Portola Redwoods State Park

At last! A hike through some big trees! Tonight, after my son’s photography workshop was over, we headed west of San Jose about an hour and a quarter to Portola Redwoods State Park. I was not sure if Hayden would get to see any big trees the rest of the week and wanted to be sure he at least got a taste. We made it out there just in time for daylight to drain away, but we did get a quick hike in and he got some good photographs (like the one above).

Portola is another deserted California park tucked neatly away close to the masses. The drive there is beautiful, half along winding two lane highways and half along very winding barely over a lane country roads. Portola features many redwood trees, a lot of them old growth even. It also has a small visitor center (staffed only on weekends and Mondays sadly), and lots of camping opportunities. In our time there, we ran across only two other people – a father and young son from San Jose who were both decked out in Michigan gear (Go Blue!). Turns out that they were originally from Ann Arbor. Small world!

We did a pretty short hike as we were low on light, but it took us through an impressive grove of redwoods and by a beautiful creek. Sadly, the biggest tree on or hike was just a shell, having fallen in 1989 due to a camper’s fire. Still a very impressive site as the base was absolutely huge, as was the fallen trunk. We stayed about an hour in the grove as Hayden took pictures and I enjoyed both the trees and my time with him.


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