The Prairie Creek Redwood State and National Parks are a World Heritage Site, and a true natural wonder from a more ancient, primordial world. A piece of literal Jurassic history, these majestic trees were the natural habitat of dinosaurs that evolved during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods of the Mesozoic: a time when our favorite giant reptiles ruled the Earth. That’s what made them a natural filming location choice for Steven Spielberg when he went looking for somewhere to film his sequel to the 1993 smash-hit “Jurassic Park.” With easier access than the tropical beauty of Kauai, the Prairie Creek Redwoods were the perfect backdrop for Spielberg and his director of photography, Janusz Kaminski.
Although Spielberg returned to Kauai to shoot several scenes for “The Lost World: Jurassic Park“, including the infamous opening Compsognathus attack on young Cathy Bowman filmed on the beach of Kipu Kai Ranch (the ending shot for the film was filmed in a large field on the other side of a treeline from the beach), California would be the main spot for on-location shoots for the 1997 sequel. Producer Gerald Molen helped conduct location scouts in the Prairie Creek Redwoods, assisted by Park Rangers Bob and Ken Anderson. In the late-summer and autumn of 1996, Spielberg arrived to Northern California, and bussing between a hotel in Eureka, California and the location shoots everyday, created the lost world.
As a super-fan of The Lost World, and as a huge fan of the Redwoods and anything coniferous and ferny, I had made it my my mission to see every location Spielberg had filmed at while in the Redwoods himself. After graduating college in 2019, I made it a graduation gift to myself to head out west, camp in the Redwoods, and hunt down each and every location. And I found them. In 1996, California had experienced a particularly low snowfall during the winter, leaving much of the ground to be especially badly scorched by the summer sun. I had chosen to take my trip in the last week of May, before the sun could get its heat rays on the Redwoods. Because of that, many of the following photos that you will see in this fan showcase will show off locations much greener than you may remember. Adding to this greenery is a generous snowfall in the 2018-2019 winter season in California that has effectively ended a terrible drought in California that has lasted the better part of the last decade. Thankfully, almost all of the locations have not changed much since 1996, and are instantly recognizable.
In this showcase, I will be showing off the Redwood National and State Park filming locations from “The Lost World: Jurassic Park”, and because I get the “where’s this at?” question so often, I will be providing explicit explanations on where each of these locations can be found, and how to get there.
GAME TRAIL: Field Brook Location
The first locations I hunted down was for the eponymous “game trail“. The game trail scene was actually filmed at two different locations. Portions of it were filmed at the popular Ceremonial Rock field at Patrick’s Point State Park near Trinidad (more on this later), but a significant amount of it was filmed on a private ranch in Fieldbrook, California. Due to the owners preferring their privacy, this ranch is not accessible to the public, which means that it is not typically sought out by fans wanting to see the location.
Fortunately for me, a good amount of the ranch where Spielberg filmed the scene is visible from a road that the ranch runs by. This road is Fieldbrook Drive. To get here from Eureka, you will travel on state route 299 toward McKinleyville until you reach to the Glendale Road exit. From Glendale Rd, you will be able to reach Fieldbrook Dr. The field where the game trail can be found is on the left side of the road, marked by a metal gate and barbed wire fencing.
NOTE: JURASSIC-PEDIA DOES NOT ENDORSE NOR ADVISE SIGHTSEERS TO TRESPASS ON PRIVATE PROPERTY WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE AND CONSENT OF THE PROPERTY OWNER.
Now for the fun part, the pictures! And I took a lot…
A couple screencaps as a refresher…
GAME TRAIL: Patrick’s Point Location
A considerable bit away from Fieldbrook, California (seriously, who even thought to bring the scouters out to Fieldbrook?) the rest of the game trail was filmed. It’s amazing how editor Michael Kahn stitched together two locations miles from each other into one seamless scene. A classic example of an editing technique first used in “Battleship Potemkin” where the editing creates a perspective that the area being seen is much larger than it actually is. By stitching together various clips of the InGen vehicles driving back and forth across the two locations, we are given the illusion that this area is one large, long game trail, and not just two smaller fields.
