From the issue Secrets of the Santa Cruz Mountains
Like a Virgin
Where can you find the most pristine grove of old-growth redwood trees in the Bay Area? Deep in Portola Redwoods State Park lies a forest of virgin redwoods that somehow dodged the logging operation spawned from the California Gold Rush. Peters Creek is home to thousand-year-old redwood trees that can measure up to 12 feet in diameter. The only way to reach this grove is by a 6.5-mile hike (one-way) that weaves through quiet canyons lush with ferns, clovers, and banana slugs. Because the hike is long, chances are good that you'll have this unspoiled sanctuary all to yourself. Make a loop around Peters Creek and gaze up at the red giants that are more than 200 feet tall. Stop for lunch and dip your toes in the cool creek water. Then head back the way you came. Immaculate adventure.
Start 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. At the trail camp, go left onto Bear Creek Trail. Stay on this for 2.4 miles. .25 miles after crossing over Bear Creek you'll reach Peters Creek. Follow the signs to make a 1.3-mile loop around the creek. Return the way you came. Visit the Portola Redwoods State Park website for directions to the park. No dogs.