The Pygmy Forest is a small area of forest located in the Salt Point State Park about 17miles north of Jenner, California, directly off of HWY 1. It is called the Pygmy Forest because the trees are stunted because of a hardpan layer of earth that prevents roots from penetrating deep beneath the ground and the highly acidic soil. The shortest hike to the Pygmy Forest is between 1 and 1.5 miles long. The loop I hiked (marked in red on the map below) was about 2.5 miles long, which started and ended at the parking lot marked by the number 1 on the map. The state park charges a day use fee, unless you are camping at the park.
The trail between #1 and #2 is a moderate uphill hike with a mix of normal-sized trees, including Coastal Redwoods, Douglas Fir, Madrone, Oaks and others. You know you are at #2 once you see large wooden water tanks off to the left of the trail (not pictured here).
The trail between #2 and #3 continues uphill for another three quarters of a mile or so as you get deeper into the forest.
You eventually wind up at #3 where the sign tells you to turn left onto the North Trail to get to the Pygmy Forest.
You travel for about .3 to .5 miles on level ground before you get to the Pgymy Forest at #4, which is marked by an entrance sign.
The Pygmy Forest is somewhat less than spectacular. The trail winds through what appears to be an unhealthy patch of trees and bushes, many of which are less than 10 feet tall but are 100 years old.
In terms of the area it covers, the Pygmy Forest is not very large. It only takes a couple of minutes of walking before you enter back into the "normal" forest.
The trail from the Pygmy Forest back to the parking lot is all downhill. I took a left at the #5 which led me back to the water tanks at #2, and then took a right to head back down to the parking lot. The trail is scattered with small signs describing the various forms of plant life that inhabits the park.
Things to note:
1) There is a well-maintained public outhouse at the trail head but no restrooms in the interior portion of the park.
2) There is a day-use fee if you are not camping in the park. Bring cash and pay at the ranger kiosk.
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