Redwoods in the Grove of Titans

Grove of Titans, Coast Redwoods

Information & Updates. Located in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

Continued from: Coast Redwoods Main Page

 



Copyright 2009 - 2017 by Mario Vaden

This page is about an unmarked group of redwoods called the Grove of Titans, discovered May 8, 1998. But between 2008 to 2017, more redwood titans were discovered elsewhere, and Grove of Titans no longer has the largest coast redwoods. For more about larger discoveries, read Year of Discovery. The first photo below gives an example of the more recent finds. I updated Screaming Titans with photos showing human impact. Later this winter, two news articles basically erased what little secrecy remained. With the introduction of notices in the parks on top of the news, I finally changed this page to include location information. One section below covers surveillance cameras placed in the Grove of Titans and other places. Continue after the photo.

 

Image: example of 2008 - 2017 discoveries elsewhere in Redwood National and State Parks

Grogans Fault redwood, wider than famous redwoods Grove of Titans

 

Location & Directions Part I

In 2017, two news were published about the Grove of Titans in the Statesman Journal and Del Norte Triplicate. On account of that, I'm adding the grove's location now to reduce wear and tear. I kept the location secret since 2008. But articles coupled with social media leaks means more damage if I omit directions. The parks identified the grove with small signs along the trail in 2016. The Grove of Titans location is no longer a secret. Scroll down this page for the rest in Location & Directions Part II.

 

 

News and Publicity

The Grove ot Titans is certainly no secret anymore and many people shared the location. The proliferation meant a lot of vegetation was destroyed, shown on the Screaming Titans page. Apparently the park visitor center will confirm the grove if people ask. The Grove of Titans was widely publicized by Richard Preston's book, the same one sold in redwood park visitor centers. His book was the single greatest factor that opened the door to impact in this grove. I provide a unique review of The Wild Trees book.

February 23, 2017, Zach Urness published an article about Grove of Titans in the Statesman Journal, relaying feedback from head ranger Brett Silver and scientist Steve Sillett about a possible $1,000,000 boardwalk and trail. Also quoting Sillett "we now know of larger trees elsewhere" reiterating new discoveries elsewhere. March 6, 2017, Del Norte Triplicate published a story by Jessica Cejnar, quoting the same ranger that Grove of Titans is the "worst kept secret" in Jedediah Smith park. She covered more details about foot traffic and the trail plan. I comment farther down this page about the surveillance cameras and 22,000 images Cejnar wrote about.

Both 2017 articles will trigger another surge of foot traffic and compaction on top of the writers' aim to help parks get funds. More foot traffic will occur before a solution is implemented. The parks may need to move at a marathon pace to curb problems. So hopefully more people will contribute to help. In 2016, the first $1000.00 was already sent. A copy of the letter for that donation is at Impact to the Grove

 

 


 

About the Grove of Titans coast redwoods

A chapter called Day of Discovery in Preston's redwood adventure book is where many people first learned about the Grove of Titans. That one chapter may be online at Orion ... try searching Day of Discovery. These redwoods are not a landmark memorial grove. The redwoods in the Grove of Titans most commonly known are:

Del Norte Titan ... Lost Monarch ... El Viejo del Norte ... Screaming Titans ... Chesty Puller

The parks did not offer maps in the past, and the subject of largest coast redwoods may be a sore topic of discussion for some rangers depending on which ones you meet. So be prepared if you ask. Some people were not courteous to rangers or visitor center volunteers during conversation about the Grove of Titans in past years. So go the extra mile to keep a smile on their faces. A few people are curious about other redwoods in the grove like Aragorn or Eearendil, but those are not as large as the five mentioned above.

 

www.curlyredwoodlodge.com (707) 464 - 2137 @ 701 Hy. 101 S. Crescent City, CA 95531. Click photo for more .. 8 / 2014 Curly Redwood Lodge Motel Lodging

 

The Grove of Titans is a patch of coast redwoods in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park with a handful of very large coast redwoods. It was claimed to have the 1st, 4th and 5th largest coast redwoods. But Illuvatar of Prairie Creek park was bigger, and likewise Fusion Giant of Redwood National Park. So the grove used to have the 3rd largest at most. After 2013 - 2017 discoveries, Grove of Titans has the 5th largest at most.

