by Mario Vaden
Simpson Reed grove and discovery trail is beautiful ... also one of the most practical redwood areas to visit. Parking is barely a couple of hundred feet from Highway 199 on Walker Rd.. The Walker Rd. turn-off is a short distance west of the Jedediah Smith redwoods campground entrance. Turn north onto Walker Rd., and look for available parking.
The original pull-over parking remains along Hy. 199 too, and you can walk down and around the corner too.
The total hike (walk) is about 0.9 to 1 mile long. For other directions, maps or questions about this grove or road conditions, check with the parks visitor centers. Click this map to see ...
Photo: Children on a big redwood at Simpson Reed Grove
There are plenty of fun things to see. There's a few redwoods bigger than anything shown in the photos here. You can find giant fallen logs, huge root systems ripped from the earth, burls, bridges, and even a maple rooted in 3 places arching over the trail.
Photo: Dads and children at Simpson Reed Grove
The trailhead for this grove used to be right along Hy. 199, with parking on both sides, but after an accident, the trailhead was moved around the corner onto Walker Rd.. Fewer people seem to stop there now, but the grove is just as good as ever. And the removal of the restroom seemed like a big improvement aethetically.
Walker Rd. itself has some nice coast redwood viewing. Along with the Simpsom Reed Grove trail is the Peterson Memorial trail. And off Walker Rd. is a Metcalf Grove too. So you can casually wander and stroll through this entire area with ease, picking and choosing.
In winter, some of the trunks get the brightest green I've seen in the coast redwoods. It's not the bark, but what grows on them, and the cool wet weather from late autumn to early spring really brings it alive.