Staff portrait for Justin Garland.
By ,
Redwoods Program Manager

We’re lucky here in the Bay Area to live close to places like Muir Woods National Monument and Big Basin Redwoods State Park where we can escape for a hike in the redwoods. While you’ve probably heard of both of these places, you might not know that they can get pretty crowded – especially in the summer.

But don’t worry, there are so many other amazing places to experience the majesty of our redwood forests that aren’t as crowded (you just might not have heard of them before). Here are a few of our favorite redwood hikes on the Peninsula and in the South Bay area:

Lost Trail at Windy Hill Open Space Preserve

1. Lost Trail

Windy Hill Open Space Preserve
Portola Valley, San Mateo County

This moderate out-and-back trail is perfect for a mild stroll. The wooded path offers plenty of shade from surrounding redwood, fir and oak trees. A lush understory flanks the trail, and the smell of Bay laurel trees may follow you throughout the hike.

Distance: 4.8 miles

Elevation change: 636′ gain

Hiking time: 2 hours

Trail surface: Packed dirt, shaded

Best Season: Year round

Managing agency: Midpeninsula Regional Open Space Trust

Parking lot location: Click here for directions


Looking for more great hikes?  Try our hiking guide.


Phleger Estate - POST

2. Skyline Trail

Phleger Estate
Woodside, San Mateo County

This 4.6-mile hike follows old logging roads through towering second-growth redwoods. This forest was cut down in the Gold Rush era but has since recovered and is now home to a variety of wildlife. In 1995, POST partnered with Save the Redwoods League and Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District in an ambitious campaign to protect this property. We’ve since transferred the land to the National Park Service and it is now open for public enjoyment.

Distance: 4.6 miles round trip

Elevation change: 400′ elevation gain

Hiking time: 2-3 hours

Trail surface: Uneven, dirt trail

Best Season: Year round

Managing agency: San Mateo County Parks

Parking lot location: Click here for directions


Purisima Creek - POST

3. Purisima Creek and Whittemore Gulch

Purisima Creek Open Space Preserve
Half Moon Bay, San Mateo County

This hike meanders through redwoods and along a beautiful creek for a total of seven miles round-trip. POST protected Purisima Creek as part of our Saving the Endangered Coast Campaign back in 2005. Keep an eye out for huckleberry shrubs, madrone, tanoak and lots of banana slugs!

Distance: 9.1 mile loop

Elevation change: 1600′ elevation gain

Hiking time: 5-7 hours, depending on your route

Trail surface: Packed Dirt

Best Season: All year

Managing agency: Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District

Parking lot location: Click here for directions


Mt Madonna redwoods hike

4. Merry-Go-Round Loop Trail

Mount Madonna County Park
Watsonville, Santa Clara County

This moderate hike offers diverse scenery in addition to its impressive redwood forests. Mount Madonna County Park also boasts oak woodland, dense chaparral and grassy meadows. During your journey, keep an eye out for banana slugs, red-tailed hawks, and maybe even black-tailed deer. If you’re in the mood for an extra adventure, you can take a detour up Miller’s trail to find the ruins of cattle baron Henry Miller’s old summer mansion.

Distance: 4.6 miles

Elevation change: 1200′ elevation gain

Hiking time: 3-4 hours

Trail surface: Uneven, rocky dirt

Best Season: Year round

Managing agency: Santa Clara County Parks

Parking lot location: Click here for directions


Looking for more great hikes on the Peninsula and in the South Bay?

Fill out the form and we’ll send you a guide to 30 of our favorite trails.


Hikes Guide - POST

Can't see the form? Please click here for a simplified version.

About Post

Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 87,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more

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