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Headwater Forest Reserve

Recreation Opportunities

From an educational hike through the ghost town of Falk to a guided hike through old-growth redwood forest, the Headwaters Forest Reserve offers a wide range of things to do!

There are two publicly accessible trails, the Elk River Trail (north end) and the Salmon Pass Trail (south end). Both trails are easily accessible from the gateway communities of Eureka and Fortuna. The Headwaters Education Center hosts educational activities and special events.


Elk River Trail

A visitor to Headwaters riding the Elk River Trail on a bikeThe Elk River Trail (north end) is a popular year-round destination for hikers, bikers, nature lovers, trail runners, dog walkers, and history enthusiasts. The trail winds along the South Fork Elk River for three miles followed by a two-mile ascent to a short loop through an old-growth redwood forest. The first mile is an interpretive journey through the former company town of Falk. This first section of trail is paved and accessible for those with limited mobility. Dogs and bicycles are allowed on the first 3 miles of the trail. Learn more>


Salmon Pass Trail

The Headwaters Salmon Pass Trail weaves through an old-growth redwood forest

The Salmon Pass Trail, located just outside the City of Fortuna, weaves through old-growth and second-growth redwoods for nearly three miles. This trail is accessible by guided tour only. No pets or bicycles please!

The BLM's partners have developed an online calendar system for the Headwaters Salmon Pass Trail. Through this site, you can now join scheduled hikes or request a hike of your own. Find more information about the trail on our Salmon Pass webpage.



Bicycles are allowed on the first 3 miles of the Elk River Trail.

Education Center

Over 100 years ago, the building now known as the Headwaters Education Center served as an engine house to store the locomotives that hauled logs to the lumber mill at Falk. In 2008, the engine house was dismantled and moved to its new location along the Elk River Trail. The Headwaters Education Center hosts a summer lecture series and other special events. It is located 0.6 miles from the Elk River Trailhead.  Learn more>

Graphic that says "new"2016 Events at Headwaters

Sunday June 12 at 10 AM, Volunteer Trail Steward Day - join the BLM, Friends of Headwaters and EPIC for a volunteer day on the Elk River Trail. We will meet at the Elk River Trailhead at 10 AM. All ages and abilities welcome!
Saturday June 18, 10 AM, Jerry Rhode Logging History - Join the BLM in welcoming historian Jerry Rhode to the Headwaters Education Center for a discussion about Humboldt County logging history. Meet at the Headwaters Education Center at 10 AM.

Wide shot of an event from the 2013 Headwaters Lecture Series

For directions to the Headwaters Education Center, visit our Directions page. 


Bicycling dogs allowed Wildlife Viewing Accessible

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Contact Information

Bureau of Land Management 
Arcata Field Office
1695 Heindon Road 
Arcata, California 95521-4573 
Phone: (707) 825-2300
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