Miners Ridge Loop, Prairie Creek Visitor Center, Redwood National and State Parks, California
Miners Ridge Loop - 7.45 miles
Prairie Creek Visitor Center
|Round-Trip Length:||7.45 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||165' - 646' (max elevation on loop)|
|Elevation Change:||481' net elevation gain (1,194' total elevation gain)|
Miners Ridge Loop - 7.45 Miles Round-Trip
The James Irvine, Miner's Ridge and Clintonia trails form a 7.45 mile lollipop loop through the heart of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. This moderate route features some of the Park's largest trees and an inclusive redwood forest ecosystem.
The route begins at Prairie Creek Visitor Center and follows James Irvine .82 miles to the Miner's Ridge Trail, which runs 1.8 miles clockwise to the Clintonia Trail. The Clintonia continues 1.5 miles through young and then notably mature groves back to the James Irvine Trail. James Irvine turns 3.35 miles back to Prairie Creek VC.
Th Miners Ridge Loop is ideal for those with only half a day, and will minimize exposure to crowds along the busy James Irvine corridor:
The trail begins at Prairie Creek Visitor Center and crosses Prairie Creek on long wooden bridges. Stay on this main trail artery past connections for Zig Zag and West Ridge to the Miners Ridge Trail split (.82 miles : 420').
The Miners Ridge Trail veers left and begins an undulating climb with short, steep intervals to its highest point (1.5 miles : 656'), then tilts down on a long, mild descent to the Clintonia Trail split (2.6 miles : 470').
The Clintonia Trail turns NW and levels through a nondescript mix of young and old redwoods which (fairly abruptly) give way to mature and sizable groves (3.1 miles). This next stretch - arguably one of the nicest in Prairie Creek - exemplifies old growth forest characteristics with a tall, layered canopy and standing snags.
The trail slaloms through massive trees and several memorial groves on a winding descent to the James Irvine Trail (4.1 miles : 360'). James Irvine turns SE and undulates mildly past good examples of cathedrals, nurse trees and fairy rings.
It dips to a bridge across a low, damp area near Godwood Creek (5.25 miles : 305'), then climbs steadily to its highest point (524'). James Irvine drops off this crest on a shifting descent to the Miners Ridge Trail split to complete the loop (6.62 miles). Retrace your steps back to Prairie Creek Visitor Center (7.45 miles).
Interactive GPS Topo MapKey GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84
- N41 21.847 W124 01.381 — 0.0 miles : Prairie Creek Visitor Center
- N41 21.932 W124 01.438 — .23 miles : James Irvine Trail split
- N41 22.186 W124 01.682 — .82 miles : Miners Ridge Trail split
- N41 22.287 W124 01.801 — 1.0 miles : Reach highpoint on ridge
- N41 22.576 W124 02.533 — 2.0 miles : Undulating travel on ridge
- N41 22.768 W124 02.920 — 2.6 miles : Clintonia Trail split
- N41 23.136 W124 03.037 — 3.1 miles : Transition from young to very mature trees
- N41 23.311 W124 03.104 — 3.8 miles : Winding travel through big old growth
- Old growth redwood forests are thought to produce the greatest volume of living matter per unit of land surface. This is primarily due to the trees' extraordinary height.
Camping and Backpacking Information
There are 4 developed campgrounds in Redwood National and State Parks:
There's a $35 per-night fee to camp in developed campgrounds. Cabins at Elk Prairie and Jedediah Smith are $80 (winter) and $100 (summer) per night.
Reservations are strongly recommended from May - September in all campgrounds. Click links above to learn more about each campground and check availability through ReserveAmerica.com (1.800.444.7275).
- Permits are required for all overnight stays in the backcountry. Permits are free and issued in-person up to 24 hours in advance at the Hiouchi and Kuchel Visitor Centers.
- There are 8 designated backcountry sites. Gravel bar camping is permitted along Redwood Creek. Click here for specific site details and maps.
- Fires are permitted in the backcountry with potential seasonal and location-specific restrictions.
- Proper food storage is required (in provided lockers, bear canisters or by hanging).
- Overnight stays are limited to 5 consecutive days.
Rules and Regulations
- Dogs are not permitted on hiking and riding trails in Redwood National Park, including trails within Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.
- There is no fee to enter Redwood National Park or access trails at the Prairie Creek Visitor Center.
- Day-Use Fees apply at select State Park entrance stations within Redwood National Park, including Gold Bluffs Beach ($8).
Directions to Trailhead
Prairie Creek State Park is located on Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway off Highway 101, approximately 50 miles north of Eureka, 5 miles north of Orick and 25 miles south of Crescent City.
The Prairie Creek Visitor Center is located on the southern end of the Parkway, 1.3 miles from Exit 753 on Highway 101. Follow signs from the exit to the visitor center and parking lot.
Redwood National and State Parks
1111 Second Steet
Crescent City, CA 95531
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
127011 Newton B Drury Parkway
Orick, CA 95555
Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center (Orick, CA)
Jedediah Smith Visitor Center (Hiouchi, CA)
Hiouchi Visitor Center (Hiouchi, CA)
Crescent City Information Center