This hiking trail winds along several ridges in the Jackson State Forest. The first ½ mile goes downhill, and then along a ridge top. At this point, a junction takes you either southwest or southeast on a 4-mile loop with one long section of steep uphill climbing. If you don’t want to hike the steep section, you can either go right at the junction to walk along the ridge top, or go left at the junction for a short distance to the spur that leads up to the observation point on the top of the hill. The trail is very well-maintained, and the elevation ranges between 275 and 1000 feet. The trail markers on the map are used only to track your progress along the loop. The Redwood Ecology section features a mixed redwood forest. The Demonstration Forestry section illustrates experiments in timber management. The Native American Era section describes how the Pomo Indians hunted and harvested plants in the forest. The Early Logging Days section describes the logging methods used between 1850 and 1900. Finally, the Forest Management section describes experimental planting methods for restocking the redwoods after logging.
Access: go 5.5 miles east on Little Lake Road to the “End of Pavement” sign. Turn left on County Road 408, where the sign says “Highway 20 6 miles”. Follow the unpaved road for 1.2 miles (total mileage 6.7 miles from Highway One) to the parking area on the right side. This road is suitable for any modern car, but bumpy in several sections.
Time & Distance: 3 hours, 4 miles for the entire loop.
Note: This trail and the trail down into Manly Gulch are excellent for advanced cyclists – steepness makes it very technical in spots. The ride into Manly Gulch drops almost 800 feet in two miles.