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What you need to know

Location Activities

  • Hiking
  • Dogs
  • Horses
  • Fishing
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Handicap Accessibility
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Photo Op
  • Redwood
  • Waterfall
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Preserve Information

You might be surprised to find this stunning redwood preserve just three miles south of Los Gatos. It’s yours to explore thanks to POST who, in 1999, narrowly saved it from becoming a private golf course with luxury estates. A single, massive old-growth redwood tree is one of the preserve's most impressive features, but there's a lot more to discover along its six miles of trails.

There's something for everyone at Bear Creek Redwoods, including an ADA-compliant path around a small pond near the parking area. You may even see some turtles sunning themselves there! The newly constructed trail into the redwood forest is just across the street from the parking lot and pond.

Watch for:

Newts, banana slugs, giant redwood trees and elusive black-tailed deer.

Our Favorite Hike at Bear Creek Redwoods

Distance: 6 miles

Elevation change: 1,400 feet

Hiking time: 3 – 4 hours

Trail surface: Varied

Best season: All year

Parking lot location: Click here for directions

Midpen Logo-TransparentThough we try to keep this page accurate, please see the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s website before visiting for the latest information.


The Alma Trail begins directly across Bear Creek Road from the main parking area. Use the pedestrian crossing to get there safely. This trail takes you through densely wooded fir and redwood forests, past a beautiful old-growth redwood. The hike is steep at times, so bring plenty of water and take your time.

From the trailhead, climb a few hundred feet until, about a mile in, you arrive at a junction with Redwood Springs Trail. Stay on Alma Trail and continue a short distance to see the preserve’s largest old growth redwood (a little over a mile from the parking lot).

About halfway through this hike you’ll reach a three way junction where the Alma Trail intersects with the Redwood Springs and Madrone Knoll trails. If you’re feeling up to it, follow the Madrone Knoll Trail (a spur trail) and climb to the highest point of the preserve (2,400 feet). The views are well worth the extra effort. Then return via Redwood Springs Trail, which connects back to the Alma Trail to take you back to the parking lot.

The Backstory

Bear Creek Redwoods is rich in cultural history. Within the preserve you’ll find Ohlone mortar stones at the entrance, stumps of ancient redwoods once harvested for the construction of nearby San Francisco and the remnants of the Alma College, the first Jesuit school of theology in the American West.

In 1999, in partnership with the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, POST protected Bear Creek Redwoods, narrowly saving it from becoming a private golf course with luxury estate homes.

Our intention was always to open the preserve for public use, but dilapidated buildings, hazardous old roads, invasive species and a lack of safe parking made that a prohibitively expensive and complex undertaking at that time. Momentum to open this preserve picked up speed in 2014, when voters approved Measure AA — a $300 million bond with funds designated for public access improvements within Midpen’s properties. Finally, it is open for everyone to enjoy.

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