Alternate Route to Gulch Tower

Notes: Use this alternate route to visit Gulch Tower whenever Redwood Creek is impassable. If the seasonal footbridge over Redwood Creek is installed or Redwood Creek is low enough to wade across, use the 3.5 mi (5.6 km) shorter normal route to Gulch Tower via Redwood Creek Trail instead.

Drive: Gulch Tower is 323 mi (520 km) north of San Francisco near the community of Orick.

From Highway 101 near Orick School, turn onto Drydens Road, drive north 0.9 mi (1.4 km) to Orick Rodeo Grounds, and park at the unpaved parking lot.

Hike: GPS-assisted navigation is recommended for this hike. From the parking lot, follow a short trail northwest to the levee. Hike northeast 0.5 mi (0.8 km) along the levee to Orick Horse Trail. From the trailhead, hike south 1.6 mi (2.6 km) on Orick Horse Trail to Ridge Loop Trail (also known as Three Hour Loop Trail). Turn left onto Ridge Loop Trail and hike south 1.4 mi (2.3 km) to McArthur Creek Loop Trail (also known as Six Hour Loop Trail). Turn left again and hike south 1.7 mi (2.7 km) on McArthur Creek Loop Trail to Elam Creek Loop Trail (also known as Overnight Loop Trail). Turn left on Elam Creek Loop Trail and hike 1.1 mi (1.8 km) southeast toward Elam Horse Camp. Turn right at the junction with an unnamed spur trail from Elam Horse Camp and continue southwest 0.2 mi (0.3 km) on Elam Creek Loop Trail to the upper Elam Creek bridge. 140 ft (43 m) past the bridge, just before you reach a small gully, exit the trail to the right and follow an old logging road up and away from the creek. Where the logging road veers left/south (away from Elam Creek), exit the logging road to the right and, using a GPS device, hike southwest 0.4 mi (0.6 km) toward Orion, keeping some distance from the creek to avoid excessive underbrush and numerous fallen logs nearby. Cross Elam Creek and hike west 0.1 mi (0.2 km) to Gulch Tower.

Rating: Difficult One-Way Distance: 7.0 mi (11.3 km) Ascent: 1,990 ft (606 m)
Time: 5 hr Off-Trail: 0.5 mi (0.8 km) Descent: 1,460 ft (445 m)

View Gulch Tower Tree location in Google Maps