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Bay Area Redwood Hikes

Top redwood hikes of the San Francisco Bay Area
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Difficulty: Unknown
Length: 14.8 miles
Duration: Unknown

Overview :  California's coast redwoods are the planet's tallest living things, and some of the oldest. A drive down the spine of the Santa Cruz... more »

Tips:  Watch out for banana slugs on the trails: don't step on them or pick them up.

What to bring:
Layers -- rain jacket recommended
Water... more »

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Points of Interest

Seeing Muir Woods is one thing: just look up. Enjoying it is another: go on an off-season weekday with light tourist traffic (January-March, for instance) and you'll experience the magical silence of this small grove of ancient redwoods. You can't get that with mobs of tourists milling about.

Recommended hike
Just wander the paved paths and... More

2. Redwood Regional Park

This 1,829-acre park in the hills above Oakland belies the city's tough urban reputation. Redwoods on these hills were once so tall that mariners used them as navigation points. All were cut down early in the Bay Area's development but a healthy new redwood forest is bringing them back.

Recommended hike
Moderate 5.5-mile clockwise loop from... More

This park in the Santa Cruz Mountains southwest of San Jose is Bay Area's No. 1 locale for old-growth redwoods. It bests Muir Woods in every category: bigger trees, smaller crowds, richer forests.

Recommended hikes
The 12-mile loop to Berry Creek Falls via the Sunset and Skyline-to-the-Sea trails is the consensus pick as best Bay Area hike.... More

The main attraction of Henry Cowell is that it's next to Santa Cruz, so tourists checking the famously funky beach town can easily add some redwoods to their day. It might be just enough to get you hooked on redwoods.

Recommended hike
No need to get complicated: just start out at the visitor center and take the easy, .8 mile Redwood Grove... More

5. Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve

Local hikers adore this park along Highway 35 in the Santa Cruz Mountains. You start out high on a ridge, pass wide-open Pacific Ocean vistas on your way down and descend into a lush forest of second-growth redwoods. The vibe: primeval.

Recommended hike
The 2.6-mile Soda Gulch Trail is a sublime single-track through the best of Purisima's... More