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15 Best Redwood Hikes in NorCal

Looking for the best redwood hikes in NorCal? Here are the 15 Best Redwood Hikes in the Bay Area and the Santa Cruz Mountains. I have compiled a list of redwood destinations throughout the area. No matter what kind of adventure you seek, these trails range from easy to moderate, and several are hard. I hope it will motivate you to get out there and see them for yourself. 

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The Best Redwoods Hikes in NorCal

1) Henry Cowell Redwoods State Parks

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is known for its old-growth redwood trees. You’ll see the Cathedral Redwoods, an amazing circle of coast redwoods – don’t forget to look up to see them! I highly recommend the Observation Deck Loop – this trail is approximately 5 miles & considered moderate. 

Henry Cowell Redwoods

2) Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve

Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve is close to the coast – you might see it from afar on a good day. It is a fantastic trail with great views of the redwoods and is often not too busy. Whittemore Gulch and Harkins Ridge Loop Trail is about 7.6 miles and is considered hard.

Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve

3) The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park

The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park has many trails to access. This location is so beautiful, and they have many different hikes for all skill levels. I highly suggest hiking – Bridge Creek Trail to Maple Falls – 7.5 miles, and the trail is moderate. You’ll see the redwoods along the way that leads to a beautiful waterfall. 

The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park

4) Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park

Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park is adjacent to Joaquin Miller Park and offers different redwood trails on both sides. I suggest doing the Tres Sendas to Redwood Peak and West Ridge Moon Gate Loop; the trail is moderate and about 4 miles.

Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park

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5) Joaquin Miller Park

Joaquin Miller Park is next to Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park, and many of the trails come together along the way, both equally wonderful to see! I recommend hiking the Joaquin Miller Park and Redwoods Peak Loop, a 6-mile moderate hike where you will see a never-ending trail of redwoods, and during the cooler seasons, you might stumble across a swarm of ladybugs on the redwoods. 

Redwood locations in the Bay Area

6) Sanborn County Park

Sanborn County Park in Saratoga has many redwoods along the trail, but one trail offers the best views and is much quieter than other trails. The best trail to hike is the Sanborn Loop to Indian Rock Trail; this trail is a 5-mile loop and is considered challenging because there is a bit of incline.

Sanborn County Park

7) Butano State Park

Butano State Park is an excellent location for kids – if you want views of redwoods and want to see banana slugs, this is the right place to be. I would suggest the Little Butano Creek Trail; it’s a straightforward trail and is about a 3-mile trek.

Butano State Park

8) Castle Rock State Park

Castle Rock State Park is an excellent location for both hikers and climbers because of the rock formations around the trail. The best trail for hiking is the Saratoga Gap and Ridge Trail Loop, it takes you through most of the park, and it is a 5-mile moderate hike, and you’ll get a lot of views of the redwoods. 

Castle Rock State Park

9) Land of Medicine Buddha

The Land of Medicine Buddha is one of the unique trails near the Santa Cruz Mountains. This location is also a Buddhist retreat, but the trail is neat and peaceful. The Medicine Buddha Loop Trail is easy – when you get to the trail marker, you can choose to go 2 or 6 miles. 

Land of Medicine Buddha

10) Pogonip Open Space Preserve

Pogonip Open Space Preserve offers views of redwood trees, creeks, and a labyrinth. This is another great trail for kids to explore because there is so much to see. The best trail to see the redwoods on this hike is the Fern, Spring, and Lookout Trail Loop. This loop is about 4 miles and easy to hike to.

Pogonip Trail

11) Huddart County Park

Huddart County Park is tucked away in La Honda. It is a less-trafficked trail in the area and a great trail near California redwoods. A great trail is the Crystal Springs and Dean Trail; it is a 5-mile moderate loop.

Huddart County Park

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12) Cataract Falls

Cataract Falls is known for its waterfalls, but it also offers excellent redwood views. You will stumble across them throughout the trails, so keep looking out for them. The Cataract Falls, High Marsh, Kent, and Helen Market Trail is a challenging 8-mile trail that will take you through many redwoods.  

Cataract Falls

13) Muir Woods National Monument

Muir Woods is one of the most famous redwood destinations in the Bay Area, but worth visiting at least once. Make sure to be prepared before you go. If you want to add more miles with fewer people, I suggest taking a detour to go through Mt. Tam.

Muir Woods

14) Mount Tamalpais State Park

Mount Tamalpais State Park is a favorite in the Bay Area because it is much quieter than Muir Woods. Muir Woods is located in the same forest, but the trails on this side are less traveled. If you want amazing views of redwood trees and the ocean, do Mt. Tamalpais State Park and Dias Trail– a 7.6 moderate hike. 

Mount Tamalpais State Park

15) Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Big Basin Redwoods State Park is partially open. This place has some of the oldest and largest redwoods in California. It is an extraordinary location and the state park I recommend the most on this side of NorCal. I highly encourage everyone to visit the Berry Creek Falls Loop Trail; this trail is challenging because it’s a long 10-mile hike.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

More Destinations to see Redwoods

There are so many other places I did not mention that are just as phenomenal –  if you want a list of all 43 California Redwood Parks, use this guide. I hope that you get to visit some of these soon, and for those who have never had a chance to see the redwoods – I hope you do someday.

Your Thoughts: What is Your Favorite Redwood Hike?

This post was about the 15 Best Redwood Hikes in NorCal. Do you have a Redwood park you like to go to? Share a comment below and tell me your favorite redwood hike in Northern California.

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