North Canada Camping Scenic Spot】Portola Redwood State Park Camping Guide

Portola Redwood State Park

Portola Redwood State ParkIt is a California State Park located in the South Bay of Northern California, just an hour or so drive from San Francisco. The park has 2,800 acres of redwood forest and seven major trails, so if you live in the South Bay and like to hike and camp, this is a pretty good place to do it.

The park's name comes from a former Spanish explorer named Gaspar Portola, who in 1769 organized an expedition to find a route from the San Mateo Coast to what is now San Francisco, which was unsuccessful and led to a settlement in the South Bay.

There are a few things to be aware of: First, the road up the mountain is relatively winding and narrow, if you are not used to driving the mountain road, it is best not to drive up after dark. Secondly, there are a lot of mosquitoes, and mosquito repellent is very fierce, so be sure to bring all of them with you. Just two short steps from the parking lot into the visitor center, there were already several bags. Third, many of the signs in this park are not very accurate, if you want to hike, it is best to look at the map to determine how to go and the approximate length of the route, many of the trails marked length will be written back and forth, but in fact, it is a one-way trip, and some of the trails are connected to the place is not marked, if you are not sure how to ask the visitor center on the day the best way to go, ranger will tell us how to go.

The main reason we come here every time is to camp, so we go up the mountain in the afternoon. We checked in at the visitor center before entering the campground, and the price of the campground is $35, which is the standard price for state parks, and remembered to ask if we could register for the night walk with the ranger at night. the first time we came here, there was still a heat wave, and the temperature at the bottom of the mountain was as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but with the redwoods shading us, we didn't feel too hot at all.

Camping Environment

What about campgrounds in Portola Redwood State Park?

  • Camp Comfort: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The campground as a whole is quite comfortable, all shaded by redwoods, and you don't feel hot even during a heat wave. The only drawback is that there are a lot of mosquitoes. I used anti-mosquito liquid and it was a lot better, but I really need to make up for it all the time.

  • Camp Space: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I've been here twice and stayed in a $35 campground on a different side of the property, but the first time I came the campground was huge. The family next to us set up three big sleeping tents, and even put their own tables and chairs around a big circle, even so there is still a lot of room for the children to run around. On our second visit, our campsite was a bit narrower, but the family of four next door still had a lot of space, and they brought the most equipment I've ever seen, probably the whole family, from 8am to noon, and they still couldn't finish it all. Although there is a lot of space available in the campgrounds, some of the campgrounds have the same feel as the neighboring campgrounds, and some of the campgrounds have the same feel as the neighbors.Samual TaylorIf you are afraid of hearing your neighbors snoring, it is best to wear earplugs.

  • Cleanliness: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The facilities were basically clean, with flush toilets and coin-operated showers, and some toilets had sinks. Some of the toilets had washbasins. There seemed to be a water tap next to each campsite, which was very convenient.

  • Location: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Visitor Center and Old tree trail are both about a five minute walk from our campsite, and there are two trails right behind the Visitor Center, so it's a convenient location.

  • Overall Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

It was a coincidence that I came here to camp, because I saw that there were still weekend campsites available, so I decided to come here on the spur of the moment. The campground here is better than expected, except for the mosquitoes, there is nothing to criticize. And since it is Redwoods state park, the focus is to see the redwoods, sitting in the campground can see the spectacular redwoods, wake up in the morning to make a cup of coffee with a book to read, or take the children to run around are great, suitable for parent-child outings, but because of the relatively inconvenient journey into and out of this park, so it is more recommended to camping instead of day trips.

