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Old Tree, Slate Creek, Bear Creek, and Peters Creek Trails

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Portola Redwoods State Park

Old Tree, Slate Creek, Bear Creek, and Peters Creek Trails is a 11 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near La Honda, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Length 11.0 mi Elevation gain 2,283 ft Route type Out & Back
Hiking Nature trips Walking Bird watching Running Forest River Views Wild flowers Wildlife No dogs
Description
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Getting There

All-day hike to grove of ancient redwoods in Portola Redwoods State Park is a must if you can do the distance. The first six miles are nice enough -- lots of ups and downs in second-growth redwoods -- but the real payoff is at the midpoint: Peters Creek Loop tracks through one of the last remaining stands of old-growth redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The Peters Creek Loop is simply amazing -- the area was so remote that it was not profitable for loggers to cut the old redwoods, so dozens of ancients trees tower skyward all along the path. With its primeval feel, you wouldn't be surprised to see a brontosaurus rumbling through. Mind you it is a very long walk back, but it's worth the effort. This is a great hike all year long. If you go in the winter, make sure you'll have enough daylight to cover all the miles.

Call the park to make sure it's open before you go: 650-948-9098 Portola Redwoods is also accessible via the Pomponio Trail and Camp Pomponio Road Trailhead at Pescadero Creek County Park, and the Ward Road Trail from Long Ridge Open Space Preserve. Parking: $10 per vehicle

Driving directions: From Highway 35, turn west onto Alpine Road, go 3 miles and turn onto Portola State Park Road. On Highway 35, Alpine is just over 19 miles south of Highway 92, seven miles south of Highway 84 and just over 6 miles north of Highway 9. Page Mill Road from Palo Alto goes directly to Alpine.

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Reviews (124)
Photos (316)
Recordings (113)
Completed (215)
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Nicole Laprise
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 27, 2020
Hiking

Peaceful shaded walk in the woods. There is a bathroom by the parking lot and a porta potty just before the 3 mile mark. The total distance from the starting point on the map is almost 12 miles. There is parking closer to the trail head which would shave a bit of distance off. I arrived at 7:15 AM on a Saturday and the parking lot was empty. The hike took me almost 4 hours and 15 mins, and when I left they were still parking spots available. I would rate this hike on the harder side of moderate. I found the hike down into the grove and back out starting around mile 4 to be very challenging.

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Austin Steelman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 18, 2020
Hiking

Gorgeous redwoods. Fun trail. Highly recommend.

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AllTrails User
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 15, 2020
Hiking

Trail closure due to bees. It’s more of an advisory, but we didn’t want to risk it. Other reviews also mentioned getting stung.

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Celina Wildemann
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 21, 2020
Hiking

Ended up being about 12.5 miles. Really beautiful, not too strenuous.

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David Feng
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 9, 2020
HikingBlowdownBridge outMuddy

A few downed trees to climb over, and a few stream crossings near the park HQ, but the solitude was amazing! 90% of the hike is pretty chill - the climb to the summit is pretty steep.

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Chris Cuppoletti
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 29, 2020
Backpacking

Turtles Backpacking Leap Day 2020! Easy overnight to Slate Creek Camp. Optional day hikes. Just 3 miles to camp but we added 4 and 7 mile day hikes. The 7 mile hike to the Old Growth Redwood grove is SO worth it! Stayed at camp, water flowing in the creek downhill from camp. Bring a bucket to transport water back to camp. Excellent trails and perfect backpacking weather.

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philip kufeldt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 8, 2020
Running

Trail was in great shape and worth a trip out there. Peter's Creek is beautiful. Only saw 5 people on 12 miles of trail.

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Nate Makepeace
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 18, 2019
Hiking

Awesome Hike, Saw a total of 4 other people. Redwood grove is spectacular but there is a good amount of Poison oak sticking into the middle of the trail. Wear pants of bring a machete ;)

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Adam Winkler
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 28, 2019
Hiking

great trail for a hot day. lots of shade. beautiful forest. a little shrubbery, including some poison oak interested near the trail at the 4 mile mark; we only went to the 4.4 mile mark (high point), because of time constraints. loved it!

