“Step back in time and visit this old ranch in the prairie lands on Redwood National Park.”
— John Maurizi
Views · Wildlife
An easy trail with some an interesting historic location to explore.
This hike is along a dirt road the entire way. It has great views of the prairie land's rolling hills. It's a two-mile hike to an old barn and several bunk houses.
Need to Know
Please leave any artifacts in the buildings.
The Lyons Ranch Trail is actually a dirt road that is gated off from Bald Hills Road. The trailhead parking can only fit about six cars but it is rare for the parking area to be full as few people venture out this way.
The hike to the ranch is about two miles in. It is an easy trail winding across prairie land and a few wooded areas. About a half mile up, the road splits, and there is no trail marker at this point. Hikers will want to continue on the well-used road on the left. The less-worn road to the right climbs a hill and continues.
At the end of the Lyons Ranch Trail, you'll find a well-preserved 19th century barn. Fortunately, the park service keeps this barn unlocked so you are free to enter and explore a little. Everything here is an artifact so please leave it as you find it, and do not take anything. The barn has two levels with several entrances. I was surprised at how well the doors still work, and how easily the main barn door slides open. This is a credit to the workmanship of that time. The Lyons family house, which no longer stands, was also once in this area. The barn was used for sheering sheep and repairs of the farm during everyday life. This is a great slice of history that should not be missed. I had the place all to myself! It was a great experience, and I felt like I had traveled back into the past when this ranch was active.
If you continue hiking past the Lyons Ranch Barn, you'll see two small shacks. These are the ranch bunkhouses and kitchen where the ranch hands would sleep. The buildings are in excellent shape although they do show their age. The park service has left these buildings unlocked for you to explore as well. One shack has bed springs and a table while the other seemed to have once been more of a kitchen.
Flora & Fauna
During my hike, I came across a bear cub on the side of the trail. The cub ran quickly off into the brush. Minutes later I saw the mother on a hill. Fortunately, I left when I did because the cub I scared off was no more than 20 feet from me on one side of the road and the mother was on a hill on the other side of the road about 200 meters away!
History & Background
Behind the Lyons Ranch Barn, you can spot a trail that leads downhill through the tall grass. At the end of this short trail, there is a small family cemetery with a single gravestone. The plot which is enclosed by a wire fence measures about 17 feet by 16 feet. "Julius Lyons 1878-1895" is carved on the gravestone. Julius was the last born of John Lyons, who built the farm. I found out that Julius was the second son of John Lyons who died. I could not find any other information. Looking at the area and where this plot sits, it must have been a great view of the valley below over 100 years ago.