by Mario Vaden
Forty-four Creek trail (44 Creek trail) is located more or less across Redwood Creek from Tall Trees Grove in Redwood National Park. It's not hard to find, but definitely refer to a map. The quickest and most practical way to reach this trail is getting a permi to Tall Trees Grove, take that trail down, go to the end of the loop, another 1/3 mile, and cross Redwood Creek. If the seasonal bridge is not in place, you may be going knee deep, and hopefully there was not a lot of rain. Can't advise you on that. The main reason I'm sharing about Forty-four Creek trail is for Rhododendrons. If the north redwood coast encounters a bleak year for Rhododendron blossoms ... like 2010 ... and you feel engrossed to get some blossom photos, this may be worth the hike.
The map below shows a 7 mile loop of Forty Four Creek trail. The hot spot for Rhododendron was not the entire loop. The good ones and redwoods were at the side marked with color. That means crossing Redwood Creek, and about 9/10 mile enter where the red dots indicate a small foot trail. That's why I recommend this trail primarily for Rhododendron scouting only if you exhausted looking elsewhere. And if Forty-Four Creek lets you down for blossoms you still got to see the nice grove before you even crossed Redwood Creek ... hence, no loss.
PS ... And for horse riding. For those who are interested, Redwood National Park allows for horse riding and camping. Contact the parks or local outfitters.
2010 saw practically nothing for Rhododendron flowers in the north redwood parks. That spring, I was helping with a redwood measuring, and we were all over the map in several parks: trails, bushwhacking, access roads, etc.. And one of few locations I saw some appreciable Rhododendron flowers, was along the loop at Forty-four Creek. The photo below was taken June 2010, and there were others much nicer than this example. We just didn't have time for photography. But I think the hours of available daylight near this trail is greater. If you look at the canopy on satellite images, you can see the area we were in with the old growth stuff here is about 1/4 mile X 1/2 mile.
This will be my backup plan for Rhododendron photography hiking should the rest of the park's Rhodies fail to perform some future year.
The map below is cropped from the Redwood National Parks horse trail pdf. The yellow mark should be an access road that the horse trail improvises. The red dots indicate some form of foot trail I saw marked on a map acquired from redwoodhikes.com (the full printed version). We entered on the access road, so I forget if we used the trail marked with red dots. But it should be there. The red dot trail may be part path and part access road.
This Forty-four Creek trail was unlike about every other trail that comes to mind in Redwood National Park. It felt unique, and I liked it. Can't put my finger on the exact reason, but I did not forget that.