Hiking Through History – the Lyons Ranch Trail

Amazing view abound as you travel up Bald Hills Road above the towering Coastal Redwoods that provide the namesake for Redwood National and State Park in northern California.  While most people visiting the park, tend to stay in the general area of the big trees, there is a whole different aspect to the park that is available for exploration – the grassland prairies on the hills above the redwoods.

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Bald Hills road travels past the Coastal Redwoods and into the grass prairies and oak groves on the way to the Lyons Ranch Trail.

After leaving Tall Trees Grove, I decided to explore a part of the park I had never seen before, the grass prairies on the Lyons Ranch Trail.  From the trail head, approximately 17 miles up the Bald Hills Road, the trail follows an old farm road to the abandoned Lyons family homestead, where the Lyons family ran a self-sufficient sheep ranch from 1865 to 1969.  Once known as Home Place, the family barn, shepherds’ cabins, and orchards are all that remain today.

Sweeping vistas abound as you make you way up the Lyons Ranch Trail.

Sweeping vistas abound as you make you way through Schoolhouse Prairie on the Lyons Ranch Trail.

The wind seems to blow constantly as you wind your way around the hillside weaving in and out of groves of oak trees and walking through the prairie grasses.

Looking back towards the trail head.

Looking back towards the trail head.

Passing through stands of oak trees on the way to Home Place.

Passing through stands of oak trees on the way to Home Place.

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The Lyons family barn.

As you round one final bend, the barn comes into view – and as you make your way past the barn, you come across a couple of shepherd’s cabins.

Shepherd's cabins at Home Place.

Shepherd’s cabins at Home Place.

Inside the cabins there are relics of a bygone era, including old cans, horse shoes, old bed springs, newspapers, and birdcages.

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A birdcage sits on old newspapers inside one of the shepherd’s cabins

The sun was starting to drop lower in the sky and I had one more stop I wanted to make before I called it a day, so I made my way back to the car, pausing only long enough to allow the herd of elk that was grazing along the trail between me and my car to move on over the hillside, and I was on my way for a brief stop at Lady Bird Johnson Grove, hoping that I had time to get some photos before it got dark.  On the way back down Bald Hills I made a brief stop to photograph the fog as it rolled back up the valley

Evening fog rolls in along Redwood Creek in Redwood National & State Parks

Evening fog rolls in along Redwood Creek in Redwood National & State Parks

 

Until the next adventure…

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