The Bull Creek groves in Humboldt Redwoods State Park run six kilometers east to west, starting at the confluence of Bull Creek and the South Fork Eel River and extending west to a short distance past the Mattole Road Bridge over Bull Creek. All the tall redwoods (those over 100 meters in height) in the Bull Creek groves are within 225 meters of Bull Creek itself. Therefore, the area with very tall redwoods encompasses about 2.7 million square meters / 270 hectares / 670 acres. The tall redwoods are more or less uniformly distributed throughout this area, which is known as the “Bull Creek Flats”.
Despite what a sign says, the Bull Creek Flats have NOT been a wilderness for thousands of years. This area was long used by Native Americans, especially in the winter when salmon were in the creek. In the present day Mattole Road runs through the entirety of the Bull Creek groves, and the area is well trailed, on both the north and south sides of Bull Creek. You can virtually drive Mattole Road through the Bull Creek Flats using Bing Maps (this area is not available on Google Earth Street View).
John D. Rockefeller Jr. donated $2 million in the late 1920’s to purchase the Bull Creek groves and a portion of the surrounding hillsides from the Pacific Lumber Company. That sum was matched by state of California taxpayers to complete the $4 million purchase of approximately 9,400 acres encompassing the Bull Creek Flats, Dyerville Flats, and some of the surrounding hillsides in 1931. This is why the area in the present day is called Rockefeller Forest, though John D. Rockefeller Jr. preferred the name Bull Creek – Dyerville Forest.
Coast Redwoods are the dominant canopy species in Bull Creek groves. The coast redwood is the only living tree species with more than a handful of individual trees over 100 meters in height. There are approximately 2,000 coast redwoods over 100 meters in height. Of these 2,000, about 800 are in the Bull Creek groves. About 25 of the approximately 45 trees in the world over 110 meters in height (all coast redwoods) are in Bull Creek groves.
Notable trees marked on older maps for this area include the Rockefeller Redwood (Tall Tree), Giant Tree, Flat Iron Tree (now fallen), and the Giant Braid.
Lower, Middle and Upper Bull Creek Flats
Although the Bull Creek groves (Bull Creek Flats) are continuous, sometimes the area is subdivided into the lower, middle, and upper Bull Creek Flats. Using 2018 LiDAR data, I have created three derivative maps detailing the crowns in each area color shaded by ten meter height increments, stopping at 100 meters. The crowns with white shading on top are over 100 meters, and there are about 800 such crowns along Bull Creek. The tallest tree in the Bull Creek groves is Stratosphere Giant, which is about 114 meters tall. Its specific location can be found through a standard web search.
A Photo Tour of the Bull Creek Groves
Below are photos I took from 2014 though 2019 of locations in the Bull Creek groves. They give a good overall idea of what can be found on the Bull Creek Flats, and some specific additional facts are included in the photo captions.
I have also created a three minute You Tube / Power Point on the Bull Creek groves. There is some background music, please forgive the middling skill of the piano player (me).
Views of Lower Bull Creek Flats
Views of Middle Bull Creek Flats
Views of Upper Bull Creek Flats
Thanks for viewing and reading.