USA Simpson-Reed Grove
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A short loop circles this Redwood grove around a flat along the banks of the Smith River. At one time it was the most popular trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, but in 2011 the trailhead was moved from a very visible location on the side of Highway 199 to a well-hidden location on nearby Walker Road. Two small signs at the old Highway 199 pullout redirect visitors to Walker Road, but the new trailhead is currently unmarked. As a result the trail is much less-used than before. It is, however, more enjoyable now that it doesn’t start and end at the busy highway. The trail has an unusually dense, jungle-like look, with greenery covering almost every available surface. Underneath the redwoods is a layer of hemlock trees so encrusted in moss and lichens that it’s amazing they can survive. It’s these hemlocks that really give this grove its distinctive look. Underneath the hemlocks are small maple trees with brilliant green foliage, a common sight near streams. Finally, the ground is covered with a dense layer of sword ferns, and underneath those are abundant, clover-like redwood sorrel. This photo is a good example of a nurse tree which is common throughout old growth forests.
From the Hiouchi Visitor Center at Jedediah Smith State Park. Drive north about 2 miles (3.2 km) to Walker Road. Turn right and drive 400 ft (122 meters) to the trailhead. The path is compacted gravel, is flat and level throughout, and is wheelchair-accessible.