Screaming Titans is a double stem, two coast redwoods that grew side by side and expanded into each other. The age is probably 1/2 of what most people expect. If Del Norte Titan is 2300 years old as estimated, Screaming Titans could be more in the range of 1400 years. That's still very old.

From my main redwood page you can navigate to pages for each of 15 largest Coast Redwoods and others. A few from this grove are among the fifteen. Chesty Puller and Screaming Titans are not among the 15 largest and were put in under awesome and big instead. The photos enable people to see what these redwoods look like because 90% of visitors won't stop to see the Grove of Titans.

Image: view toward Lost Monarch across the grassy glade of grasses, salmonberry and vine maples. The gap betweeen the extra stem shows the extra small redwood at its base, often added to exaggerate volume. That extra stem is an extra redwood.

 

Coast Redwood Lost Monarch full canopy view across marsh

 

It's intriguing how the handful of largest redwoods in this grove appear of similar age. What prompted their genesis? Why are there not more? Were there more? What remains standing suggests the grove's giants may have germinated within a small gap in history's time-table.

The terrain experienced a dramatic change which could have occured before the titans germinated. But there is a grassy marsh on the side, void of large evergreens. The creek probably passed through the marsh centuries ago. Dr. Steve Sillett expressed his thoughts that a landslide probably changed the valley. The location of trunks, creek and terrain are indicative of a landslide and flood.

 



 

Terrain & Diversity

Grove of Titans has other species like hemlock, vine maple and big leaf maple. There is a big mound from a presumed ancient landslide that diverted the brook. Near Screaming Titans is a strange trench that looks hand-dug. Its possible a log got pressed into the ground and decayed leaving the void.

These large coast redwoods were discovered in 1998 by Steve Sillett & Michael Taylor during what they described as the "toughest bushwhack" ever. Sillett & Taylor entered Jedediah Smith redwoods along Hy. 199 and followed Clark's Creek up into the hills. They navigated valleys and hills and brooks for a full day. Their zig-zag bushwhack was about 3 miles combined. Along the route they passed a previous coast redwood discovery called New Hope and a discovery called Neptune. They also found a huge Douglas fir they named Ol' Jed up "Ruthor Gulch".

Grove of Titans Del Norte Titan Redwood

Image: Del Norte Titan

The redwoods with the most name recognition include Lost Monarch and Del Norte Titan. Trunk diameters approach 26 ft.. Heights exceed 300 ft.. So big, the girth can actually hide the rest of itself from anyone standing close by.

El Viejo del Norte has hundreds of pounds of canopy soil, fern mat and epiphytes. But that is not exclusive to this grove. If you hike trails in the coast redwoods and look overhead, you can spot epiphyte gardens in most of the coast redwood parks.

Several redwoods in Grove of Titans are wider than the Stout redwood across the Smith River from Jedediah Smith campground. The Stout Redwood is about 16' wide.

For the record, the Grove of Titans does not have the "ten largest" coast redwoods. That's a myth initiated around 2010 by an anonymous amateur blog post.

Preventing more Wear & Tear

If you find and visit the Grove of Titans, do not walk up on the trunks to get a better photo. That's how damage to vegetatation happened. Years ago, responsible people would lift fronds, step around sorrel and stay off trunks.

For now it's almost impossible to reverse the damage. But hopefully more people will try to reduce further damage. Stay confined to the middle of worn areas away from the fringe.

 

Location & Directions Part II

The grove is along Mill Creek trail west of the Smith River in Jedediah Smith Redwoods and State Park. It is so easy to reach, I decided to skip a map. And GPS is almost pointless because signal tends to jump-around a lot anyway.

