Five Hiking Trails You Will Love

Here’s your guide to Willits hiking.

There are several former logging trails in Brooktrails Township in Willits that have been restored into great hiking trails.

 Thimbleberry Trail

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There are several former logging trails in Brooktrails Township in Willits that have been restored into great hiking trails. One of our favorites is Thimbleberry Trail.  It runs along a small babbling creek in a ravine and is always cool, even in our hot summer months. You’ll see beautiful redwoods and the ferns and get a good work out! Several trails connect to Thimbleberry, including Robie and Gooseberry uphill trails. At the end of Thimbleberry you can continue on to the Last Chance trail which narrows and adds an incline to your workout. You will cross a couple of creeks on the way; in the winter you will need some rubber boots to cross.

Brooktrails Par Walking Course

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This course is great for families with children, for pet owners and those that want to do a little exercise along their walk.There is a small playground at the beginning with a tire swing, slide and merry-go-round with a few picnic tables, and further on a baseball field.  Along the path there are some exercise stations where you can stop and work out. Don’t miss the gorgeous redwood grove with the little wooden bridge. A complete loop is about 30 minutes around; there are benches to stop and soak in the scenery along the way.

Montgomery Woods

Montgomery Woods - RedwoodsAt the heart of this exceptional reserve is a small alluvial flat that’s hidden away in a remote, steep-sided valley, where you’ll find one of the most scenic redwood groves in existence. This serene little grove is unusually far from the ocean, at the eastern edge of the redwood band. It’s also well off the beaten track, a half-hour from the nearest freeway or town on steep and winding roads. At one time, Montgomery Flat contained the tallest measured tree in the world. While its location is secret, and taller trees have since been found in other parks, that distinction still gives the grove a certain cachet. The reserve can be reached by taking Orr Springs Road west from the town of Ukiah. Orr Springs Road starts just north of exit 549 and soon begins a steep and twisty climb, which is then followed by an even steeper and twistier descent.  Once it reaches the valley floor, the road levels out and passes Orr’s Hot Springs, then enters a redwood forest. Look for a large wooden sign on your left. The reserve can also be reached by taking Comptche – Ukiah Road and Orr Springs Road from the coast. After passing Comptche, simply follow the only paved road — there are no turns to make. Bring mosquito repellent. The reserve is not staffed and there’s no entrance fee.

Fern Canyon Trail

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Half way between Willits and Fort Bragg on Hwy 20 is a beautiful hike thru fallen redwoods and ferns with the sound of a waterfall in the distance. It’s a little hard to find; be sure to pick up maps at our front desk.  Take a picnic and enjoy the giants!

Fern Canyon Trail is a 7.7 trail located near Little River and is accessible year-round.  It follows the route of an old logging skid road and for three decades, beginning in 1864, ox teams hauled timber through the canyon where a lumber mill once stood at the mouth of Little River. In Van Damme State Park, another very special environment awaits the walker: the Pygmy Forest. The Pygmy Forest  is truly Lilliputian, where sixty-year-old cypress trees are but a few feet tall and measure a half-inch in diameter. The walker has a choice of two trails that lead to the Pygmy Forest; one route loops 3.5 miles through Fern Canyon; the other is a one mile long Logging Road Trail for a more direct route.