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A Navarro River Gem-Two Redwood Groves and a Hermit Camp

On the way to Mendocino, Hendy Redwoods SP boasts some of the nicest groves around that easy to get to.

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Difficulty: Easy
Length: 3.8 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview:  Located in the middle of the Anderson Valley wine district, this 850-acre park tends to be warmer and less foggy than redwood parks... more »

Tips:  Address:
Hendy Woods State Park
18599 Philo-Greenwood Road Philo, CA 95466
(707) 937-5804 or 895-3141
Latitude: 39.0849
Longitude: ... more »

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Points of Interest

1. The Road In

Intersection of HWY 128 and Greenwood Road, just north of the town of Philo.

2. Park Entrance

Enter Hendy Redwoods SP here.

3. Ranger Kiosk

At the entry gate go ahead and park. Visit the ranger or volunteers for a chat, pick up a map and any other literature that interests you. I found the folks to be friendly and extremely knowledgeable. They have a good handle on what's blooming and great old stories about the park.

4. Visitor's Center

Closed for the season on my visit. It's located at the entrance of the campground area.

Across the street are a couple of cabins available for rent. They are small, very basic, and quite serviceable. Not much more than a bed, fireplace, table and chair.

About Joshua P. Hendy:
Born in England in 1822, Hendy came to California in 1849. He was not... More

5. Sample Campsite

6. Trail Head-Little Hendy Grove

Start this walk in the Wildcat Campground. The trail head is between campsites 71 and 73.

This first loop will take us to the Little Hendy Grove, a spectacular cathedral next to a vineyard.

Until worn by traffic each season, the trail is hard to see due to the winter leaf fall. Head down into the swale and up the slope on the other side to an... More

7. Junction

Junction. Stay on the Little Hendy Grove Trail. Head north (right fork toward HWY 128).

As you travel through young redwoods and fir, you’ll notice that the trails are well very marked in this portion of the park.

8. Junction: Eagle Trail

Eagle Trail "t's" into Little Hendy Trail, this walk will return to this intersection later. Continue on Little Hendy.

The Eagle Trail is essentially a connector trail between the day-use area, other trails, and the campgrounds.

9. Cathedral Tree

Cathedral Tree. There's a sign by the trail with no story. Adjacent to the trail is a circle of younger redwoods forming a small grove. Within 60' there are two significantly larger trees.

10. Arrive: Little Hendy Loop Trail

The cross trails head north and west (both are Little Hendy). Take the north trail into the gully and around the corner.

11. Trio of Redwoods

You’ll come upon a trio of redwoods, 4' to 6' diameter. The ground will become heavily carpeted with greenery, particularly redwood sorrel. Glimpses of Little Hendy Grove will be visible down-slope.

The trail passes a large fallen redwood.

12. Seasonal Waterfall

Catch this trail after a storm and there will be a nice little waterfall here.

Continue along the side slope as a portion of the Little Hendy Grove begins opening up down-slope. Keep in mind that saying, "Wait for it..."

13. A Vertical World: Little Hendy Grove

Welcome to the Cathedral!

Of all the groves within a couple hours of the Bay Area (that one can easily get to), this is my favorite.

It's a vertical world: wide-open, lush ground-cover vegetation and very large Old Growth Redwoods. That amazing cross between nature and the feeling one gets in a centuries-old Gothic Cathedral.

For folks not... More

14. Charles and Caroline Person Grove

This is a nice grove to stop, sit, and reflect. The nearly-perfect redwood grove features lush ground carpeting of redwood sorrel, large trees, and the hushed quiet of the vertically oriented redwood forest.

15. Bench

A bench with a view in the Charles and Caroline Person Grove.

16. Chimney

A great chimney in one of the trees here. Climb on in with a flashlight.

This tree's also got a great example of a burl-growth low down on its trunk. Burls are basically a scar growth - a knot of deformed wood which typically have a grain structure highly prized by sculptors and cabinet makers. On redwoods, they can become enormous.

The redwoods... More

17. Redwood Trio

A trio of Redwoods, the center one being around 8' diameter. About 40-50' up the trunk is an amazing burl.

Just up the trail is a creek crossing. On this visit, the creek, while still flowing, has gone underground just short of the trail.