Patrick’s Point State Park is actually a location I visited when I went to the Redwoods in 2014. It’s an easy place to get to. Just north of Trinidad, California (shoutout to the Trinidad Eatery – AWESOME chowder there), directly off HWY 101 all you have to do to get there is take HWY 101 north from Eureka for about 30 minutes and follow the signs for Patrick’s Point State Park. Really easy place to get to. Unless you’re camping, it’s an $8 fee to enter the Park, but that’s it. The Visitor Center also has a plaque in it that says that The Lost World filmed there. Photo op! But seriously, there’s much better sights to see here. Patrick’s Point is actually a two-fer! I’ll get to that in our next section, but for now, once you’re in the park, just follow the road to the main parking lot overlooking the big blue Pacific Ocean (which maaaaay look familiar – again more on that coming up soon), park it grab a lot of water, and get hiking.
When you first enter the park, you might have noticed a familiar outcrop wedged between the trees at the edge of a field. THIS is the location. Stroll around the field, take as many pictures as you like. You can actually CLIMB onto the rock just like Vince Vaughn did.There’s a set of very steep stairs at the back of this rock, called “Ceremonial Rock”, that gets you to the top. I do NOT envy whoever had to carry all the equipment up these stairs. They are very steep. Think “the stairs into Mordor” from Lord of the Rings. From atop this rock, you get a full panoramic view of the field in front of you that InGen’s modified Jeeps rolled across in the pan across the field we got in the movie.
NOTE: Patrick’s Point State Park was renamed to Sue-Meg State Park in 2021.
Enjoy the pics!
BLOODY FERNS: Patrick’s Point State Park
When walking back down the stairs from Ceremonial Rock, you may notice an addition filming location in this spot. At the base of Ceremonial Rock, where the trail leads off around the rock, you’ll notice the trail gets rocky, and a large outcropping of rock mixed with ferns. This is the area where Sarah Harding brushed a particularly large fern, leaving a splash of blood behind, which Roland takes notice of. This could be an easily forgotten location if you’re not looking for it. In particular, the fern patch that is shown here was actually one of the filler ferns that Spielberg and crew brought in to either fill out locations, or hide park structures such as benches or handrails that couldn’t be removed.
HAMMOND’S TEAM BASECAMP: Patrick’s Point State Park
If you got into the right parking lot, the big one facing the Pacific Ocean, you may have noticed something eerily familiar about this place. Yep, you are standing on a movie set! With the help of a bunch of fake foliage and set dressing, and some clever camera work, this became the Malcolm-led team basecamp where they parked the RV. Sorry, no “cliff” here, just a really steep hill leading down to some rocks. The cliff was actually a pair of sets shot back in Hollywood. No, this just gives you the illusion of a cliff edge, by just never getting the camera close enough to the edge of the parking lot to actually let you see that there’s not a cliff here. A great example of Spielberg’s great way of tricking the audience. A lot of Spielberg’s technique is perspective: you see what he wants you to see, and you don’t see what he doesn’t want you to see. The cliff in the distance is not a small rock by any means, it’s in fact a large outcropping in its own right with a trail leading across it.
Anyway, enjoy the pics!
STEGO CREEK: Prairie Creek Redwoods
This one was the hardest to track down. I didn’t have a ton of information to go on it in the first place, other than that it was behind some old campsite. I had been camping at the Elk Prairie Campground for this trip, and I had pinned Elk Prairie, along the scenic byway that serves as a scenic alternative to HWY 101 through the Redwoods, as the likeliest spot for this location. Unfortunately, this location has changed the most out of any of them. Foliage has grown thicker, trails have been put into disuse, and the creek itself has risen and fallen, taking with it many of the markers that made this location iconic.
Fortunately, I was able to find two very key areas of this location: the log where we see the Stegosaurus herd cross the creek bed, and the flat bank where we saw the Stegosaurus attack Sarah Harding. Unfortunately, you can only make out the log from the bank of the creek. The foliage is now too thick and the water too deep to properly see the log from the view our protagonists did. Getting here is pretty difficult, too. Entering from the campsite side, you follow the creek by a trail that will lead you to another filming location I’ll discuss next. You basically have to pick through the foliage and look for signs of the old creekside trail that was once there. I fell in the creek the first time I tried looking, and had to go back to camp to change.
