Redwood Scenery 1: Damnation Creek Trail

Del Norte Reds SM14-168

Damnation Creek Trail starts off a pullout near milepost 16 on Highway 101, between Crescent City and Klamath in Del Norte Redwoods State Park. If you’re looking to photograph redwoods in fog, this is about as good a trail as any. At over 1,000 feet in elevation, this section of redwoods rises to the level of the stratus clouds that, especially in the summer months, often blanket the northcoast of California. This is important, because the best light to photograph redwoods is when there’s some measure of mist blanketing the tops of the trees. Otherwise, if it’s sunny, there’s too much contrast and you get horrible speckled light. If it’s just cloudy, with high clouds well above the tree tops, you get white, blown-out skies. Only with the mist, or perhaps the sun protruding (and being softened) by the mist, does one get the ideal conditions for producing tonally convincing redwood shots.

The following map shows the Damnation Creek trail in its entirety. But the section with redwoods consists largely on the first .6 miles from the trailhead:

The trail rises gently from parking area (a pull-out along Hwy 101 near pastime 16) until it passes over a ridge to the other side. Here the trail gets steeper as it descends wider coastal trail, which constitutes another good place for photographing redwoods.

First, some images from the first section of the trail, on the highway side of the ridge:

And here’s some shots from the same section of the trail with the sun beginning to break through the mists:

Here’s a couple of shot sof the section of the trail which surmounts the ridge:

And now some shots from the sea side of the ridge:

And finally, some shots from the coastal trail: