What is The Bigfoot Trail? It is not a route to find the region’s iconic hominids. It is, according to the trail’s originator, a route to commune with the mythic qualities of the regions ancient forests. The Klamath Mountain’s forests are so ancient, in fact, that region is one of the most diverse temperate coniferous forests on Earth.
Across its 360 miles, the Bigfoot Trail crosses 4 national forests, 6 designated wilderness areas, one national park, and one state park. If you finish with a toe in the Pacific Ocean, at Crescent City, California, you will even touch the California Coastal National Monument.
“The route is a celebration of regional biodiversity.” says Michael Kauffmann, who cooked up the idea of the Bigfoot Trail in 2008 while talking with HSU professor John O. Sawyer.
“While looking at maps of the Klamath Mountains we discussed ways to connect our regional wilderness areas with a migrational corridor for the diverse plants and animals. We then realized that this could be a long-distance hike for human ‘migration’ that could celebrate the forests. Along the way, the trail passes 32 conifer species” Kauffmann says. “That is tough number to approach almost anywhere else on Earth.”
In 2009, Michael first walked the route and over the past few years has re-hiked various pieces to “finalize” the trek he today calls the Bigfoot Trail. While the route is far from finished, a handful of hearty hikers have hike it. There are also early plans to extend the route further south the Clear Lake area.
Michael’s ultimate goal is to establish a community committed to constructing, promoting, and protecting—in perpetuity—the Bigfoot Trail. He is now in the process of creating The Bigfoot Trail Alliance (BFTA) as a 501(c)(3) non-profit to oversee these functions.
To better establish this route—and ultimately form the Bigfoot Trail Alliance—Kauffmann has launched a Kickstarter campaign. The goals of the campaign are to raise the initial funds to file the paper work with the IRS, secure liability insurance for the board, and begin trail work on under-maintained sections of the route. Visit the trail’s website www.bigfoottrail.org or email email@example.com to share your thoughts.