Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Great hikes bookend U.S. Hwy. 101 drive

Damnation Creek Trail, Redwood National Park.
If driving the stretch of U.S. Hwy. 101 between Port Angeles, Wash., and Crescent City, Calif., this summer, you’re in for a treat. This scenic drive along the Pacific Ocean is wonderfully bookended by two popular national parks – Olympic and Redwood.

Water tumbles 90 feet over Marymere Falls at Olympic National Park west of Port Angeles. On the trail leading the falls, ferns spring beneath spruce, fir and hemlock while verdant moss covers every rock and bare patch of ground – and just about every tree, for that matter.

Continuing down the 101 to Ruby Beach, Wash., is the Hall of Mosses Trail at Olympic’s Hoh Rain Forest. Moss, lichen and ferns blanket a dense canopy of giant bigleaf maples and Sitka spruces, leaving you in perpetual twilight with a green hue. It’s a magical walk.

Redwoods up to 10 stories high and eight feet around highlight Redwood National Park’s Damnation Creek Trail at mile marker 16 just south of Crescent City. With an understory of rhododendron, which sports beautiful pink and purple blossoms in mid-May to early June, and incredibly tall huckleberry bushes – some reaching 15 feet high –you’ll feel like you’re in a scene from “Land of the Lost.”

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.