San Francisco: Sam McDonald County Park Loop

This 5-mile loop wanders through huge redwood stands along the western slope of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Extend the trip with an overnight at a Sierra Club hut.
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This 5-mile loop wanders through huge redwood stands along the western slope of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Extend the trip with an overnight at a Sierra Club hut.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 7.3

Waypoints

SMP001

Location: 37.2966499328613, -122.265830993652

Towne trailhead: Walk S from parking lot, cross Alpine Road; pick up trail on other side

SMP002

Location: 37.2949485778809, -122.266036987305

Bear L onto Big Tree Trail to view 90-foot redwood; L @ 3-way

SMP003

Location: 37.2928504943848, -122.265785217285

Bear L @ Y onto Big Tree Trail again; trail descends into gulch

SMP004

Location: 37.2949180603027, -122.263534545898

Bear R @ Y onto Heritage Grove Trail; banana slugs squirm on foliage

SMP005

Location: 37.2947654724121, -122.249336242676

Cross creek flanked by old madrone trees

SMP006

Location: 37.2948837280273, -122.247329711914

Turn R @ 3-way to remain on Heritage Grove Trail. Spur trip: Continue straight @ 3-way for .4-mile round-trip to Heritage Grove to see more giant redwoods

SMP007

Location: 37.2901649475098, -122.249969482422

Head straight through gate to beautiful meadow; turn L @ 3-way onto singletrack that heads into woods

SMP008

Location: 37.2895660400391, -122.249069213867

Path leads to hikers? hut. Fresh water here; sweeping Pacific views

SMP009

Location: 37.2876014709473, -122.246620178223

Bear L onto fire road, heading downhill, then R at unsigned junction with Towne Trail

SMP010

Location: 37.2901496887207, -122.250053405762

After mixed woodland, head straight @ 4-way and through gate

SMP011

Location: 37.290901184082, -122.26188659668

Straight through gate at Horse Camp; turn L @ 3-way, then L again to close loop; .5 mile back to trailhead