Since I live here in the Bay Area, I've included some of my favorite local non-redwood hikes in this section. These are shown with small tags on the map above.
|Key to table colors|
|Old-growth redwood hikes|
|Overall Rating||Distance, miles||Climbing, feet||Trail name|
|* *||Point Reyes National Seashore|
|*||7.3||800||Muddy Hollow Loop|
|* *||Samuel P. Taylor State Park|
|*||2.7||190||Pioneer Tree Trail|
|* *||10.6||1200||Bolinas Ridge|
|* *||5.8||1340||Barnabe Peak|
|*||Roy's Redwoods Open Space Preserve|
|*||3.0||400||Roy's Redwoods Loop Trail|
|*||Loma Alta Open Space Preserve|
|* *||9.8||2030||680 Trail|
|* *||Muir Woods National Monument and Mount Tamalpais State Park|
|* * *||8.5||2080||Willow Camp and Steep Ravine|
|* * *||4.7||930||Sun Trail|
|* * *||3.9||890||Dipsea and Steep Ravine|
|* *||5.2||1100||Ben Johnson Trail|
|* *||2.0||120||Bohemian Grove Trail|
|* *||1.4||410||Colier Spring|
|* * *||0.6||30||Dad O'Roarke's Bench|
|*||Golden Gate National Recreation Area|
|* *||9.3||1824||Tennessee Valley and Muir Beach|
|* * *||Angel Island State Park|
|* * *||4.8||780||Mount Livermore|
|* *||Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve|
|* * *||9.1||1600||Purisima Creek and Whittemore Gulch|
|*||Huddart County Park|
|*||10.5||1860||Huddart – Phleger Loop|
|*||California Water Service Company land|
|*||El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve|
|*||9.9||2500||Lower Park Loop|
|* *||Foothills Park and Pearson – Arastradero Preserve|
|* * *||10.4||1940||Trappers Fire Road|
|* *||Windy Hill Open Space Preserve|
|* *||9.9||1650||Razorback and Spring Ridge Loop|
|*||Coal Mine Ridge|
|*||4.0||670||Toyon and Old Spanish Trails|
|*||4.0||900||Ewing Hill Loop|
|*||Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve|
|* * *||9.7||2420||The Black Mountain Trail|
|*||8.8||1600||The Stephen E. Abbors (PG&E) Trail|
|*||Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve|
|*||5.2||860||Borel Hill and Ancient Oaks|
|*||Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve|
|*||3.7||690||Alpine Pond and Horseshoe Lake|
|*||Long Ridge Open Space Preserve|
|*||2.9||410||Peters Creek and Long Ridge Loop|
|*||Fremont Older Open Space Preserve|
|* *||1.6||370||Hunters Point|
|* *||Portola Redwoods State Park and Pescadero Creek County Park|
|* *||0.5||80||Heritage Grove|
|* *||11.5||1820||Peters Creek Loop|
|* *||5.8||1100||Coyote Ridge and Shingle Mill|
|* *||4.6||880||Mount Ellen Loop|
|*||10.6||1270||Tarwater - Pomponio - Brook - Canyon|
|*||6.0||990||Heritage Grove Trail|
|*||Sanborn County Park|
|*||5.9||1570||The Todd Creek Redwoods|
|*||7.8||1530||The John Nicholas Trail|
|*||Castle Rock State Park|
|*||4.8||1010||Saratoga Gap and Ridge Trail Loop|
|* *||Almaden Quicksilver County Park|
|*||11.0||1730||The New Almaden and Mine Hill Trails|
|*||Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve|
|*||7.7||1130||Mount Umunhum||* *||Calero County Park|
|* *||9.8||2010||The Bald Hills Loop|
|*||Santa Teresa County Park|
|* *||9.5||1430||Calero Creek and Coyote Peak|
|* * *||Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve|
|* * *||3.8||650||Arrowhead Loop Trail|
|*||Butano State Park|
|* *||11.7||1700||Canyon Rim Route|
|* * *||Big Basin Redwoods State Park|
|* * *||10.0||2150||Berry Creek loop|
|* * *||0.6||10||Redwood Nature Trail|
