Redwood Hikes in Bay Area
Hiking amid giant redwoods is quite an experience. There are over 20 redwood parks near bay area. Each one has nice hiking trails. For trails that meander next to creeks, see Creek Hikes
Mt Tamalpais is a large well developed park with innumerable trails criss-crossing each other. There are many different kind of trails. In the west, Steep Ravine Trail meanders next to a creek that flows with water for several months after rains. In the east, trails leading to East Peak climb up quickly and offer majestic views of San Francisco Bay and the Pacific. In the south, trails leading to Muir Woods go through cool, dense redwoods. In the north, trails lead to waterfalls like Cataract Falls and lakes like Lake Lagunitas and Bon Tempe Lake. In a nutshell, Mt Tamalpais is a hiker's paradise.
Redwood hikes in Mt Tamalpais are listed below.
One of the finest bay area hikes that climbs up an evergreen forest next to a creek.
A gorgeous hike along trails meandering along creeks and through redwoods, forests and open spaces. Awesome ocean views as well.
Beautiful, mostly shaded route from Muir Woods to Pantoll Ranger Station and back. Tall redwoods, creek crossings.
A beautiful route through Mt Tamalpais and Muir Woods that is shaded throughout. Many sections are adjacent to creeks, which are full of water after winter rains.
Big Basin is a popular park with tall old growth redwoods. In Big Basin, the hike to Berry Creek Falls is one of the classic hikes in the bay area. After rains, creeks are flowing and the falls are pretty impressive. At 70 ft, Berry Creek is the tallest waterfall in the bay area.
An alternate route to Berry Creek Falls. Goes through McAbee Overlook which offers good views of Santa Cruz mountains and even the Pacific Ocean.
A long route starting at Waddell Beach in Santa Cruz. The route to Berry Creek Falls is all along Skyline to the Sea Trail, which meanders through redwoods. The return trip goes through trails quite different in character. Howard King Trail is a steep climb through a forest. McAbee Overlook provides pretty good views of Santa Cruz mountains and even the Pacific. Finally, McRary Ridge Trail goes along a ridge.
Short hike through redwoods to a vantage point that offers panoramic valley views.
Cascade Ranch is a small redwood park that adjoins Big Basin Redwoods. There is only one trailhead that is reachable by a 2.4 mile semi-paved road. Hikes through Cascade Ranch are through thick shaded forests.
Gorgeous redwood hike to a vista point that offers panoramic valley views.
Forest of Nisene Marks
Forest of Nisene Marks is a gem of a park in Santa Cruz. Cool shaded hikes, creeks flowing with water and a seasonal waterfall make it one of the best parks in Santa Cruz for hiking.
Maple Falls is a beautiful waterfall inside Forest of Nisene Marks, a redwood forest in Santa Cruz. The last half mile to Maple Falls, beyond Bridge Creek Historic Site, is all along a creek. The trail switches from one side of the creek to the other almost a dozen times. After heavy rains, we have to wade in about 6 to 12 inches of water at some of these crossings. A few spots require scrambling, adding to overall fun!
A shaded route amid redwoods.
Henry Cowell - Fall Creek
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is in two sections. The northern section is called Fall Creek Unit. It is less developed and gives a feeling of wilderness. The southern section is much more developed, with picnic areas and many more visitors. Fall Creek Trail goes for 2.5 miles all along Fall Creek. The trail keeps to the edge of the creek at all times. From winter through spring, there is plenty of water in the creek. So any route that includes Fall Creek Trail is pretty awesome.
A gorgeous redwood hike next to Fall Creek Trail for several miles.
The ascent to Big Ben involves two steep sections, which are great for a cardiovascular workout. The descent is mostly along Fall Creek which has plenty of water in winters and spring.
Portola Redwoods is a gem of a park in the bay area. Less visited than other redwood parks, it has fantastic trails through cool redwoods and next to creeks.
A great redwood hike leading to a loop around a creek. Fully shaded throughout. No particularly steep sections.
A beautiful shaded hike through redwood filled trails.
Henry Cowell is a well developed park in Felton, near Santa Cruz. Most trails are shaded by tall trees. An intriguing aspect of Henry Cowell is that trails near the Observation Deck, a high point within the park, are sandy.
A few routes in Henry Cowell Redwoods involve river crossings without bridges. The water level recedes sufficiently by late summer (July — August) that San Lorenzo River may be crossed on foot.
A fantastic hike through cool shaded redwoods that requires four river crossings through knee-deep water. Also goes through Observation Deck, a high point in Henry Cowell. Surprisingly, trails near Observation Deck are sandy!
A variation of the above hike that avoids the two deepest crossings. An alternative to the route described above when water level is high.
A hike that goes through the two shallowest river crossings, starting at Park HQ.
Purisima Creek Redwoods
Purisima Creek Redwoods is a popular park in the bay area for hiking amid redwoods. With three different trailheads and trails on either side of Purisima Creek, there are many loops one may form for fantastic hikes. For optimal experience, visit when the creek has a lot of water, which is from late winters to early spring.