18. Massive 5 trunked redwood.

A paced base diameter has a circumference of at least 65'!

19. Felix & Lore Bloch Memorial Grove

Bench and lean-to shelters people have made from downed branches. This grove is named the Felix & Lore Bloch Memorial Grove.

Ranger Station Trail to the southwest.

Our path continues to the southeast.

20. Junction: Azalea Creek Trail

To the southwest is the Azalea Creek Trail which will travel up a draw.

Continue up the Hendy Loop, which will start heading up the base of the hill toward the campground intersection and the Eagle Trail.

21. Bridge

Creek crossing.

22. Fallen Redwood

Here you’ll see a fallen redwood with exposed root mass. The trunk stretches off to the northwest across the grove. The trail continues on a gentle upgrade.

Up the trail the vegetation starts transitioning to younger forest with more broad-leaf filling in that includes Bay Laurel (Pepperwood), Tan Oak, and other trees. The undergrowth will also ... More

23. Junction: Closing the Little Hendy Loop

We've returned to the intersection at WP 10, closing the loop for Little Hendy Grove. Next we’ll backtrack up the trail a short distance to our WP 8 Junction, the Eagle Trail.

24. Junction

The Eagle Trail Junction.

This trail heads southward and serves as a path to Big Hendy Grove, the next loop.

This is a smooth, well-graded trai that,at times, almost disappears in the duff. It skirts the base of a hill.

25. Side Path Lean-To's

This is a small grove in which people have been setting up lean-to shelters.. It’s a great place to stop with the kids and explore.

After this spot, the redwoods thin out with firs becoming dominant. The canopy has thinned allowing more underbrush to grow.

Watch out for poison oak,- it's growing off the edges of the trail.

In a short while a... More

26. Junction: Wildcat Campground Return

Eagle Trail continues east to the park's day-use area.
West: Wildcat Campground return.

Head toward the day-use area on Eagle Trail.
You’ll come across another gully and over the lip are redwoods.

27. POI-Poison Oak

An example of Poison Oak growing as a vine up a tree trunk.

Chosen for two reasons:
1) It's surprising how many people don't know what Poison Oak looks like.

2) This one's easy to spot and hard to mistake with other plants.

Study the leaf structure - it's lobed and the three leaves all join at a central hub on the vine.

Poison Oak also shows... More

28. Tree Cave

12' Diameter tree, chimney.

29. Tree Cave

Burl and a big chimney, 10' diameter tree!

30. Bench: Cornelia Sampson Salinger Memorial Grove

Bench and a dry crossing (except after rains). Cornelia Sampson Salinger Memorial Grove.

31. Junction: Road Crossing

Road crossing. The road connects the day-use area to the main park road.

Cross the road and enter the All Access Trail and head into Big Hendy Grove with the Discovery Trail.

If the kids need a restroom, take the road a short distance to the day-use area. There's also a trail head into the Discovery Trail at that location.

If you have a copy,... More

32. Bridge


33. Tree Cave

Another tree cave to explore. There's a bench in memory of Herbert H. Salinger.

34. Junction: Discovery Trail and Hermit Hut Trail

Discovery Trail and Hermit Hut Trail.

Continue on the Discovery Trail. There will be some very large redwoods along the trail with 12' and greater base-diameters.

35. Junction: Day Use Trail

Day-Use Trail: east.

Discovery Trail: southerly. Follow this one, it follows a creek-bed.

36. Discovery Trail Marker 5

The marker draws attention to the root mass of a fallen Redwood. These trees have a shallow, but very broad, root system. They are one of the few trees that reproduce primarily from the root masses, though they can also propagate via seeds.

37. Junction: Day Use Trail

Discovery Trail continues southwest- stay on it.

Day-Use Trail.

38. Discovery Trail Marker 6

This marker draws attention to the burls growing on the redwoods. They are not harmful to the trees yet they seem to represent scar or protective wood tissue around an injury.

39. Discovery Trail Marker 7

This marker draws attention to a massive fire-scarred tree. Redwood bark is highly resistant to fire and the trees have evolved to survive extensive damage.

