 years for SESE 88, which is in one of the redwood plots. The age for SESE 88 is derived from very small diameter cores extracted from the tree.

      Mark

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