For the first time in years, visitors will be able to stroll through the towering redwoods on the new low-impact trail in California'sGrove of TITANS.

The Mill Creek Trail was closed in November of last year due to the popularity of social media. The reworked version was realigned to reduce the effects of the crowds on the ancient coastal redwoods.

The North Coast Redwoods District, California State Parks, said in a statement that the grove of titans is an extraordinary old-growth redwood forest that was being damaged by visitors. The project is about being aware of the role we all play in helping to keep our parks thriving.

Construction crews on the Mill Creek Trail hand-carried nearly 128 tons of materials and tools to the site © Max Forster, photo courtesy of Save the Redwoods League

interpretive signs on local Indigenous history and present-day relationships as well as educational displays with information on habitat and safe trail use were installed. The tribe is grateful park visitors will be able to visit their ancestral territory.

There are many ways to experience California's redwoods.

The first phase of a multi-year project from California State Parks, Save the Redwoods League, Redwood Parks Conservancy and the National Park Service is intended to provide environmental sensitive access to the grove of titans.

Construction crews carried 128 tons of materials and tools to the site to keep the habitat disruption to a minimum. Jessica Carter said balance is key when planning and building a trail in such a rare and beautiful environment. With the realigned trail, new boardwalk, and signs, we are respecting the natural grandeur of this special place while also welcoming all visitors to experience and enjoy the great outdoors.

Brett Silver, California State Parks Acting Sector Superintendent, points to the location on a giant redwood that forest vegetation should cover
Activity on "social" or unofficial trails can cause damage to the trees' root systems, which can then damage the ecosystem as a whole © Max Forster, photo courtesy of Save the Redwoods League

While the project is impressive, it's not the only measure in the region aimed at improving the experience. The longest sky walk in the Western US is located on the quarter-mile stretch of platforms suspended from the trees.

The Pfeiffer Falls Trail, which was closed for 13 years due to fire damage, reopened to the public a few days ago. It now offers improved access for hikers, with a new 70ft pedestrian bridge and a dirt trail that can be completed in just over a mile.

Prior to the 2008 Basin Complex Fire, this was one of the most popular trails in Big sur, according to the California State Park's program manager. We are happy to welcome visitors again with the completion of the trail.

In December, it was announced that the Giant Forest and the General Sherman Tree would begin to reopen in phases after the fires. The park is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except for the days when it is closed due to weather or safety reasons.

The Pfeiffer Falls Trail in California's Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park on June 1, 2021. Save the Redwoods League and California State Parks installed a 70-foot pedestrian bridge that spans the Pfeiffer Redwood Creek ravine.
As part of the Pfeiffer Falls Trail refurbishment, a 70ft pedestrian bridge was installed across a ravine © Max Whittaker, photo courtesy of Save the Redwoods League

How to be a respectful guest in the Redwoods

First and foremost, stay on the trails because these ancient trees are part of a fragile environment. Dana Poblete writes for Save the Redwoods League that when visitors go off-roading, the root systems of the redwoods are exposed and trampled. There is a forest. Staying on trails will help minimize your impact.

Rules of thumb include camp only in designated spots, don't pick any plants, and don't leave so much as a crumb behind when you leave.

California-bound this summer? A few details to keep in mind

California's giant redwoods and sequoias are some of the most popular attractions. When Americans return to the road in droves this summer, accommodations and dining reservations will be hard to come by. A free shuttle is running to alleviate traffic at the parks where permits are required for camping and hiking.

California has national parks.

Summer is fire season in the US West and the region's most popular outdoor destinations are often affected. Smoking and wood and charcoal fires are not allowed at both campgrounds and lower elevation picnic areas. Cal Fire has up-to-the-minute info on wildfires and each park's website has details on prescribed burns.

Most COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in June of last year. Proof of vaccination is required for indoor dining and to attend indoor and large outdoor events in some counties.