40. Snapped Redwood

Look for the biggest splinter in creation growing from the ground. This is an example of winds periodically toppling Redwoods.

41. Discovery Trail Marker 8

This marker draws attention to three decaying trees. Each is slowly decomposing back into soil, providing a nutrient-rich environment for the next generation of plants and trees.

42. Junction: Upper Loop

Upper Loop and Discovery Trail. Continue on the Discovery Trail.

The Upper Loop heads out for another portion of Big Hendy Grove and a portion of the Navarro River.

43. Discovery Trail Marker 9

This marker draws attention to the field and outlines other Redwood forest plants.

The clover is Redwood Sorrel, the green arching fronds that include Sword, Bracken, and Chain Ferns. You may see flowering Wood Rose, and in the winter an assortment of edible and poisonous mushrooms. DON'T TOUCH OR TASTE ANY OF THEM!

In the spring the blooms... More

44. Junction: Upper Loop and the Discovery Trail

Upper Loop and the Discovery Trail. A series of trails all intersect in this area, forming a series of short trail segments.

45. Discovery Trail Marker 10

This marker draws attention to a Bay Laurel, also called the "Pepperwood" and "California Bay". Break a leaf and you'll recognize the smell.

Douglass Fir and Madrone, with their shedding red bark, are common. Tan Oak, while less common, is making a come-back elsewhere in this park.

46. Junction: Meadow Trail

Following the Meadow Trail out through a transitional woods area into the sunshine of a large grass meadow.

Bypassed a continuation of the Discovery Trail and a portion of The Big Loop Trail.

47. The Day Use Area

The day-use area lies alongside the western edge of the meadow area and offers an open play area, shade and sun, and trail access to the Big Hendy Redwood Grove.

It has easy access via both road and trail. The site's outfitted with picnic benches, limited parking, and a restroom.

48. Trail Heads at the Day Use Area

Located just off the southern edge of the parking area.

The trail head starts into the transitional forest back-dropped by the redwoods of Big Hendy Grove.

It provides access to the Discovery Trail and the All Access Trail.

49. Discovery Trail Marker 1

This marker draws attention to the transition zone between meadow and forest. The shrubs make for outstanding deer and rodent habitat. Animals include a wide variety of birds, gray foxes, raccoons, and rabbits.

50. Junction: All Access and Discovery Trails

Marking the junction for the All Access and Discovery Trails. Follow the All Access Trail towards the Hermit Hut Trail, crossing a footbridge on the way.

51. Discovery Trail Marker 3

This marker draws attention to fire-darkened bark on a redwood. The bark and wood contains a naturally fire-resistant resin. The bark is also quite thick, insulating the living portions of the tree.

52. Hermit Trail Junction

Head out on the third loop of this walk up the Hermit Hut Trail.

There's a small tangle of short connector trails through this area. Generally, try heading westerly and south westerly.

53. Fire Road Junction

Crossing Fire Road, head up the gentle grade into the hills through the scrub and deciduous forest.

The fire road heads westerly back towards the camps. Easterly it will cross the park's easterly boundary and presumably a point on private lands adjacent to the Navarro River upstream.

54. Side Trail: A Hermit's Lean-To

Follow this short, brushy side trail up the hill to a hidden spot.

55. A Hermit's Lean-To

This first lean-to shelter was built under a large hollowed and fallen tree crossing a shallow gully. On the lower portion of the shelter lies a seasonal creek conveniently providing water.

56. The Hermit Hut

The Hendy Hermit's hut. A Russian immigrant named Petrev Zailenko once lived alone among the trees here.

Nobody's quite sure when he arrived in the U.S. but it seems it was either between the World Wars or even as late as after the Korean conflict in the 1950s. Petrev lived off the land and in general, stayed away from people.

When he settled in... More

57. Junction: Water Tank Loop

A trail to the park's water tanks and service road.

58. Road Crossing

Crossing the main road at the Hermit Trail Head.

59. Campground Trail

After crossing the road we're just about back at the campgrounds. On the way in, it's only a few hundred feet to the Visitor Center.

On the way is the Campfire Center, a small outdoor amphitheater.

60. Return to Trail Head

Follow the Campground road back to the trail head, car, or your camp.