|* * *||2.9||560||Sunset-Skyline Short Loop|
|* *||25.0||1710||Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail|
|* *||5.4||680||Slippery Rock|
|* *||8.0||1060||Hollow Tree and Meteor trails|
|*||3.0||360||Blooms Creek loop|
|*||3.4||130||Creeping Forest loop|
|* * *||9.4||2450||Westridge Trail|
|* *||12.0||1860||Basin Trail|
|* *||4.8||1200||Buzzard's Roost|
|*||Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park|
|* *||0.8||20||Redwood Grove Loop Trail|
|* * *||6.6||1360||Four Crossings|
|*||7.0||1480||Truck Trail and Fall Creek|
|*||8.2||1760||Big Ben and Fall Creek|
|*||The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park and Soquel Demonstration State Forest|
|*||1.4||350||Old Growth Loop|
|*||11.9||1370||Five Finger Falls|
|*||9.5||1270||Soquel Demonstration State Forest|
|*||Crockett Hills Regional Park|
|*||5.8||1230||Kestrel Loop Trail|
|* *||Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline|
|* *||4.8||1040||Hulet Hornbeck and Franklin Ridge|
|* * *||Point Pinole Regional Shoreline|
|* * *||3.4||140||Bay View and Owl Alley Trails|
|* * *||John Muir National Historic Site|
|* * *||2.4||580||Mount Wanda|
|*||5.4||760||Windmill and Whipsnake Trails|
|*||7.7||1460||Feeder Trail #1|
|*||Kennedy Grove Regional Recreation Area|
|*||3.4||870||Upper Seafoam and Black Oak Trails|
|* *||Tilden and Wildcat Canyon Regional Parks|
|* * *||3.6||850||Seaview Trail|
|* *||3.9||750||Wildcat Peak|
|* *||5.8||1100||San Pablo Ridge|
|* *||Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve|
|* *||1.6||700||Stonewall Panoramic Trail|
|* *||East Bay Municipal Utility District|
|* *||13.3||1430||Briones Reservoir|
|* *||11.1||1500||Tilden Regional Park and San Pablo Reservoir|
|* *||10.7||3210||Ramage Peak Trail (one way)|
|*||12.0||2530||Rocky Ridge Loop Trail|
|*||6.7||1110||King's Canyon Loop Trail|
|* *||Briones Regional Park|
|* *||10.5||2600||Spengler Trail and Briones Crest|
|* *||5.7||760||Sindicich Lagoons|
|*||6.6||1670||Lafayette Ridge Trail|
|* *||Lafayette Reservoir|
|* *||7.4||1500||Rim and Lafayette Loop Trails|
|* *||Redwood Regional Park|
|*||6.0||1130||French Trail Loop|
|*||Joaquin Miller Park|
|*||4.4||960||Palos Colorados and Big Trees|
|*||Leona Canyon Regional Open Space Preserve|
|*||2.8||450||Leona Canyon Trail|
|* *||Anthony Chabot and Lake Chabot Regional Parks|
|* * *||9.7||780||Lake Chabot|
|* *||11.1||1300||Lake Chabot Bicycle Loop|
|*||Cull Canyon Regional Recreation Area|
|*||8.8||1740||Chabot-to-Garin Regional Trail|
|* *||Five Canyons Open Space|
|*||10.7||1910||Chabot-to-Garin Regional Trail|
|*||6.6||1120||Wally Wickander, East Ave, Ward Creek Road|
|*||Garin and Dry Creek Pioneer Regional Parks|
|* *||5.8||1020||High Ridge Loop Trail|
|* *||5.0||930||Tolman Peak Trail|
|*||4.6||760||Vista Peak Trail|
|* * *||Las Trampas Regional Wilderness|
|* * *||7.8||2000||Eagle Peak|
|* * *||9.9||2460||Las Trampas Ridge|
|* *||4.8||1120||Rocky Ridge|
|* * *||Bishop Ranch Regional Open Space Preserve|
|* * *||2.2||580||The Redtail Hawk Loop|
|* *||Dublin Hills Regional Park|
|* *||6.7||1240||Martin Canyon and Calaveras Ridge|
|* * *||Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park|
|* * *||9.7||1770||Turtle Pond|
|*||7.8||1680||Ridgeline and Thermalito Trails|
|* * *||Mission Peak Regional Preserve|
