Reading that a whole bunch of friendly giants are hiding behind an unassuming gate sounds a bit like a storybook beginning. In this case, it’s a redwood fairy-trail. Across the street from UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, behind a locked gate, stands the 5-acre forest of redwoods. To get to it you have to purchase a $10 ticket from the botanical gardens, where you’ll be given the entrance code. Behind the gate, behold Mather Redwood Grove and a series of meandering dirt paths with benches and picnic spots.
The grove’s best-known feature is a beautiful white stone amphitheater, a magical backdrop for the occasional concerts held here. Afterwards visit the UC Botanical Garden (included with your $10 ticket purchase) to see its 12,000 species of rare and endangered plants. Go soon and catch breathtaking blooms of ombré-hued rhododendrons and delicate magnolia in the Japanese garden.
Code to enter Mather Grove is given upon purchase of UC Botanical Garden ticket. The UC Botanical Garden is located at 200 Centennial Dr. in Berkeley, above Memorial Stadium; (510) 643-2755. General admission is $10/person. Open daily 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (no admission after 4:30 p.m.). Closed first Tuesday of each month. Parking available in large lot across the street from ticket counter for a small fee. No dogs.