This is a simple out & back into a section of Redwood National park that is a stark contrast from the rest of the park. Open prairies. Expansive views.
Along the way saw longhorn cattle, a herd of elk and a bear.
Lyons ranch, the terminus of the ride, is a sheep ranch from the early 1900’s. There are several buildings on site worth exploring including a barn and an two old bunkhouse. The actual homestead burned down some time in the past. It is unclear when. The ranch was a working ranch until the 1960’s.
From Highway 101, Bald Hills Road climbs at first through redwoods before emerging onto a large hilltop prairie with increasingly broad vistas. The pavement abruptly ends at this point; bumping over the ridgetop with a cloud of dust behind you, you’ll wind your way up a knoll and, 17 miles from Highway 101, arrive at the Lyons Ranch Historic Site trailhead. [Redwood Hikes]
Redwood Hikes and The Outbound Collective provide excellent descriptions of the trails around the ranch and the history of the ranch. We spent about an hour exploring the buildings and the lands of the ranch. **Read More
From the Redwood Creek Overlook parking area (overlooking the Redwood Creek watershed) ride east on Bald Hills road (paved). At 0.4 miles there will be a right turn to the Tall Trees Grove, a gated gravel road. Continue straight. Save the ride to the Tall Trees Grove for another day.
The road rolls up and down first through second growth forest. Then at mile 2 the terrain will begin to vary between forest and open plains. Still rolling up and down. More up, than down. 600 feet of gain, 200 feet of loss.
Just before mile 7 the road turns to gravel with continuous grassy plains. The views stretch out into the distance. We saw a herd of elk here. The rolling nature of the route continues, but just before reaching Lyons Ranch there is a short, but continuous climb. About 1.5 miles, with a grade varying between 2 to 5 %.
Just after mile 10 you reach the destination, Lyons Ranch. From here, looking left you can see the lookout tower on top of Schoolhouse peak. To get to the look out tower continue 0.2 miles further along on Bald Hills road and take the primitive and steep road to your left. The turn and the road will be very obvious.
When your done exploring, return the way you came. It will now be more downhill than up!
For safety, we recommend a red blinky light. Also, you may want to bring a bike lock and walking / hiking shoes for exploring Lyons ranch.
If you are looking for a longer and more challenging ride (34 miles, 4300 feet of gain), consider starting at Redwood Creek Trailhead parking area just off Highway 101 on Bald Hills road. Northcoast Bike rides has a good writeup of the route from this starting point. (Map, GPX file, Lat / Long: 41.299206, -124.033719)
This is one of the first routes we documented at Dirty Freehub (circa 2014). As you probably noticed, our picture documentation of the route is a bit lacking. Thus, if you do this route and would be willing to share your pictures with us, please send us an email. Our address is at the bottom of the page.
Adventure / Gravel Route
Moderate–. The route is mostly rolling hills, there is only one true climb, near Lyons ranch.
When we like to ride this …
Spring, when the Lupine are in bloom.
Food / Water
Redwood Creek Overlook parking area.
Lat / Long: 41.257938, -123.988830
Food / Water
Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road
For help with GPS files, the RideWithGPs mapping app and to learn how to download our routes for free, see the “Using Our Rides” page.