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Hiking At Headwaters Forest Reserve In Northern California Is Like Entering A Fairytale

There are some places in Northern California that seem almost too beautiful to be real.

Like the absolutely stunning Headwaters Forest Reserve near Fortuna.

This lovely reserve was established to protect and preserve the ecology and wildlife of the dense redwood forest that inhabits it.

Visitors are welcome to experience its fairytale-like beauty via two separate public trails.

Boasting old-growth forest, lush foliage, tons of wildlife, and even some fascinating history.

Comprised of 7,472 acres, Headwaters Forest Reserve is home to a rich ecosystem filled with old-growth redwoods, ferns, historic structures, and meandering trails.

It’s a location that looks straight out of a fairytale, and you’ll want to see it for yourself.


After a decade-long grassroots effort to protect the world’s last unprotected yet intact redwood forest ecosystem.

The reserve was officially established in 1999. Today, the reserve is home to several threatened species, such as coho salmon, the northern spotted owl, and the marbled murrelet.

The public can access this breathtaking reserve via two trails, the most popular of which is the Elk River Trail.

You’ll find access to the Elk River trailhead located along Elk River County Road, approximately six miles southeast of Eureka.

The county road terminates at the reserve, so simply drive to the end to find it.

A kiosk providing hiking information can be found at the parking area.

If you do visit the spectacular Headwaters Forest Reserve, take care to keep on the trail in order to preserve the forest’s fragile habitat for years to come.

Are you ready to set off on this forest reserve hike? We bet this old-growth forest is absolutely mesmerizing in person! Tell us about your favorite fairytale-like setting in Northern California below.

Address: Palco Road 1, Fortuna, CA 95540, USA

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