I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
I thought of “Trees” as we hiked around the Lady Bird Johnson Grove. It seemed quite appropriate. It was written by Joyce Kilmer, a writer and poet who was killed in action while serving in France during World War I. Today he’s honored by the 3800-acre Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest located in the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness of North Carolina.
Although Kilmer may never have been aware of the magnificent redwoods of California, I’m sure he would be just as impressed as modern day travelers. Arguably, one of the best hikes in Redwood National Park for enjoying the grandeur of the tallest trees on Earth is the Lady Bird Johnson Grove Nature Trail. The 1.4-mile loop trail takes hikers through an old-growth forest of ancient redwoods. While the trees tower more than 300 feet above, the forest floor is lush green from ferns, evergreen huckleberry and rhododendron.
Stout Grove in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park was even more remarkable. If you have time for only one short hike, I would probably go with Stout Grove.
Trail: Lady Bird Johnson Grove Nature Trail
RT Distance: 1.4 Miles
Elevation Gain: 100 feet
Max Elevation: 1290 feet
TH Location: Near Orick, CA
Map: Redwood National and State Parks Trails Illustrated Map
Best Short Hikes in Redwood National and State Parks offers details on more than 60 hikes in five renowned northern California parks - from half-hour to half-day, with camping and park facilities information. This guide is devoted to the best hikes in Redwood National Park as well as Prairie Creek, Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith and Humbolt Redwoods State Parks. The book also includes a handy quick-guide for selecting hikes by difficulty, mileage and features (flowers, water, views, etc.).