Northern California is known for its stunning, ancient redwoods that populate the coastline. Many old-growth forests are a short distance from San Francisco, accompanied by beautiful coastal views. These forests are perfect for experienced hikers or short nature walks, ideal for soaking in the majestic views.
It’s not hard to find Coast Redwoods near San Francisco. These iconic trees are known for their massive size, with the largest reaching 380 feet, the equivalent of a 37-story building. Beautiful forests near San Francisco aren’t hard to find, epseically if you know where to look.
1. Muir Woods
Muir Woods National Monument sits on Mt Tamalpais in Marin County. The scenic natural monument is a 40-minute drive from San Francisco and is just outside Mill Valley. The old-growth forest has been federally protected since 1908 and has six miles of hiking trails filled with beautiful redwoods.
Reinhardt Redwood Park is a short distance from downtown Oakland. The park used to be a logging destination but luckily still has many 150-foot redwoods. The park allows biking, horseback riding, camping, and picnics. Plus, you can bring your dog on your scenic hike.
This state park in Marin County has over 600 acres of old-growth forest, plus approximately 2,000 acres of forest and grassland. The park offers scenic hikes along a creek and beautiful views of the rolling Marin Headlands. Camping and biking are allowed in the park, plus you can hike the several moderately difficult trails.
Butano State Park sits in San Mateo County, approximately an hour from San Francisco. The park has 4,000 acres of forest and 40 miles of trails for hiking. The park also has many campgrounds and drinking water in the campgrounds. In the summer, you can enjoy a guided nature walk through the Redwoods on Saturdays.
This San Mateo county park is over 2,000 acres of shady forest populated by massive redwoods. The boasts over 18 miles of trails and beautiful waterfalls connected to small creeks. Plus, 55 campsites are available if you want to stay longer than a day trip.
This state park is a must-visit for its 40-acre old-growth forest filled with giant redwoods. Visitors can hike, bike, and ride horses in the park, surrounded by the scenery. The park boasts a tree approximately 1,500 years old and a jaw-dropping 277 feet tall.
Big Basin is California’s oldest state park, founded in 1902. The Santa Cruz park has old-growth redwoods, dating back as far as 1,800 years, along with stunning ocean views. While a fire swept through the park in 2020, most of the old-growth trees survived. Trails of various difficulty and lengths also populate the park.
This nature reserve includes hiking trails and lovely picnic spots. The Pioneer Trail is a mile-and-a-half loop, perfect for an easy nature stroll. The beautiful forest is just an hour and a half from San Francisco and has many redwoods to admire.
This woodside preserve overlooks Half Moon Bay and features 21 miles of trails perfect for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. A large gift from the Save the Redwoods league established the 5,000 acre preserve.
If you want to drive down the coast, Big Sur always delivers stunning views. Pfeiffer State Park sits on the side of the Santa Lucia Mountains and includes various hiking trails and wildlife. You can also stay at the Big Sur Lodge, which includes 61 rooms and a coffee shop.