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Marty Rubio
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2019
Hiking

Excellent hike. Lots of shade, multiple groves of Redwoods. The last 1.3 mile loop is spectacular.

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Suzy W.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 27, 2019
HikingBugs

Trail was nice and not crowded. Camping was full, but we just came for the day. Day pass is $10. The road to get into the park is very windy and is tough if you get car sick.

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Gary Leith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 10, 2019
HikingMuddy

I really enjoyed this hike. It might not be so great during the summer when it's not as green and the creeks are low but when I went on April 7th 2019 it was a wonderful, private and beautiful hike. I only saw two people and they were both coming back. So I had the rest of the hike from about 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. all to myself. if you kept your eyes and ears open there were plenty things to discover. I saw I about five banana slugs, I discovered some red fire ants that had captured a dragonfly, I found a hollowed-out log that was mostly buried in the trail with about only a 8 inch diameter with a plant growing within it at the bottom, I found some really amazing looking rocks at Peters Creek. (By the way, some other reviews kind of threw shade on being confused about the Peters Creek Trail but if you have the "All Trails" map it's very clear that you have to cross the creek twice in the loop. I found it refreshing to have my feet cooled down although it got up to my ankles at times it was a revitalizing experience. I came back late enough that parts of the forest were at Twilight and I heard a couple of owls hooting up in the trees. I found a couple of bones; one very large that had washed up on a creek. The allegedly old growth redwoods were not quite as impressive as I thought they might be but I was satisfied with the overall experience that it didn't really matter that much. The only strenuous part of the hike was the uphill coming back from Peters Creek for a couple of miles before it evened out. But there's no rule about pausing and taking a break and enjoying the sounds and the sites of what's around you a little deeper. There were a couple of sections where the trails were not washed out but pretty muddy from the creek waters finding the trails. Most of it could be bypassed by just widening your feet on the walk to the far left into the far right. But at the end of the day it's not that big of a deal to get your feet muddy and you can wash them off in the creek. I had taken this Trail once before early in the morning and it was even more isolated. Most people are not willing to drive their car deeper into the forest when there are other places they can walk much sooner/easier. And most people are not willing to take a 12-mile hike. So if you enjoy communing with, what I believe is God's creation, then this is a nice opportunity to have that fellowship. :) Have fun and Enjoy!

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Gauri Wat
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 1, 2019
HikingMuddyOff trail

A beautiful hiking experience I must say. The trails is a raw trail and not a constructed one. I experienced the dense forest , and very less crowded trail even on weekends which indeed was a very peaceful and rejuvenating. the trail is almost 3-3.5 miles long. some of the trail route is blocked by the fallen redwood trees,so you will have to cross it and that's pretty exciting. I spotted 3 banana slugs on the trail, as well as a bird blue Jay was spotted. I recommend this trail, not very famous yet very beautiful.

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Becky Tilney
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 9, 2019
Hiking

I gave this trail two stars because it was very bland. There wasn't much excitement as I am used to seeing redwoods when hiking through any of the Santa Cruz Mountains, so that alone didn't cut it for me. If you are out of state you might enjoy it, and maybe I've just hiked too much and expected a lot from this trail. Also, in speaking with the park ranger she said it's more like 13 miles, but my Strava app tracked about 14 miles and took us just over 7 hours. There was a cool very old car randomly placed in the middle of the forest. It was kind of eerie but also interesting. The hike was OK but the highlight was actually hitting Peter's creek. However, the signs were REALLY confusing. For someone who hikes a lot and knows how to use common sense when hiking, my group got turned around and ended up having to backtrack just to get back on the main trail. There are also signs that tell you to cross the creek to get to the other side of the trail, or just end at the creek so you just gotta assume you have to cross. But since we went during a wet season the river was flowing, so expect you may have to get your feet wet. Overall, if you are new to hiking this may be the perfect trail because it's not too rough but don't expect any amazing lookout or views. Creek was cool though. Signage sucked. For an experienced hiker, I would give this a hard pass due to the lack of adventure. Also note - Parking is $10. If you get there too early before the ranger station opens (check their website for times) there is a self registration box but it's cash or check only. Happy Hiking!