The other location was, again, where Julianne Moore gets chased by CGI Stegosaurus before hiding in a fake log to escape them. This location is thankfully more recognizable, and near an opening in the foliage at the bank that lets you get a decent look at this spot.
REST STOP: Prairie Creek Redwoods
The other nearby location is where the survivors take a short break from their weary trek to the Worker Village, and where a certain Swedish hunter decides to take an ill advised bathroom break. About a 10 minute walk from behind the Prairie Creek Visitor Center on the scenic byway. This one is instantly recognizable, even without the fog wafting through the trees. Also located here is the area where Dieter Stark starts wandering around the woods looking for his way back to the group.
DIETER’S DEATH: Fern Canyon
And that makes a perfect lead up to our next location! This one is pretty well visited and documented by fans, but what trip to the The Lost World Redwoods would be complete without visiting the famous spot where Dieter Stark found himself eaten alive? Fern Canyon is pretty easy to get to, but drive carefully. You drive north from Eureka to Davison Road. Don’t worry, there’s a sign. The road is kinda rough, but smooths out to the Gold Bluffs area. Keep driving, though, but watch out for the Roosevelt Elk that like to frequent the area. Depending on the rain levels, you might have to cross a couple of streams to get to the parking lot. From the parking lot, it’s a short walk to the canyon mouth. Bring good waterproof boots because this canyon has a lot of water.
This one is actually another two-fer. Not only was this where Dieter found himself on the menu, but it’s where Roland Tembo and Nick Van Owen exchange some philosophies while trekking through the rain to the Village. It’s actually one of only two places in this movie that gets an on-location Redwoods night shoot. The other being the location where the High Hide was filmed at. Every other night scene besides these were done on a set or in Burbank, California which served at the setting for the San Diego Incident. Being a popular location, there’s often a lot of visitors, but as luck would have it, going in late May meant I beat the summer crowds, and got some great pics!
Like I said, this is another two-fer. We also have the night portion of the trek!
THE WALK BACK TO CAMP: Big Tree, Prairie Creek Redwoods
This next one is another easy one to get to, but for some reason fans just never seem to visit it. Big Tree is a beautiful trailhead area. It starts with one gigantic and monolithic Redwood and offers trailheads to trails that stretch all over the Prairie Creek Redwoods. It’s easy to get lost in this area, so heed the instructions. The area is accessed by the scenic byway off HWY 101, however the sign for it faces north so if you’re entering from Eureka, from the south, it’s easy to miss. It’s the parking area right after Cal Barrel Road. When you get to Big Tree, this tree marks the trailhead of a series of trail, one being the Circle Trail. The Circle Trail itself isn’t very long, but the trails are not well marked and it’s easy to get turned around (boy, does that sound familiar). The trailhead to the Circle Trail marks this location. If you know what you’re looking for, you’ll recognize it easily. The location has changed little since 1997.
As an added bonus, a behind the scenes location from Big Tree…
HIGH HIDE: Lost Man Creek (?)
This one I actually questioned including as I’m not 100 percent sure of its authenticity as THE location of the High Hide, but it looks pretty close and this showcase is long enough already. Previously, the location had been listed as Cal Barrel Rd. I went on Cal Barrel, and there is no way in any fresh Hell that was the location. It was beautiful, yes, but also the most treacherous road I’ve ever driven on. So chalk this one up as an approximate location. Lost Man Creek is actually right on HWY 101, right after the Lady Bird Johnson Grove that’s on Bald Hill Road, a logging road. It’ll be a road on the right side. I’m going to chalk Lost Man Creek as a possible location. Here’s some photographic comparisons…
So that’s everything! I hope you enjoyed this trip almost as much as I enjoyed experiencing it! I wanted this to be a guide for any fan who wants to make the pilgrimage themselves. The Redwoods are spectacular to see in person, and no photo expresses their monumental size quite like seeing them in person. Honestly, getting to the Redwoods is a lot easier than getting to Kauai or Oahu, and even easier getting to many of the locations that those on Kauai and Oahu. It’s definitely a fun week of hiking and photography for any Jurassic fan.