Backpack Sam McDonald Park

Sam McDonald County Park Parking Area - Search Nearby - Added by Ashley Chang

Escape into Sam McDonald Park's redwood forest and stay in one of the two campgrounds. The park is located less than an hour from San Francisco.

The Pescadero Creek Park Complex is a great place to escape for a day or overnight hike in the heart of the Bay Area. You will need to get a permit to stay overnight - these can be attained on a first-come, first-serve basis from the ranger station. Most of the campsites here are also available first-come, first-serve. A permit is required to park a car overnight. You can also pick up a trail map from the ranger station.

After parking, cross the street and start to climb up the hill, taking the wide path on the right. The hill lasts half a mile. Take a moment at the top to admire the view before heading past the horse camp and down Brook Trail Loop on your right. Stay on the loop for 1.7 miles before taking a left (AWAY from Jones Gulch trail) and continuing 0.6 miles further to reach Shaw Flat Trail Camp. Stay the night in one of several campsites here. At Shaw Flat, you are about two miles from Tarwater Trail Camp on Pomponio Trail.

Consider staying at Tarwater or Shaw and exploring the many trails surrounding the area. To leave from Tarwater, backtrack 0.2 miles to Tarwater Trail Loop and take this back to the Towne Fire Road, which will lead up the hill and out to the parking lot.

Distance

6 Miles RT

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Camping, Backpacking, Hiking

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers

Nearby Lodging

Santa Cruz North / Costanoa KOA

Pescadero, California

From $120/night

Serene Redwood Retreat

Ben Lomond, California

From $100/night

Walkabout

Santa Cruz, California

From $60/night

Outsite // Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, California

Community Photos

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Just Bring A Daypack

Beautiful spot with very few crowds. Trails are wide and fairly easy to navigate. Definitely worth it! Stop at Alice's on the way back (if it's not too crowded) for a great post-hike meal!

No crowds

This area is one of my favorite areas in the entire Bay Area. The chances that you will have this place all to yourself are very. If you are trying to escape the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan area just over the mountain, this is the place to go.

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