San Francisco Bay Area

Roy’s Redwoods Open Space Preserve

16 Amazing Redwood Escapes near San Francisco

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If you’re like so many San Francisco Bay Area residents, nearby Muir Woods National Monument is your go-to place for a redwood-forest experience. But did you know about these 16 redwood parks within a one-hour drive of San Francisco?

Bodega Bay, Sonoma Coast State Park. Photo by Michael Olsen, Flickr Creative Commons

Sonoma Coast State Park

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With its sandy beaches, rugged headlands and miles of trails, picturesque Sonoma Coast State Park offers a bounty of recreational opportunities for everyone.

Forest of Nisene Marks by Davidlohr Bueso, Flickr Creative Commons

Forest of Nisene Marks State Park

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The Forest of Nisene Marks, only 5 miles northeast of Santa Cruz, is wild and expansive. The property was clearcut in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. But it’s recovering nicely-and offers hikers and mountain bikers a chance to explore 30 miles of trails that rise from near sea level to 2,600 feet.

Castle Rock

Castle Rock State Park

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At the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Castle Rock State Park is just minutes from Silicon Valley. Yet it’s a perfect place to unwind from the wired world.

Butano

Butano State Park

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South of San Francisco, halfway between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz, Butano State Park surprises almost every first-time visitor. A short drive from beaches along Highway 1, you’ll find yourself awed by mossy Douglas-firs, bigleaf maples, sword ferns and, through April, blooming calypso orchids. The redwoods are mostly second growth, but careful explorers can find some ancient ones, too.

Bothe-Napa Valley State Park

Bothe-Napa Valley State Park

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othe-Napa Valley State Park lies near Calistoga in the heart of northern California’s wine country – farther inland than any other park with coast redwoods in California.

Big Basin

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

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Nestled in the deep folds of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Big Basin is the oldest state park in California. It includes more than 18,000 acres of redwood forest, including the largest ancient stand south of San Francisco. About 10 percent of the park won protection with the help of Save the Redwoods League.

Austin Creek

Austin Creek State Recreation Area

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Just a few miles north of the Russian River at Guerneville, Austin Creek SRA and Montgomery Woods are complementary. Austin Creek is sunny and open, with grasslands and rolling hills dotted with other conifers and oaks.

Armstrong Redwoods

Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve

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Just a few miles north of the Russian River at Guerneville, Armstrong Redwoods and Austin Creek are complementary parks totaling more than 6,000 acres.

Portola redwoods

Portola Redwoods State Park

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Just 5 miles north of Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Portola Redwoods State Park offers visitors solitude and some of the tallest, most majestic redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The park centers on two creeks, Peters and Pescadero. Save the Redwoods League has helped win protection for 800 of the park’s 2,800 acres.

Why I Support Measure AA

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Here’s why I will be knocking on doors for Measure AA this week, and why I think you should too! I live in Palo Alto. As Peninsula residents know, one of the best reasons to live here is the amazing …

Photo by Save the Redwoods League

Grove of the Old Trees

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Grove of the Old Trees is an accessible, stunning 28-acre redwood stand on a ridgetop in Occidental.

Photo by SunburnedSurveyor, Flickr Creative Commons

Wilder Ranch State Park

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Just north of Santa Cruz, Wilder Ranch State Park offers rich coastal habitats and layer upon layer of history. Some 10,000 years ago, the Ohlones used the site as a seasonal village.

Photo by Miguel Vieira, Flickr Creative Commons

Samuel P. Taylor State Park

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A town called Taylorville grew up around his mill, which devoured a lush stand of redwoods. But some groves were spared, and you can see them today in 2,800-acre Samuel P. Taylor State Park. Redwoods and firs grow along Lagunitas Creek and its north-facing slopes, while chaparral and grassy meadows dominate the south-facing side of the canyon.

Photo by LisaW123, Flickr Creative Commons

Roy’s Redwoods Open Space Preserve

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Halfway between San Rafael and Point Reyes, Roy’s Redwoods is a small, county-run preserve with lots to admire. It’s easy to get to, right off Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in western Marin County. It has old-growth redwoods without the crowds of a place like Muir Woods.

Photo by Miguel Vieira, Flickr Creative Commons

Redwood & Roberts Regional Recreation Area

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The slim, 150-foot trees you can see in these two regional parks are a generation removed from those that helped build the San Francisco Bay Area during and after the Gold Rush, but they represent the largest remaining stand of coast redwoods in the East Bay.

Photo by Miguel Vieira, Flickr Creative Commons

Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve

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On the western slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains, this 3,360-acre preserve has tall redwoods and a lively creek, as well as ferns, berry bushes and wildflowers.

Photo by Paolo Vescia

Muir Woods National Monument

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Eleven miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, Muir Woods National Monument is a redwood sanctuary near San Francisco. Its coast redwoods are more than 250 feet high and 400 to 800 years old.

Photo by Miguel Vieira, Flickr Creative Commons

Mount Tamalpais State Park

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Winter is the time to see the waterfalls of Webb Creek along Mount Tam’s Steep Ravine Trail, a magical, redwood-lined path. If you want company, the Friends of Mount Tam hosts several hikes on the mountain each month, even moonlight hikes!

Photo by Benjamin Pender, Flickr Creative Commons

Joaquin Miller Park

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Only 9 miles from downtown Oakland, Joaquin Miller Park offers amenities you can’t find in most cities: fern-lined creeks, wet meadows, redwood groves and oak woodlands.