|* * *||7.5||2580||Horse Heaven|
|* *||6.1||2115||Mission Peak and Hidden Valley|
|*||Ed R. Levin County Park|
|* *||Sunol Regional Wilderness|
|* *||9.6||2260||Flag Hill and Cerro Este|
|* *||Ohlone Regional Wilderness|
|* *||12.2||4170||Murietta Falls|
|* *||Mount Diablo State Park|
|* * *||14.1||3800||Mount Diablo|
|* *||7.9||1060||The Tassajara Creek Trail|
|*||7.9||1650||Wall Point and Green Valley|
|* *||Diablo Foothills Regional Park|
|* * *||6.0||1110||The Stage Road Loop|
|* *||Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve|
|*||7.3||1560||The Star Mine Trail|
|*||5.4||980||The Ridge Trail|
|* *||Round Valley Regional Preserve|
|* *||4.6||970||The Hardy Canyon Trail|
|*||Los Vaqueros Watershed|
|* * *||5.4||1150||Eagle Ridge and Vista Grande|
|*||4.2||940||The Valley View Trail|
|* *||Morgan Territory Regional Preserve|
|*||5.9||300||The Volvon and Blue Oak Trails|
|* *||Brushy Peak Regional Preserve|
|* *||5.0||1030||The Brushy Peak Loop Trail|
Although it's not publicized, this park actually has a tiny old-growth grove. Of more interest are the trails that climb through dense second-growth redwood forests to grassy ridgetops, where there are some great views of the rolling hills of western Marin County.
Because it's right across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, Muir Woods is by far the most-visited redwood park. The park is in a narrow stream valley and is less impressive than the other major redwood parks. It's surrounded by the very attractive coastal scenery of Mount Tamalpais State Park.
These adjacent parks have a few small patches of old growth. Portola Redwoods was selectively logged in the 19th century and, except for the Peters Creek loop, its redwoods lack the stateliness of true old growth. Pescadero Creek has some surprisingly nice second growth, plus the tiny but attractive old-growth Heritage Grove.
This little-visited park has the feel of a remote wilderness. Its redwoods are mostly second-growth, but there are also a few well-hidden acres of old-growth uplands.
A popular getaway with a mountain resort atmosphere, just an hours' drive from the San Francisco Bay Area. Big Basin has the best redwoods south of Hendy Woods and is the best remaining example of a southern redwood forest. However, compared with the northern forests, the trees here are generally smaller and the landscape is not as lush. Overall, the park is minimally affected by development and is exceptionally enjoyable.
This popular park is centered around a small old-growth grove on an alluvial floodplain. The redwoods are partially hidden behind a dense layer of tanoak. South of the old growth is the main body of the park, which is mostly second growth redwood forest.
Although it doesn't have any old-growth redwoods, Purisima Creek is still one of the prettiest parks on the peninsula, mostly because of its sweeping views of redwood-filled canyons, the ocean, and tree-capped coastal hills.
Densely carpeted with second-growth redwoods, Huddart County Park offers a network of cool, shady trails that stretch from just outside the town of Woodside up to Skyline Ridge.
Not in any park, this long section of the Skyline Trail crosses through California Water Service Company land and features a small, little-known, upland old-growth redwood grove.
