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Sam MacDonald County Park is part of San Mateo County, California.

Heritage Grove Redwoods Edit

This park is most noteworthy for the Heritage Grove old-growth redwood reserve and associated public hiking trails.

A half-day hike (5.2 miles) through a redwood grove inherited from an impassioned public to a high ridge lookout. Setting out east from Sam McDonald’s main parking lot, this hike is a veritable tree museum, exploring the stunning redwood survivors past logging operations. Some of these trees were so close to gone before the park was created in 1974 that colorful paint is still slashed across their trunks, marking them for the axe.

The hike starts out on a mellow trajectory, tracing contour lines above Alpine Creek through stately redwoods and giant Douglas-fir trees framed by California bay branches. On either side of the path, a profusion of ferns and redwood sorrel float above a needle-blanketed floor.

It’s not until the last 0.8 miles that the uphill begins. Here the trail climbs away from the redwoods to grassy ridgeline views of Pescadero Creek Valley and, on crystal clear days, a glimpse of the Pacific. At the top, short connecting trails lead to the Sierra Club Hiker’s Hut and the Brook Trail Loop in Pescadero Creek County Park.

For a quick hike straight to the ridgeline, start at the Heritage Grove parking lot.

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