Bald Hills Road
127011 Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, Orick, CA 95555
Open for day use
While inside Redwood National Park, most of Bald Hills Road resembles anything but a primeval forest. Rather than foggy groves, the area is dominated by sunny prairies, with occasional clumps of oaks, once grazed by sheep and cattle. The grassy hillsides, with panoramic views of the redwood groves below in the Redwood Creek valley, offer perfect places to picnic, especially in the spring when wildflowers like purple lupines pop up everywhere. To start, from U.S. Highway 101 just north of Orick, turn east on Bald Hills Road, pass the signs for the Lady Bird Johnson and Tall Trees groves, and ascend into what looks like a scene from The Sound of Music. Three suggested lunch stops: Dolason Prairie, which includes a 9- mile trail for the ambitious; Schoolhouse Peak, which at 3,097 feet is the highest point in the park; and the old Lyons Ranch, whose original barn and bunkhouses are intact and worth exploring. The barn is 11.5 miles from U.S. Highway 101. The bunkhouses, which require a few miles of unpaved road, are just shy of 18 miles from the highway. Bonus tip: Keep an eye out for rare California condors, which are periodically released into the wild from a sanctuary in the Bald Hills.