Portola Redwoods State Park is about as remote as you can get in the Bay Area. A twisty road descends for miles through the Santa Cruz Mountains until you reach this tiny but mighty park. Most people stick close to the park headquarters. But venture in just 3 miles and discover Slate Creek Trail Camp’s six secluded campsites. A highlight of this backcountry camp is its proximity to Peters Creek Redwood Grove— a forest of enormous virgin redwoods that somehow dodged the logging operations of the 19th century. From camp, it’s a 2.4-mile hike (one-way) to the grove—where thousand-year-old redwoods can get up to 12 feet in diameter. In this neck of the woods being in the red is wonderful.
To reserve a spot at Slate Creek Trail Camp, call 831-338-8861. Campsites are $15 per night and there’s an additional $5 reservation fee. Directions: From park headquarters, get on the Old Tree Trail. After a couple hundred feet, make a left onto Slate Creek Trail. Stay on Slate Creek Trail for 2.4 miles, which takes you to the trail camp.