This is an excellent moderate hike through the second-growth redwood forest at Portola Redwoods State Park. It ends at Slate Creek... more » Trail Camp, a popular overnight camping destination.
The park is in the Santa Cruz Mountains west of Highway 35 in one of the best hiking regions in the San Francisco Bay Area. While ancient redwoods are scarce because of heavy logging in decades past, the redwood forest that has retaken the hills here is still impressive.
It's also very shady, making Portola Redwoods a great place to hike year-round.
This hike is an out-and-back with multiple options -- tack on a couple miles by hiking down to the Page Mill Site, then following Slate Creek Trail to its terminus at the crossing of Slate Creek. Few people go this way so the forest along the creek becomes a cradle of solitude.
Another must visit is a side trip to the Old Tree, biggest redwood in the park. It's massive to the point of being mind-boggling.
Trails on this track: Old Tree Trail > Slate Creek Trail.
The Slate Creek Turnoff comes before you reach the Old Tree. The actual Old Tree is a quarter-mile beyond the Slate Creek turnoff. It's well worth the extra half-mile. less «