This lush, heavily-wooded park just west of Skyline Ridge is mainly used by mountain bikers. For hiking it can be a little dull, but it does have a remote feel and some nice woodland.
Once open only to residents of Palo Alto, non-residents can now enter Foothills Park by hiking two miles through through the rolling grassy hills of Arastradero Preserve.
The most enjoyable of the many parks that line Skyline Ridge, Windy Hill includes both lush deciduous forest and open grasslands.
Part of the Portola Valley trail system, this small trail network adjacent to Windy Hill has some very attractive woodland.
Hidden Villa is an outdoor education center in a surprisingly scenic little valley. There's a popular farm that's open to the public as well as a network of well-maintained trails.
This extremely popular park near Cupertino and Los Altos includes a challenging hill climb up Skyline Ridge. The park is wooded with the area's typical laurel and oak woodland.
Featuring a long, open ridge with sweeping views, Russian Ridge has the best hiking of the ridgetop parks, in part because there's no sound of gunfire, but also because it feels less developed.
This preserve, the most scenic of the parks atop Skyline Ridge, has two small ponds, a tiny nature center, and a nice view over the Santa Cruz Mountains. Traffic noise and the continuous sound of gunfire detract from the otherwise fine setting.
Long Ridge has some great views and enjoyable wooded trails, but the park should only be visited in the late afternoon when there's less traffic noise and the sounds of gunfire from the nearby shooting range have stopped.
This small preserve in the low grassy hills outside Saratoga offers a short and pleasant stroll to a fine viewpoint over Silicon Valley. Longer walks are possible but involve walking through a lot of horse manure.
Resembling Huddart County Park except that it's in the South Bay, Sanborn is a fully developed park with campgrounds and picnic areas. Reaching from the suburbs up to Skyline Ridge, the park is on a hillside that's densely carpeted with second-growth redwoods. A few small old-growth redwoods remain.
Located atop one of the highest ridges in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Castle Rock offers sweeping views over the mountains as well as rock climbing on its tufa formations.
This very popular park is located in the hills above the suburban Almaden Valley. It has a very nice mixture of woodland and open hillsides with views over the Santa Clara and Almaden valleys.
The very scenic Calero County Park is more remote and much less-visited than neighboring Almaden County Park. With its oak-dotted golden brown hillsides, it looks more like the east bay than the peninsula.
Located at the south end of suburban Silicon Valley, Santa Teresa sits on a mostly treeless hill between the Almaden and Coyote valleys. The recommended hike is surprisingly rural and has some great views, somewhat marred by electrical lines.
This small but scenic park just outside of Morgan Hill mostly consists of open, oak-dotted foothills with nice views of the rural Coyote Valley. The only hiking route is a well-built singletrack trail that climbs into the hills, making a 4-mile loop through the park.
Located in the Santa Cruz area, Nisene Marks and Soquel Demonstration State Forest are carpeted with dense second-growth forest and offer miles of cool, shady, and quiet trails.
The southern end of Crockett Hills has some decent hiking, but unfortunately the only entrance is two miles away, in the less-enjoyable northern end of the park.
Carquinez Regional Shoreline features a rolling grassy ridgetop with superb views over the vast, industrialized inland waterway.
Fernandez Ranch is the largest Bay Area park that's owned and operated by a land trust and is open to the public. The park is something of a showpiece for the John Muir Land Trust and has been developed to exceptionally high standards.
This lovely waterside park with its eucalyptus-shaded allées, rolling grasslands, and pretty bay views is the most enjoyable of all the parks that dot the shores of San Francisco Bay.
This tiny park on a hill near the John Muir house has some very nice blue oak woodland.
Part of a long-distance trail system envisioned in the 1940s but never completed, Feeder Trail #1 uses an old right-of-way to cut through the Contra Costa countryside.
Kennedy Grove is a small park at the base of San Pablo Dam that features the prettiest of all East Bay park picnic areas, a large, attractive lawn surrounded by towering eucalyptus.
