|above the clouds|
***I highly recommend that you take along the list of landmarks (see the numbered list in the link above) and take a look at that blog's pictures as a means of a trail guide before you go. It was very helpful for me and even includes some good directions for how to reach the trailhead.
According to what I've read (see references below), Redwood Mountain Grove is the largest grove of giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in the world and also has the most old growth giant sequoias in the world - to it markets itself well for exploration. It is less visited then the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park (which has more of the larger giant sequoias as I hear), so you have a better chance of getting the trail to yourself, and MLK day was no exception. I saw one hiking couple at the very start of the hike...and then no one else. The "Hart Tree & Fallen Goliath Loop" is approximately 8.3 miles (up to an elevation of 6,425ft) , so be sure you start with plenty of daylight. There is not much rigor to the inclines & declines, but I'd still advise hiking with boots over trainers, as the trail is not always clear of debris and sometimes the tread of the trail is a bit uneven (and if you go in winter - there might be some patches of snow like I encountered).
A few notable landmarks on the trail (in no particular order):
1. The "log" cabin - as in a cabin carved out of a fallen giant sequoia log (dream home? I think YES)
2. The Hart Tree - the 24th largest giant sequoia in the world, discovered in 1880 by Michael Hart. It it has a DBH (diameter breast height) of 21.3 feet and is 277.9 feet tall. It also has a large fire scar on one side, and you can walk through the tree via this scar.
3. Fallen Tunnel Tree - as in a fallen giant sequoia that a tunnel has been carved out of for you to walk through
4. 15 foot, mossy waterfall
5. a few creek crossings: Barton Creek and Redwood Creek
|At the foot of a giant sequoia is a good place to gain perspective|
And the smell of the place is nothing short of intoxicating if you should be a nemophilist.
As a comic aside - the size of the tree is not the thing to be intimidated by...it is their seemingly harmless pine cones. Do not be deceived by their "cute" shape and size. That is their great deception! For, when they are form a cone gang and carpet the ground they make for a lethal minefield.
...but, if a girl slips and falls on pine cones in the woods, and no one is around to see her, does she really fall?
I got a great sunset on the drive down the mountain, a truly great "night cap."