Nice redwood hike with a long section adjoining Purisima Creek.
Nice short hike through redwoods.
Uvas Canyon is a hidden gem in the bay area. It is a gorgeous park in Morgan Hill with cascades of water in two creeks amid thick forest. The best time to visit is February and March, soon after rains. The waterfalls are small sized but quite a spectacle. Trails are shaded throughout and meander next to creeks for several miles.
This route visits all the waterfalls in Uvas Canyon.
A shorter route that does not visit all the waterfalls but always stays adjacent to creeks. This route also goes through the much less visited Uvas Creek.
A gorgeous loop around a Buddhist retreat center. Half the hike is next to a creek, amid redwoods.
Castle Rock is a popular park near Skyline Blvd (Hwy 35) and Big Basin Way (Hwy 9). Most visitors park at Park HQ and hike. There are many other trail heads along Skyline Blvd and along Big Basin Way.
A classic short hike in Castle Rock. A third of the route is over stony terrain providing beautiful views of Santa Cruz Mountains. The rest of the hike is shaded by forest.
Nice shaded hike through redwoods. The last two miles are along a paved road with residences.
Los Trancos Trail in Foothills Park is really gorgeous after rains. It goes over 21 wooden bridges at various locations. These are marked as LT1, LT2, LT3 and so on in the trail map. For about a mile, between LT11 and LT13, the trail meanders next to Los Trancos Creek. This is the most beautiful section of the trail.
An awesome hike with 21 wooden bridges for creek crossings. Best done in winters after rains when creeks are full of water.
Long loop covering all major trails in Foothills Park, going through various micro climates. Los Trancos Trail is the prettiest section of this route.
Soberanes Canyon in Garrapata State Park goes through a redwood forest. Loops involving Soberanes Canyon Trail are pretty awesome, especially when Soberanes Creek is full of water.
Awesome hike through a redwood canyon, chaparral filled ridges and views of jagged Big Sur coastline.
Awesome hike through a redwood canyon, chaparral filled ridges and views of jagged Big Sur coastline.
A pleasant 6-mile route that first climbs up a shaded canyon along a single-track hiking trail, then meanders down a fire road with awesome views of the Big Sur coastline.
A pleasant 9-mile route that first climbs up a shaded canyon along a single-track hiking trail, then meanders down a fire road with awesome views of the Big Sur coastline. In between, the route goes along a connector trail that parallels the Pacific.
Joaquin Miller Park is a surprisingly beautiful park right in the middle of Oakland. Palos Colorados Trail is a gorgeous trail that meanders next to Palo Seco Creek. There are other trails next to creeks in Joaquin Miller. Interesting loops may be formed by combining these trails together. Palos Colorados Trail remains cool and shaded even in summers.
A long hike that covers all major trails in Joaquin Miller Park and Dimond Canyon Park. The best section is along the Palos Colorados Trail which meanders next to a cool redwood canyon.
Phleger Estate is a hidden gem in the bay area with beautiful redwood trails. Raymundo Trail and Miramontes Trail are along West Union Creek for a combined distance of over a mile.
A fully shaded loop through redwoods in Phleger Estate. Almost a mile log section of Raymundo Trail is next to a creek.
A fully shaded loop through redwoods. Richard Road Trail, Miramontes Trail and Raymundo Trail are next to West Union Creek for a combined length of over a mile.
Huddart Park is a well developed park in Woodside, CA with shaded trails through second growth redwoods. Longer hikes may be planned by combining trails in the adjoining Phleger Estate.
A relaxed, gently graded hike shaded by tall trees.
Wunderlich Park in San Mateo County is a quiet park with shaded trails amid second growth redwoods.
A relaxed, gently graded hike that covers all major trails in Wunderlich Park.
A shorter, gently graded route in Wunderlich.
Redwood Regional Park
Redwood Regional Park is in a surprising location: Oakland. Stream Trail is a three mile long trail that goes all along Redwood Creek. Parallel to Stream Trail are three other trails: East Ridge Trail, Fern Trail and West Ridge Trail. The two ridge trails are fire roads high up along ridges, allowing cyclists. Many sections of these trails are in the open, so avoid them in summers. In constrast, Fern Trail goes through a shaded forest full of redwoods. There are several other trails connecting these four trails with each other. So one may form many different loops. For a loop that includes walking along a creek and going through cool redwood forests, combine Stream Trail and Fern Trail with other trails that connects these two trails.
Gorgeous hike through redwoods with over two miles next to Redwood Creek.
Sanborn Skyline is only 3 miles away from the intersection of Hwy 9 and Saratoga Ave in Saratoga. Hikes in Sanborn go through cool shaded redwoods.
A pleasant shaded hike through redwoods.
Memorial Park is a small park in San Mateo that offers a hike to Mount Ellen, a hill along a ridge trail.
A short, sweet hike through a lush green forest. The route can be made longer by about two miles if you start inside the park, next to campsites.
Nice shaded hike through redwoods.
Gorgeous shaded hike through redwoods and sandstone formations.
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