Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park – Stout Grove and Boy Scout Tree

On the second day of our vacation we woke up to rain which seemed fitting since our hike for the day was going to be in the rain forest of Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. We decided to start our hike at Stout Memorial Grove and planned on combining several trails leading us past Boy Scout Tree to Fern Falls and back.
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We started off on the .5 mile loop through the trees of Stout Grove.
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We once again found ourselves confused when we arrived at the Smith River where we couldn’t see a clear trail on the far side of Mill Creek. We had not brought our guide book due to the heavy rain and neither of us could remember from looking at the map at the trailhead where exactly the Mill Creek Trail was supposed to be. After following a faint path into the brush and deciding that was wrong we returned to the trailhead and reviewed the map where we realized that we needed to cross Mill Creek near it’s confluence with the Smith River. A bridge is placed over Mill Creek during the summer but had been taken down for the year so we were left to cross on what we refer to as a “hiker” bridge, typically a jumble of small logs and other pieces of wood.
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Once we crossed Mill Creek we easily spotted the continuation of the trail and the well marked Mill Creek Trail junction.
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It was nearly 4 miles from the Mill Creek Crossing to the Boy Scout Tree Trailhead. We could have driven to it on Howland Hill Rd but where is the adventure in that? The sights along the Mill Creek Trail were well worth the extra walking.
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When we reached Howland Hill Road we road walked for about a quarter mile to the Boy Scout Tree Trailhead.
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Had we had a current map with us we would have known that we could have avoided much of the road walk by continuing on the Mill Creek Trail as it recrossed the road twice more before the Boy Scout Tree Trail. The redwoods were magnificent along the Boy Scout Tree Trail but we also had to look down along the way as there were other, smaller sights to see in the forest.
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We took the short, unmarked, side trail to Boy Scout Tree at the 2.4 mile mark of the Boy Scout Tree Trail where we found the massive tree.
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The trail continued another half mile to the small but pretty Fern Falls.
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The rain was letting up as we began our return hike and it seemed to bring out the wildlife which we hadn’t seen much of yet.
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By the time we’d made it back to the Smith River the rain had stopped and the clouds began to break up.
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It had been a long hike, 15.4 miles, but we were glad we chose to hike the Mill Creek Trail instead of driving between the two trailheads. After all we don’t get to see redwoods everyday. Happy Trails!

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/albums/72157660602039241/with/22625742012/

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One thought on “Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park – Stout Grove and Boy Scout Tree”

  1. I grew up in the Redwood Empire and have hiked many, many trails through those magnificent trees. The trail to the Boy Scout Tree is my all-time favorite. There aren’t too many that have the feel of deep wilderness, truly massive old growth trees and a bonus waterfall. I am glad you guys were able to hike this area!

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