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Rohit Dhage
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 30, 2018
Hiking

Its a long day hike starting from parking lot. You need to follow slate creek trail and then at the slate creek campground you need to take left to bear creek trail. Camp ground has benches and table along with one portable waterless toilet. Continuing on bear creek trail will leave to peter's creek grove. Along the way you will find some old growth trees which is just amazing to be around. You will also find an old battered car almost eaten away by nature (wonder what story it holds). Peter's creek grove is 1.3 mile loop and it very secluded with lots of birds around and the creek sound is blissful to just hear it. Have lunch there and trace back the path to parking lot.

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Patrick Mineault
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 17, 2018

Wonderful long hike through a leafy forest, you're covered pretty much the whole time. Some highlights include a broken down 50's car that nature has reappropriated, wildflowers, lots and lots of redwoods, and Peter's creek. Saw about a half dozen salamanders swimming in there, trouts too. We chose to stay overnight at the trail camp about 3 miles in and did the rest of the hike the next day, which I highly recommend - you'll have more time to enjoy the sights and sounds. Trail camp is within a redwood grove and is enchanting. Highly recommend!

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Mike Siders
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 22, 2018
Hiking

This hike is still great. There's two fallen trees about 5 miles in though. One has an easy man made path to go around, the other is right over the trail and you need to squeeze underneath, it's a bit of a tight fit but doable. Well worth it to get to the grove at the end!

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Shiwei Li
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 30, 2018
Hiking

I had been there before once long time ago, the Peter Creek was awesome with lots of tall and big trees. This time right at the end of Bear Creek Trail before the bridge, a huge redwood, possibly thousand years old, has fallen on the trail and not quite possible. So we didn't made it to the loop, but we still had this decent 10 mile hike.

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Mike Siders
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 19, 2017
Hiking

The Redwood grove at the end make this hike well worth it, it's amazing when you get there. Overall, this hike was pretty easy, there's really only one stretch of climbing and as others have mentioned, the elevation is very gradual throughout. Highly recommended!

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Tom McKewan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 19, 2017
Hiking

I agree with Robert's review, and the Peters Creek Loop is worth it to see the massive, ancient redwood groves. My Garmin said that the mileage was about the same but the elevation was less. The ascents and descents are very gradual on this trail. There is a lot of poison oak on some narrow sections. Other than that the trail is well-maintained with no bushwhacking required.

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Robert Destino
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 11, 2017

The trailhead actually begins at Slate Creek trail, (the Station Ranger never heard of Old Paige trail and it's not listed on their paper maps). The 1st mile section was closed due to fallen trees, of which one remains to be cut away. (Detour thru campground to pickup trail). The AllTrails App worked perfectly aside from the name. Cellular service available 50% of the trail. There is a bathroom and picnic table at mile 3. This is an easy trail with mild elevation, and is mostly shaded. Well marked and not overgrown but use plenty of insect repellent. Be prepared with a $10 cash or check for the daily parking fee.

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Jen Watson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 25, 2017

Love this trail! Beautiful, no crowds. Very easy overall, but a little uphill section coming back from the old growth redwood loop. Look out for poison oak in a couple sections...

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Mark Triplett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 15, 2016
Hiking

Nice redwood forest. A bit of uphill right at start and near the peak (few miles in) but mostly a flat easy hike. There's a backpackers camp a few miles in which is a great spot to stop for lunch on the picnic tables. We decided not to venture all the way over the hill and down into the creek.

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brett ry
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 14, 2016
Hiking

Horrible. Peters creek trail is overgrown now and not maintained. We had to plow through miles of thick weeds.

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Raymond Rouf
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 8, 2014

Total hike took my wife and I about 5 hours.

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Isabella Ventura
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 5, 2014
Hiking

I love, love this trail. I like the fact that it is far from the main entrance of the park and makes it somewhat pristine.

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Boom King
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 19, 2013
Running
First to Review

(Continued. . .got away from me) I am considering the peters creek loop the trail from the center of Portola SP to the old grove on Peters Creek. I think it is about 10 miles RT. This is my favorite trail mid-peninsula due to the remoteness and the old growth stand if redwoods. Makes a fantastic run and hike.

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