When so many other trees have lost their leaves in the winter, California’s coast redwoods stand tall and evergreen. The crisp smell of their fragrant leaves fills the cool air. Cozy whisps of fog linger between the branches. The holidays are the perfect time to experience these forested wintertime scenes with friends and family, here are some possible redwood adventures that should be fun for all:
Accessible: Muir Woods National Monument
Coast redwoods are the tallest trees in the world, and Muir Woods is home to old-growth coast redwoods over 250 feet tall and 400-800 years old. Many of the trails here are boardwalks or paved and wheelchair accessible. A two-mile round trip from the visitor center to Bridge 4 follows Redwood Creek, where endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead spawn. Look for adult coho salmon in December and January, and steelhead from Jan.-March.
Accessible: Samuel P. Taylor State Park
For an easy trip among the redwoods without the crowds, try this nearby state park within the One Tam footprint. Near the entrance station, check out Redwood Grove and head west along the mostly-flat Cross Marin Trail. See if you can make it all the way to the sign at the edge of the GGNRA! You'll be following Lagunitas Creek, another critical salmon site.
Moderate to strenuous: Phleger Estate
Phleger Estate is one of the hidden gems in the GGNRA—wander along its shaded, tranquil trails and you’ll see why. A loop hike from Lonely Trail-Raymundo Trail-Mt. Redondo Trail will give you a comprehensive tour. The 6.5-mile trek will take you through groves of coast redwood and along the seasonal West Union Creek tributaries. Several scenic benches will give you opportunities to rest while taking on the 1,387 feet in elevation gain.