Explore coast redwoods or giant sequoia anywhere in California and Oregon with the Save the Redwoods League’s new mobile-friendly web tool for a comprehensive list of parks, planning tips, and new ideas: ExploreRedwoods.org
Produced by Bay Nature for the Save the Redwoods League. Read about the discovery of the McApin Tree, the tallest tree south of Mendocino, and the future of redwood conservation in the July-September issue of Bay Nature magazine.
Old-growth Redwoods Without the Crowds:
Roy’s Redwoods Open Space Preserve
Marin County Parks
A sanctuary just steps from the road, Roy’s Redwoods Preserve is a study in Northern California habitats including an old-growth coast redwood grove, framed by an active creek that passes through madrone, manzanita, and bay and Douglas fir forests, and grassy hillsides replete with coyote brush. Here you can stand in the shadow of some of the largest redwoods in Marin with free parking and infrequent crowds. The 293-acre preserve includes overlooks of San Geronimo Valley and offers a mix of shaded paths and sweeping views, an ideal day-hike or picnic spot for families with small children.
From the main trailhead off Nicasio Valley Road, follow the Meadow Trail straight ahead and watch for sapsuckers whose tiny drill holes dot the bay trees along the path. Continue walking and you’ll reach a “fairy ring” of 500-year-old redwoods, the interconnected trunks of which have become a favorite spot for small groups to gather or the lone hiker to sprawl out and admire the forest canopy 200 feet above.
Quiet, Cool Redwoods and Creeks:
Portola Redwoods State Park
California State Parks
A quiet, well-shaded state park that is home to two creeks, two waterfalls, and a rich, expansive redwood forest. Hiking trails range from the 0.75-mile Sequoia Nature Trail, where numbered signposts explain the redwood forest ecology, to a strenuous 12-mile loop to Peters Creek—a forest owned by Save the Redwoods League that protects two of the region’s very oldest redwood trees. Beneath the redwoods grow dense huckleberry bushes, fern groves, and tall tanoak. This forest’s bird population includes Oregon juncos, acorn woodpeckers, and chestnut-backed chickadees. If you listen carefully, you might hear the keer-keer call of the elusive marbled murrelet.
Resilience in an Urban Setting:
Joaquin Miller Park
City parks, bus routes, and easy access. If these words don’t call to mind hundred-year-old redwood trees, dense forests and rare wildflowers, then you’ve never visited Oakland’s Joaquin Miller Park. This city-run park is a study in resilience and a testament to the staying power of the endangered coast redwood.
To visit this thriving coast redwood grove just a mile from the freeway, begin at the ranger station, where a small museum offers a native bug display and details about the park’s flora, fauna, and geography. Wander through the serpentine meadow, where purple needlegrass and the California golden poppy thrive in their home soil, and catch a glimpse of your first redwood before continuing to the Palos Colorados Trail and then the Big Trees Trail, which deposits you in an ivy-covered grove of second- and third-growth coast redwoods. As you hike, look out for kiosks, a collaboration between Save the Redwoods League and the City of Oakland, which give information on the secrets contained in tree rings, the history of the League, and the importance of protecting these native giants.
Like this article?
There’s lots more where this came from…
Subscribe to Bay Nature magazine
Most recent in Trails
A new tool for finding parks.