California is a remarkable destination for lovers of the outdoors. There are countless opportunities for camping, hiking, kayaking, rock climbing etc. Now, hikers could be getting even more opportunities to hit the trails. Just how much more? How does 300 miles sound? There’s a proposal awaiting the governor’s approval that, if signed off on, would allow for the creation of 300 miles of additional hiking trails in the state that would stretch from the San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay.
The new trail would be called “Great Redwood Trail,” and it would follow an old railroad route that has essentially been a financial failure for the state. If the bill is approved, the North Coast Railroad Authority would be replaced with the Great Redwood Trail Agency.
There’s a substantial cost that comes with the proposed trail system. Initial estimates have the trail’s cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Other challenges would be the logistics involved with having the trail cross railroad lines, which could potentially cause delays in train service.
The proposed trail has support from plenty of outdoor organizations. However, it’s the hiking community that is fully behind the proposal.
Hikers would be able to experience multiple kinds of terrain along the trail, from gentle hills, trails bordering waterfalls, and gorgeous forests full of giant redwood trees. All of that scenery could lead to something else that outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate: more camping opportunities. Many of the key locations along the proposed trail are short of good, backcountry camping spots. What sites are available usually require reservations that need to be made months in advance. The trail could provide opportunities for dispersed, primitive camping, much like you’d find along other big trail systems like the Appalachian Trail.
The proposed Great Redwood Trail would provide some gorgeous scenery for thru-hikers, not to mention boost the economies of some of the rural communities in Northern California. It seems to be getting plenty of support, but it will likely come down to dollar signs. At any rate, it’s in the governor’s hands now. We can only hope for a signature.