Redwood Creek is an incredible place to witness. The world’s tallest trees surround this coastal creek and have been drinking its water for thousands of years. The ancient redwoods form a steep gorge of wood as you float down the silty stream. Side hikes lead you to undisturbed old-growth in dark, soggy forests that are full of life and decay. The views around each bend in the creek somehow seem to keep getting better than the last.
According to Bill Tuthill’s Writeup on CaCreeks, this “seldom-run run is seldom run”. Evidenced by the generally overgrown and underused nature of the portage trail, I believe that we were the first group down there in quite a while. The portage is enough to keep many away, but the water and scenery make this adventure well worth it!
Due to the variability of put ins, mileages will be measured from Lack’s Creek.
Mile 0: Lacks Creek enters on the right
Mile 4: Giant overgrown bridge abutments once used to transport timber
Mile 7: Devil’s Creek enters on the left. There’s a cobble bar on river right that makes a nice lunch spot.
Mile 10.5: Portage rapid due to wood on the right (As of May 2022). This is where the whitewater starts to really pick up. There are a handful of class III rapids.
Mile 11.5: False Rocky Gap (IV) There is a river wide 6 foot drop at the top of this rapid, leading into fun holes and rocks to dodge.
Mile 11.7: Rocky Gap Entrance (IV) I recommend catching the bottom left eddy to start the portage unless you plan to run RG. The ferry from left to right has large consequence.
Mile 11.8: Rocky Gap (V+) Scout River right. Big falls pushing into a nasty undercut and a sieve channel. Portage river left. You will have to haul your boats up and over a steep bank that is thick with briars and vegetation. A haul system and teamwork are recommended.
Mile 12: One more class IV before the river mellows out
Mile 13: Large grassy bench on the left suitable for camping.
Mile 17: Arco Grove of the Giants - On the river right cobble bar, you will see a massive, downed redwood extending toward the river; this is where the Tall Tree grove is. You will find the Tall Tree loop trail in this grove. Take the time for this worth-while stop. Make sure not to camp within ¼ mile of this site. There are many beautiful camps between here and take out. Keep an eye out for wood in the river. There is lots of it.
Mile 26: Take out on river right at the pull off on Bald Hills Road. Hike the short mile to your rig.