Headwaters Forest Ecological Reserve


Located in the mountainous north coast region, the approximately 7,500 acre Headwaters Forest Ecological Reserve has unique ecological values, including a highly intact and functioning old-growth redwood and Douglas fir forest, with a diverse understory and undisturbed headwater stream habitat. Bird life includes such species of concern as the northern spotted owl and marbeled murrelet, as well as more widespread birds such as chickadees, thrushes, and woodpeckers. Mammals such as northern flying squirrels, and big brown bats may also be spotted on occasion. The property was designated as an ecological reserve by the Fish and Game Commission in 2003, and is administered by the Bureau of Land Management.

For more information, call the Northern Region Redding office at (530) 225-2055, or, the reserve at (707) 445-6493.

Recreational Opportunities

hiking wildlife viewing information kiosk guided or self-guided tours

Activities: Hiking and birdwatching provide opportunities to view a number of species that are dependent upon the special characteristics of old-growth forests.

Guided hikes along the southern Salmon Pass Trail can be scheduled by calling the Bureau of Land Management Arcata Field Office at (707) 825-2300. Reservations can only be made for the current month and following month. Guided hikes are offered annually from  May 15 to November 15. At all other times public access to the southern end is not allowed.

Facilities: None

NOTE: Visitors are responsible for knowing and complying with all regulations pertaining to the use of Department lands.

Refer to the Public Uses on State and Federal Lands section of the Waterfowl, Upland Game, and Public Use Regulations (PDF) booklet for both statewide and property-specific regulations.

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You may not operate a drone on CDFW Lands without a Special Use Permit.

Map of Headwaters Forest ER - click to enlarge in new window
Click to enlarge


Northern Region (Region 1)

Humboldt County

approximately 10 miles southeast of Eureka

Access: To access the north end of the Reserve, take the Elk River Road exit off Highway 101, at the south end of Eureka; turn right onto Elk River Road and drive approximately 6 miles to the Reserve parking area. Entry on the southern end, via Felt Springs Road, is by guided hike only, May 15 through November 15. At all other times, public access to the southern end is not allowed.

CDFW Lands Viewer