East Bald Hills

Plus a heavenly shortcut on Paradise Trail

Maybe you’ll have the luck of the irises. And the rhododendrons. And the azaleas.

They sometimes line much of Paradise Trail like a decked-out wedding aisle as you set out from the South Fork Road trailhead for a mile of switchbacked climbing that brings you to the eastern section of the Little Bald Hills Trail.

This isn’t the only way to get there. You could continue on South Fork Road a little less than a mile farther south and turn right onto a dicey road known as 16N23, then drive another mile to reach the actual eastern terminus of Little Bald Hills Trail.

TRAIL NOTES

  • THE HIKE: A nine-mile round-trip on Paradise Trail and the eastern half of the Little Bald Hills Trail.
  • HIGHLIGHTS:A flower show, at least in late spring/early summer, with irises lining much of the trail and plentiful patches of rhododendrons and azaleas. Impressive views of South Fork Road and the South Fork of the Smith River coiling northward.
  • SWEAT LEVEL: The 1,600-foot gain in altitude is spread over sufficient distance and splendor as to not seem all that arduous.
  • GETTING THERE: East of Hiouchi, turn south off of U.S. Highway 101, cross two bridges and turn left onto South Fork Road. Go 6.7 miles and find the Paradise trailhead on the right. 

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