In an region where scenic attractions are difficult to describe without an excess of superlatives, Stout Grove pulls out all the stops. Located on a flood plain between the Smith River and Mill Creek, the periodic flooding prevents the growth of an understory of tanoak, madrone, red alder and other small trees that obscures the view in other stands of redwood. As a result, you can see the trees here better than in perhaps any other redwood grove in the world. With coast redwoods towering more than 300 feet overhead and waist-high sword ferns, you might think you’ve been transported to a fairyland. RedwoodHikes.com describes it like this: “Best seen in the late afternoon, the grove has a remarkable cathedral-like appearance, hushed and serene, with huge straight trees rising through the gloom into brilliantly backlit foliage.”
There is a flat, wide, loop trail through the grove, about 0.6 miles long. It’s an easy but spectacular walk. The grove is almost never crowded, because it’s a little out of the way. The parking area above the trailhead has pit restrooms, and there is a paved walkway leading down to the trail. There are no parking or entrance fees.
Where: Follow Hwy 199 until you’ve gone about a mile and a half past Hiouchi to a sign that says South Fork Rd. / Howland Hill Scenic Drive / Stout Grove. Turn right onto South Fork Road and go half a mile, crossing over the Smith River and then the South Fork of the Smith. Just past the South Fork turn right onto Douglas Park Dr. After a mile and a half it runs into Howland Hill Rd. and becomes a hard-packed gravel road. Continue along Howland Hill Rd. for another mile to the parking area for Stout Grove. (google map)
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