Access Northern California - Gateway to Accessible Tourism and Recreation Information

Trees of Mystery

Driving along scenic Highway 101, it's a little startling to come upon the Trees of Mystery, a commercial roadside attraction with a 49-foot-tall statue of Paul Bunyan and his 35-foot high companion, Babe the Blue Ox, towering over its entrance. The 120-acre private park offers the Sky Trail, an accessible gondola ride through a redwood forest canopy; the...
Driving along scenic Highway 101, it's a little startling to come upon the Trees of Mystery, a commercial roadside attraction with a 49-foot-tall statue of Paul Bunyan and his 35-foot high companion, Babe the Blue Ox, towering over its entrance. The 120-acre private park offers the Sky Trail, an accessible gondola ride through a redwood forest canopy; the Kingdom of Trees Trail; and the End of the Trail Native American Museum. I highly recommend visiting at least the free museum; a fee is charged for the other attractions. Although it's not publicized, admission is free for wheelchair and scooter riders.

The nine-minute gondola ride to Ted's Ridge, some 745 feet high, is not recommended for those afraid of heights. At the summit is a large observation deck with gorgeous views of the Klamath backcountry to the east and of the ocean to the west. A wheelchair-accessible shuttle is available as an alternative to the challenging nearly one-mile hike along the Kingdom of Trees Trail to the gondola embarkation station.

Trail/Pathway Details

Kingdom of Trees Trail

Trailhead: Next to the gift shop

Length: 1-2 total miles

Typical Width: 4 ft. & above

Typical Grade: Mostly level or gentle

Mostly level or gentle with some steep sections

Terrain: Moderately Firm

In some downhill sections the terrain is loose and it's hard to get traction in a motorized wheelchair.

Obstacles: The approach to the trail is extremely steep and will likely require assistance.

Description

Although staff here describes this trail as accessible with assistance, I found it extremely challenging in a motorized chair. The continuous cross-slope and unstable surface made my chair slide close to the trail's edge—where at times the drop-off was several feet and there was no barrier except for my companion. Someone with good upper body strength in a manual chair might find it less challenging, but I couldn't enjoy the hike because I was too concerned about navigating the trail.

Wander with awe on this arduous trail, where unusual coastal redwoods, Sitka spruce, and Douglas fir are highlighted with informational displays and audio descriptions (none were working on my visit). Some of the trees you'll see and learn about include Elephant Tree, Cathedral Tree (nine trees that grew out of the stump of a fallen tree and formed a circle), and Brotherhood Tree. The approach to the trail is extremely steep, but if you can manage it, you should be able to manage the other, less steep inclines. Much of the trail climbs gently uphill to its end at the gondola embarkation station, but there are level places to rest and enjoy the forest. Trilliums and tree limbs draped with moss were plentiful on my visit in late April.

Accessibility Details

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.

Walking through the large gift shop to reach the End of the Trail Museum heightened my appreciation of the museum's Indian artifacts. In contrast to the mostly mass-produced gifts, the handcrafted artifacts demonstrate the skill, time, and resources it took to make them. Marylee Thompson, owner of the museum, collected the clothing, pottery, weapons, baskets, jewelry, instruments, and other items on exhibit here over 40 years; many were gifts.

The small but packed museum is divided into six rooms. The entry room showcases ceremonial caps worn by women, and cradle boards, which were sometimes placed in trees to keep babies safe as they watched their mothers at work. The other five rooms are organized by geographic area rather than tribal affiliation; among those represented are tribes from the Pacific Northwest, California, the Great Basin, the Plains, and the Southwest. You will learn much about the lives of Native Americans from the exhibits' informative labels and placards. Large lot at entranceUnknown column 'status' in 'where clause'