From an educational hike along the first mile of trail to an 11-mile hike to an old-growth redwood forest, the Elk River Trail offers something for everyone. The Headwaters Education Center, located 0.6 miles from the Elk River trailhead, offers events and educational displays.
How to get there: To get to the Elk River Trail (north end of Headwaters) take the Elk River Road exit off Highway 101, at the south end of Eureka. Turn right onto Elk River Road and drive approximately six miles (following brown directional signs) to the Elk River Trailhead. To get to the Headwaters Education Center, hike or bike up the paved trail from the trailhead for 0.6 miles.
The Elk River Trail (north end) is open all year. Parking is available at the trailhead parking lot.
Trail Information: The first 3 miles follow a narrow stream corridor of public land that parallels the South Fork Elk River. The first mile is paved and accessible for those with limited mobility. Interpretive displays line this section of trail with an emphasis on the now-defunct town of Falk. Bicycles and dogs (under owner’s control) are allowed on the first 3 miles. The last 2 ½ miles wind beneath a closed tree canopy, ending at a small old-growth redwood grove. Please stay on the trail to avoid trespassing and to protect the area’s natural resources.
Distance: It is 5 miles to the old-growth and ½ mile through the old growth loop, for a total 11-mile trip.
Difficulty: The first 3 miles traverse moderate terrain adjacent to the river. The remaining 2 ½ miles are moderately strenuous. Plan 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours for the first 3 miles and 2 to 2 ½ hours for the last 2 ½ miles.