Secret Redwoods (+ Swimhole!)

Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park

It’s rare to have one of Northern California’s biggest attractions all to yourself. Unless you’re in on a secret. Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park is a little-known gem where skyscraping reds (the tallest living trees in the world!) fly under the radar. At just 1 square mile and containing only 5 miles of trails, Grizzly’s ironically small size and location off the beaten path provide near total seclusion, not to mention relaxing riverside camping!

A short stroll along the tranquil riverfront leads to its intersection with Grizzly Creek, a popular swimming spot on warm days. Before cooling your heels, go on a hike through the park’s crown jewel: Cheatham Grove. Soaring redwoods carpeted in an unusually lush layer of vibrant green ferns landed it a role as the Moon of Endor in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Role-play at your leisure on a 0.7-mile trail that weaves through sabers of light as they pierce down through the canopy.

CAMP: Settle in along the turquoise waters of the Van Duzen River at one of 26 rustic sites, which include picnic tables and firepits as well as showers.

Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park info and map. From Hwy. 101, drive 11 miles east on CA-36 to reach Cheatham Grove. The campground and visitor center are 4 miles farther east. Camping $35/night. Reserve a site. Day-use and parking fee $8/vehicle, except in free small parking lot available at Cheatham Grove. Dogs allowed in campground, but not on trails.

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Three Beaches to the Wind

    This beautiful 7-mile (round-trip) coastal hike in the Marin Headlands connects three beaches: Muir Beach, Pirates Cove, and Tennessee Cove.

  2. Muir Woods Through the Backdoor

    A backdoor entrance into Muir Woods? Hike a tranquil trail that starts in Mount Tamalpais State Park and quietly leads into Muir Woods, letting you avoid the busyness of the main parking area.

  3. Cross It Off Your Bucket List

    Crosstown Trail San Francisco may be one of the most beautiful city walks in America, passing through less-visited nooks and crannies while also taking in greatest hits, including mosaic stairways.

  4. Yosemite Magic Trick

    Yosemite’s High Country is magical and without crowds. At a lofty 8,700 feet, Tuolumne Meadows is one of the best trailheads for hiking or backpacking a land of smooth granite domes, high alpine meadows, jagged peaks, and sapphire lakes. Here's a 3-night backpacking itinerary...


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Sponsored

    Sea Change

    Right in time for the balmy fall days, the crowds have left and Monterey Bay Aquarium is at its shoulder season best. Fewer people means relaxing with more room to roam and enjoy the animals, exhibits, and nearby outdoors for biking, hiking, and beaches.

  2. High Sierra Lake Hop

    Situated just north of Yosemite is a High Sierra wonderland that gets a fraction of the crowds and is a fantastic destination for backpacking. The Emigrant Wilderness is 113,000 acres of granite ridges, wildflower-strewn meadows, and cobalt lakes.

  3. Thanks, Annie!

    Annie’s Canyon Trail in the 1,000-acre San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve in Solana Beach includes the most unique quarter-mile you’ve ever maneuvered—through a sandstone slot canyon!

  4. Glam Paddling in Long Beach

    Sea kayaking doesn’t get any more glamorous than paddling the storybook canals around Long Beach’s Naples Island! You thread your way through calm waterways surrounded by luxury ho