Bear Necessity!

Hike at Bear Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve on the Peninsula

There’s an ancient forest that’s been given a new lease on life and just opened to the public in June! Bear Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve is ideal for summer hiking thanks to shaded trails that keep things cooler.

Monarch butterflies flitter about, woodpeckers are drumming at tree trunks, and the preserve is working hard to support the habitat of protected western pond turtles and California giant salamanders. For a moderately challenging 5-mile (round-trip) hike, start with the first part of the Alma Trail (Junction 1). Be prepared for steep terrain! This 1-mile portion of the trail climbs 600 feet on an uneven, gravelly path.

The trail traverses a densely wooded hillside, shaded by tall redwood, fir, and oak trees. As you ascend the trail, you’ll catch glimpses of the Sierra Azul mountains in the distance. Just past a small meadow, the Alma Trail reaches a crossroads (Junction 2) where the trail continues as well as intersecting with the Redwood Springs Trail. At the crossroads, turn right to take the Redwood Springs Trail.

This pleasant 1.5-mile route begins by gently winding past leafy oak trees, sunny clearings, and a fragrant grove of bay trees. Midway along the trail, a sheer switchback takes you deep into a secluded forest that is crossed by a small spring. The flowing, fresh water creates a lush environment of ferns, moss-covered tree trunks, and tiny wildflowers. With replenished second-growth redwoods soaring up to 200 feet, this grove is truly majestic. Enjoy the sense of quiet and solitude as you amble to the end of Redwood Springs Trail (Junction 3). To complete the round-trip hike, retrace your steps.

It’s an easier return trip, so you can slow down and enjoy the glorious scenery of this refreshing woodland.

Pro Tip: Get an early start to avoid mid-day heat, and because this newly opened preserve is popular (parking can fill up).

Bear Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve is located 3 miles south of Los Gatos off of Bear Creek Rd. The preserve is open every day from a half hour before sunrise until a half hour after sunset. It’s recommended to arrive early because parking is limited. Also it’s best to avoid the afternoon heat. A basic restroom facility is available. Bring your own water. There is no drinking water available. No dogs.

Trending Stories Northern CA

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    Fall for the Treasures of North Lake Tahoe

    North Lake Tahoe in fall is an amazing time. It’s less crowded, many hiking and biking trails are open, sunsets and starry nights are spectacular, and fields of aspens are a splendor across the region.

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    Ride and Seek

    Oceanside breezes, beautiful beaches, a car-free pathway for biking, and beer at the end: You’re on a roll! The San Mateo Coast was made for beach hopping and beer tasting …

    View
  3. Image that represents the story

    Redwoods, Beach, Banner View!

    Explore among the redwoods in Henry Cowell State Park on this magical 5-mile hike featuring the big trees, a beach, and a beautiful view from an observation deck.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story

    GOAT Coastal Hike + Sunset

    GOAT (greatest of all time) Sonoma Coast experience? Hike the Kortum Trail, wine taste on a patio overlooking the Russian River, and catch a sensational sunset at, yep, Goat Rock Beach.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story

    Shakespeare Bridge + Secret Garden

    Romeo, Romeo, we all know how this goes, but do you know how to go to the Shakespeare Bridge and secret gardens? We’ve got the online do-it-yourself hiking route for you.

    View
  2. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    Hidden Stairways of SF: Urban Hike

    This guided hike sold out fast, but new dates have been added! Get outdoors and explore the hidden stairways and gardens of San Francisco anew. Small group and socially distanced.

    View
  3. Image that represents the story

    Boontime!

    Glamp in a tent cabin or stay in private patio room among redwoods in the heart of Russian River. And do some wine tasting at these two beautiful vineyards with airy cabanas and gorgeous views.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story

    Bodega's Hidden Hike-in Beach

    Bodega Head has a mystical hike-in beach trail through secret sand dunes. Hike in, then enjoy the West's tastiest BBQ brisket on a patio overlooking Bodega Bay Harbor.

    View