The shortest route is near the old bridge where Howland Hill road crosses Mill Creek about 1.5 miles West / SW of Stout Grove. Find Mill Creek trail trailhead a few hundred feet SW of that bridge. The trail will head north and NE up in the wooded hill. After about 15 minutes you drop down into a clearing close to Mill Creek downstream from the bridge. That's where the grove is, with most titans on the north side of the trail. The sociial trails are clearly visible. Don't cross the first wooden foot bridge or you went too far, otherwise turn 180 degrees, return 70 feet, and look north to see hidden shapes of El Viejo. The social trails are so worn it's almost self-explanatory. In summer you can use seasonal bridges to reach Mill Creek trail from Stout Grove area and hike SW to the marsh. If Howland Hill road is ever locked for maintenance, Grove of Titans can be reached from Hy. 199 hiking south along Hiouchi trail for 2 miles and connecting Mill Creek trail. If you were planning to find the grove and landed on this page, realize this description does not compromise anything anymore. Better you got it here, because my pages clarify damage and how to avoid more. Just stay off any plant, don't let children romp freely, avoid laying backpacks on vegetation. The parks already identified the grove using signs along the trail by 2016. To reiterated the top of this page, In 2017, two news articles were released about the Grove of Titans, erasing secrecy.

 

Image: this shows what I mean about El Viejo del Norte and how it may look from the trail. This photo was taken about 200 ft. away from the opposite side of Mill Creek and the trail is next to the ferns at the bottom of this photo. The small wooden foot bridge is out of this view about 100 ft. to the right..

 

Grogans Fault redwood, wider than famous redwoods Grove of Titans

 

Hidden Cameras in the Grove of Titans and the Park

In 2015, seven motion sensor cameras were installed in the Grove of Titans by someone from Humboldt State University, to monitor human activity. In one way that may seem redundant because wear and tear and number of visitors was obvious. That was already known from local people sharing at local night-spots about their Grove of Titans visits.

I don't recall any signs informing hikers about active cameras. There were over 20,000 images recording any person or activity. If anyone was taking photos, resting, walking, picking their nose, taking a leak or doing the "wild mambo" as Stallone phrased it in Demolition Man - they were memorialized. Cameras were also placed near the Hyperion redwood in Redwood National Park. Possible areas for surveillance include any tallest coast redwoods or new discoveries. So be more careful when nature calls.

Hidden cameras in the park are possible at any time. Cameras are so affordable, expect individuals to hide a few without permits around certain other coast redwoods. A half dozen motion cameras cost but a few hundred dollars.

 

Grove of Titans' other Redwoods

For a brief time around August 2016, I added a couple extra coast redwood photos to this page of Vesuvius and Ruthor Gulch Beast. They are upland redwoods where most people never go, but I removed the images because someone working with the parks was worried about lookers wandering farther up the valley to find those, or a few others. In the same way author Preston didn't mention Yin or Yang of Prairie Creek, he didn't see or mention everything around the Grove of Titans.

 

Image: explorers (Atkins & Sillett) return to Ruthlor Gulch where Taylor & Sillett passed in 1998 on the Day of Discovery. 10 years passed since any among the discovery network went this far back into the upland forest.

 

Coast Redwood Lost Monarch full canopy view across marsh

 

My thoughts about future trails and boardwalks

To anybody ready to donate $10,000.00 to $1,000,000.00 ... it may be a good idea to ask for a final plan before giving your money. If you want to know more about my professional opinion, feel free to call some evening and ask. I can chat for a while without charging. I have provided professional drainage, soil and tree consultation for over 35 years, with experience at multiple parks, golf course and university campuses. I'm sure I can spare 10 minutes of my time. Especially if you plan to share and give a few thousand dollars to the parks.

When I heard about the $1,000,000.00 price ceiling for Grove of Titans, I thought Holy-Cow! - Red tape set aside, if this was protected private land, wonders could be done for $250K. But it was also a shock to hear rangers must bring an archaeologist for something like a single sign post.

In Grove of Titans, social trails where vegetation is already trampled may be the better choice for future trails. Much may not need rails or boardwalks. The earth is already compacted. Hopefully they don't add any of the ugly synthetic fabric that keeps popping it's trashy head up on a few other trails.

These titans can drop gigantic chunks of wood like El Viejo del Norte did in 2008, or Godwood Creek Giant in 2010. This is why excess deck or boardwalk may become repair expense or money down the drain.

Here's another photo below, related to the Grove of Titans. A raft used by Fish & Game at the Grove of Titans. This was part of a fish study where several people were working. This fish study caused a new social trail in the midst of the Grove of Titans. This too is part of the entire discussion.

If you are planning to spend $5,000.00 or more, gather all the facts and information possible before signing your check and handing it over.

 

Coast Redwood Lost Monarch full canopy view across marsh

 

For more information, read: Why Some Locations Are Secret