Briones Regional Park is a huge park with mile after mile of ranch roads undulating over rolling hills and oak-dotted grasslands.
Briones Reservoir features a scenic 13-mile loop hike with more of a sense of remoteness than the typical East Bay park.
Located just outside Berkeley, the attractive and highly-developed Tilden Regional Park is one of the East Bay's most scenic and popular parks.
This small Berkeley park has one trail, a short, steep climb to a magnificent view of the Bay Area.
The very popular Lafayette Reservoir Recreation Area is big and scenic enough to make you feel like you're getting out to nature, but small enough that it still feels friendly and approachable.
The little-used and often remote trails of EBMUD's watershed lands make some of the best all-day hikes in the East Bay.
Unusually for the East Bay, Oakland's Redwood Regional Park has several miles of redwood trails. Although the heavily-logged redwoods are tiny, there's still some pretty nice hiking.
Like the neighboring Redwood Regional Park, the smaller Joaquin Miller Park also has some dense groves of second-growth redwoods.
Leona Canyon is a small park just south of Merritt College in Oakland. The deep canyon is heavily wooded with oaks and is remarkably well-isolated from the surrounding suburbs, making a pleasant short walk.
Lake Chabot is best known for its popular marina area and paved hiking trail along the lakeshore, but parts of the park are surprisingly remote and woodsy. A hike around the lake includes a little of each.
Cull Canyon is best known for its swim lagoon (a shallow man-made lake), but it also has a section of the long-distance Chabot-to-Garin Regional Trail. The trail isn't that promising at first, but after a few miles it leaves the canyon and winds through increasingly remote, oak-carpeted hills.
Although they're threaded through wooded canyons in a suburban neighborhood, Hayward's Wally Wickander, East Avenue, and Ward Creek Trails feel surprisingly remote.
A low ridge keeps these parks' most-used areas well isolated from the Hayward subarbs, so even though the Bay Area is just yards away, the park feels remarkably quiet and natural. Most of the trails are dirt roads over open hills.
Danville's Las Trampas Regional Wilderness is an exceptionally scenic park, but its ruggedness makes it difficult to find really enjoyable hikes.
With its attractive blue oak groves and scenic hilltop views, Bishop Ranch has a surprising amount of scenery for such a tiny park.
Dublin Hills occupies a rolling hilltop nice if somewhat limited views over the sprawling Tri-Valley. The park is heavily grazed and still feels like a ranch.
The best-known part of this attractive and popular park is the prominent ridge above the town of Pleasanton, but there's also an extensive backcountry.
The sunny and often hot hike to Mission Peak is relatively short, yet offers outstanding views. It's easy to see why it's one of the most popular hikes in the Bay Area.
Levin County Park is a nice, quiet park that features a little lake and a golf course, and also extends up to the high ridge that towers over Milpitas.
Located in an isolated valley off of Highway 680, Sunol is one of the more remote parks in the region. It has a nice mix of open grassland and oak forest with very little nearby development to spoil the views.
The Ohlone Wilderness Regional Wilderness, which features the brutal climb to Murietta Falls, is one of the Bay Area's more challenging and remote parks.
The chaparral-covered Mount Diablo might not be especially attractive, but it has some of the best views in the Bay Area.
For a small suburban park, Diablo Foothills has a remarkably isolated feel and a lot of variety, with a shady canyon, rolling open grasslands, and blue oak-sprinkled knolls.
This very popular park just outside Antioch offers mine tours and miles of rolling grass- and oak-covered hills.
Round Valley has some of the Bay Area's most attractive oak groves.
Remote Morgan Territory is in an attractive, remote area of partially-wooded hills east of Mount Diablo.
This huge property east of Mount Diablo is popular with fishermen, but due to its entrance fee it gets few hikers.
In the stark, treeless landscape north of Livermore, Brushy Peak stands out because it's capped with a little oak grove.
© 2005–17 David Baselt