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Central Trail, South Trail, Powerline Trail Loop

Upper park overview, Central Trail-South Trail-Powerline Trail and Pygmy Forest in Salt Point State Park

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Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 4.6 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview :  This particular walk highlights the self guided interpretive efforts of the park. The trailside informational signage focuses on local... more »

Tips:  Salt Point can get some strong weather so bring layers. It's frequently damp. In the winter some of the roads get quite muddy. Bring... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Parking

Parking area and former ranger station. It looks like the Ranger Station has been torn down, only the ADA ramp remains. There is a restroom here.

2. Trail Head

Trailhead-Central Trail at locked gate. The trail is a dirt park service road. Forest cover is Redwood, Bay, and other mixed trees.

Many of the POI's on this walk revolve around the park's educational efforts. Listed will be a number of educational and interpretive signs found on the trail sides. With these signs are examples of the native plants... More

3. Interpretive Sign

Douglass Fir.

4. Interpretive Sign

Western Chain Fern.

5. Junction

Continue on the Prairie Trail.

6. Interpretive Sign

Red Huckleberry.

7. Logging History

Left side of trail, 6 foot lichen covered tree stump. Note the rectangular cutout. This is an example of the slot for a logging device called a “springboard” used by the loggers as a work platform to reach a point above the tree base where usable wood begins. The springboard’s other function was that of a diving board. It allowed the lumberjack to... More

8. Interpretive Sign


9. Interpretive Sign

Western Sword Fern.

10. Interpretive Sign

Red Clintonia.

11. Junction

Intersection at water tanks. Pygmy Forest Trail and Central Trail. Follow the Pygmy Trail.

12. Interpretive Sign


13. Interpretive Sign

Bracken Fern.

14. Interpretive Sign

Pacific Star Flower.

15. Interpretive Sign

Giant Horsetail Fern, Deer Fern.

16. Junction

Follow the Pygmy Forest-right fork.

17. Interpretive Sign

Black Huckleberry.

18. Interpretive Sign

Bishop Pine.

19. Interpretive Sign

Tan Oak. Formerly a commercially valuable tree. The bark was used in the tanning process on leather goods and the waste lumber was consumed as firewood. These trees were extremely heavily logged in the 1800's and early 1900's. They are steadily returning.

20. Interpretive Sign

Western Wake Robin.

21. Interpretive Sign

Coast Redwood.

The trail is nearing the top of the climb with skyline and daylight becoming visible low between trees.

22. Interpretive Sign


23. Interpretive Sign

"Pygmy Forest Ecological Staircase". Explaining the terrain and vegetation the trail has traveled through.

A pygmy forest is a forest which, due to thin and poor soils, contains only miniature trees. Pygmy forests are frequently associated with the coastal terraces and coastal mountains of Northern California.

The trail is partially grown in... More

24. Vegitation Change

Transitioning out of the Pygmy Forest.

25. Junction

Three-way intersection: Southeast to the Central trail to Prairie. Southwest to Central Trail to the Woodside Entrance. Follow Prairie Trail. The new trail is a very broad dirt road. During the winter rains portions turn to mud.

26. Vista

Entering the Prairie Meadow.

27. Junction

Prairie Trail and South Trail. Prairy heads NE. South Trail will head you back towards the coast and down the mountain.

28. info

The road becomes a large bog in the winter rains. Skirt the edge of the road.

29. Info

Leaving the meadow and entering mixed forest. The down grade begins.

30. Info

The mixed species forest continues with wonderful examples of Redwood Forest regeneration!

31. Info

A nice Redwood stand with a clear example of multi-generational growth. This stand clearly illustrates the ring-like growth patterns of the redwood around an old “mother tree”. In this example we have a circular central clearing, remnant tree stumps from logging, and new trees growing from the stump bases. Gentle down-slope in the trail.

32. Junction

Powerline Trail-follow the footpath to the north. This narrow trail roughly parallels HWY 1 and follows the cleared area for the overhead power lines that you will barely notice.

New forest growth is rapidly taking advantage of the sun it receives in this cut below the power lines.

33. Gully

Dropping into a gully with running creek and an idyllic redwood grove. It's an unexpected surprise.

34. Junction

Trail intersection. The trail is approaching campgrounds. The cross trail connects to a few of the camp grounds to either side of Power Line.

35. Campgrounds

Campgrounds have been reached.

36. Junction-Paved Road

Intersection with road serving the campground. Follow the road to the right (following the direction arrows). The campground is well appointed, paved parking, restrooms, trash dumpsters, water.

37. Intersection

Roadway intersection. Follow the Exit sign. Watch for a trail (Power Line) on the northerly side of the road.

38. Trail Head

Take the Power Line Trail. This can be followed for a short distance to get off the roads.

39. Road intersection

Follow the road northwesterly (left) until it reaches the Ranger Station parking lot.