South Kelsey NRT Trail

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The South Kelsey Historical Trail begins on the upper South Fork of the Smith River in Six Rivers National Forest about eight miles southeast of the Rock Creek trailhead for the Little Bald Hills Trail. The South Kelsey Historical Trail ends at the Elbow Creek trailhead a few miles west of the Klamath River. Hikers can follow forest roads to State Highway 96 and cross the Klamath River on the Thornton Memorial Bridge near Independence Creek. A few miles of forest roads bring a hiker to the Kelsey National Recreation Trail, which crosses the Pacific Crest Trail at Bear Lake in the Marble Mountain Wilderness.

This historic route follows the South Fork of the Smith River for 8 miles and then steeply climbs another 5 miles to Baldy Peak. Water is scarce after leaving the South Fork. From Baldy Peak, the trail grade is moderate for 3 miles to Harrington Lake. The trail beyond Harrington Creek has not been maintained for several years. The trail may be difficult to follow and there are numerous downed trees. Crossing Eightmile and Harrrington Creek may only be passable during the dry season when water levels have dropped considerably.  Please contact the Smith River National Recreation Area for current water conditions.




Fire Information California Campfire Permit Required
Difficulty Level: More Difficult

Horse Riding & Camping

Horse Riding

Difficulty Level: More Difficult


  • Trail Measurement: 17 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 41°39'15.2"N
  • Compass Longitude: 123°51'50.0"W
  • Numeric Latitude: 41.654216
  • Numeric Longitude: -123.863886
  • Elevation in Meters:
  • Elevation in Feet:

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References and More Info

  • Trail Location
  • Trail Measurement
    17 Miles
  • Compass Latitude
  • Compass Longitude
  • Numeric Latitude
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