Remember to put away your food at night. The park is now conserving a species of bird called the marble murrelet, which specializes in nesting in high redwoods. Due to the diminishing number of redwoods, the habitat they can live in now includes only the original 2% here. The park reminds them that their natural enemy, the crow, is attracted by human food and will attack the eggs of the marble murrelet at the top of the tree.

walking track

There are seven recommended hiking trails. When we came here, there were always a few closed trails, so we gave up on the last one, which was a bit more difficult, and considered the three trails that were not too long. On our first visit, we took the first Old Tree Trail and the second Sequoia Nature Trail, and on our second visit, we took the Tiptoe Falls/Iverson Trail. Because the signs in the park are quite difficult to understand, I'll share them with you here, and the easy route is the Old Tree Trail and Sequoia Nature Trail. If you want to see Tiptoe Falls, the shortest route is from the entrance of Iverson Trail next to Campfire center to Tiptoe Falls and then back, which is about 0.5 mile one way, according to my feeling. If you want to take a slightly longer, more sweaty moderate route, you can go from Campfire center to Tiptoe falls, then follow the longest green Iverson trail to the west and back to Sequoia nature trail, then you can go around from the back of the Visitor center. The distance of 2.5-3 miles is also the smoothest route for us.

Old tree trail

The entrance of old tree trail is very close to the campground, if you come out from the campground, you can go towards the direction of the campfire center indicator, and you will reach it before that. On the poster of this trail, it is written 0.5 mile round trip, and the paper brief is written 0.6 mile round trip, actually both of them are wrong, the one way is 0.5 mile is right, so it is 1 mile after walking back and forth.

The redwoods on the entire trail are quite tall and very comfortable to walk on, I've never been there before.Redwood national parkSince then, I've always loved tall redwoods.

The destination of the trail is an old tree. There is a forest fire in this area about once every 60 years, and this tree should be quite old, with burn scars on its body, but it is still very healthy.

Sequoia nature trail

Sequoia nature trail is a relatively short loop trail, the entrance is right behind the visitor center, 0.75 mile round trip is quite easy. If you join the Night walk, the ranger will take us to the Sequoia nature trail, the main topic is how the animals and plants adapt to the environment here.

The most famous tree on the trail is called the Shell tree, a 2,000 year old tree that burned to death in 1989, and what we see now are its remains. Redwoods have a thick bark that can withstand burning, so they don't burn easily, and this tree is said to have survived about 30 fires. Redwoods are very vigorous trees. Their roots grow shallowly and horizontally underground, but are usually as long as the trunks we see above ground, so even if a tree falls above ground, the roots below are still alive and can grow back. Interestingly, most redwoods do not grow from seeds, but from other redwoods. We will see a lot of trees growing together that may be connected underneath, but actually the new trunk will be genetically different, so it is considered a new tree.

Iverson Trail

Iverson Trail and Tiptoe Falls are both on the south side of the park. The entrance to Iverson Trail as indicated on the map is across the street from the Day use area parking lot next to the Visitor Center. Compared to the two trails mentioned earlier, this is a more uphill trail with more redwoods. According to the visitor center, this trail is 1.2 miles long, but it would be a mistake to think that you can walk 1.2 miles to get back to the original point. On the map, you can see the Iverson Cabin on the southeast side, so 1.2 miles may be the distance to the Iverson cabin. We originally wanted to walk 1.2 miles from the entrance of Iverson trail to Tiptoe falls to see the waterfalls, but half way there, we realized that the seasonal bridge was not open yet, so we could only walk to a stream.

Tiptoe Falls

We finally found out by asking Ranger and looking at the map by ourselves that the best route to Tiptoe falls is actually from the Campfire center near the campsite next to a hidden entrance to the Iverson trail, this entrance is actually quite hidden because there is no signage at the back of the Campfire center, which makes it quite difficult to find, but in fact it is not far from the Old tree trail parking lot, which is the closest to Tiptoe falls. This entrance is actually quite hidden, because there is no signage outside behind the Campfire center, it is quite difficult to find, but in fact, this side is not far from the Old tree trail's parking lot, and it is the closest to Tiptoe falls, but there is a section without a bridge, so it is necessary to cross the Pescado creek.

After entering the entrance, you will pass through a tall redwood forest, which is actually a quite comfortable trail, very much like hiking. After a while, you will see a sign indicating the way to Tiptoe Falls. Follow the sign and you will arrive at Tiptoe falls. Before entering the waterfall, you have to walk a little steep uphill, the waterfall we can see on the trail is very small and cute, after seeing it, you will understand why it is called Tiptoe falls.

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