Three trails in one, each with their own unique connection with the forest.
Yes, you can do the entire 4 mile walk, but you’ll need to arrange a shuttle at the end of the trail (summer only) or walk the same way out. I always suggest guests take the Hatton Trail as far as the fourth bridge, then turn around — or, continue just a tad further and take the southward spur to Lohse Grove, then turn back on Hatton. Nothing against the Hiouchi Trail (it’s got some splendid views of the river and connects to the Mill Creek Trail), but hikers will have road noise from 199 to contend with on much of the trail.
Best plan for guests: Park at the trail head to the Hatton leg of this trail (on 199 opposite Walker Road, detailed directions below) and walk the short Hatton loop first, then head east on the Hatton trail itself, following the sign which points to Stout Grove. What makes the Hatton Trail special is the fire-damaged trees scattered about like pick-up sticks not far from the trail head. The usual perspective of towering redwoods moving skyward is distorted here. This part of the forest suffered a lightening strike some years ago and the result is a distorted, garbled and unusual vista of downed trees and huge redwood trunks sliced and diced to open up the trail. The trauma of wind and fire is well past but the energy unleashed in obvious. There’s an element of visual mayhem I love about this part of the forest. Go very early in the day or in the late afternoon and I guarantee you’ll be spooked by the setting. But, no one dies on the Hatton trail so keep on walking. The forest here is dense but the trail easy to walk. Four wooden bridges each cross the largest of the creeks which weep off the mountain side. The spur to Lohse Grove is seldom trod so if you take the walk (a marked trail off to your right) expect to push back the invading under story of fern and stray branches. You’ll have to navigate fallen trees and at times climb over trunks that block the trail. The Lohse spur is just a 1/4 mile so it won’t add much time to your jaunt. I recommend the spur because it moves southward further away from the road and any possibility of noise. Like the Boy Scout Tree Trail, it’s just a beautiful, accessible, remote place in the forest.
Directions from the bnb: Drive up Monument to 199. Go left toward Crescent City. Go over the Hiouchi bridge. After about two miles on 199 the trail head will be on your left but don’t stop and cross in front of approaching traffic, instead go about 100 feet further to Walker Road. Make a right on Walker Road, turn around and come back the way you came on 199 for those 100 feet. A turnout with parking will be on your right.
To hike the Hiouchi Trail with its views of the Smith, stay on the Hatton Trail past the four bridges or pick up the Hiouchi trail at the western side of the Hiouchi Bridge. Park on the south side of 199 at the bridge and look for the oversized boulders and signpost indicating the trail. Climb the steps and pick up the Hiouchi Trail.
Hatton-Hiouchi Trail and Lohse Grove spur
Length: Hatton only, 3 miles; Lohse add .8, Hiouchi add 3.4; mileage is round trip
Trail Type: one-way in, one-way out
Difficulty: Moderate with some gentle climbs throughout. Steps lead up from 199 when accessing the Hiouchi Trail at the bridge
Change in elevation/climbing: Hatton/Lohse, 360 ft; Hiouchi Trail section only, 420 ft.
Location, distance from bnb~hiouchi: trailhead and parking for the Hatton/Lohse trail is on 199 opposite Walker Road, about half way to Crescent City, 10 minutes. The Hiouchi Trail trailhead is closer, on the south side of 199 just after crossing the bridge over the Smith, 5 minutes.
Snapshot description: The proliferation of lighting and fire damaged trees at the beginning of the Hatton trail is a visual treat if not a little spooky. Four wooden foot bridges to cross, mushrooms to identify, and enormous redwood and doug fir to admire. Occasional road noise on the Hatton and Hiouchi Trails is a slight negative but is outweighed by the trails’ accessibility. Visit Lohse Grove for its remoteness, calm, and small challenge of navigating a seldom used and overgrown walkway into the redwood forest.