Plan a day trip to see some of the tallest trees in the world! These are our top picks for the best redwoods near San Francisco that you need to visit.
Coastal sequoias, more commonly known as redwood trees, are synonymous with California. The unofficial mascot for Stanford University is even a redwood tree!
Redwoods prefer cool foggy climates, like the kind you find in San Francisco. But, redwoods also require a fair amount of deep soil for their massive roots to take hold.
The city, however, is a bit too sandy for redwoods to grow naturally.
You can find forests of redwoods near San Francisco if you travel about an hour to the north, east or south. But which ones are the best to visit?
As locals to the San Francisco Bay Area we wanted to share with you some of our favorite places to see towering redwoods near San Francisco — and a handful of redwoods planted in the city!
BEST PLACES TO SEE REDWOODS NEAR SAN FRANCISCO
San Francisco Redwoods Tours to Muir Woods
Dylan’s Famous Tour of San Francisco & Muir Woods
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Muir Woods National Monument is home to some of the oldest and most beautiful trees in the world. 🌲🌲🌲 And, it features gorgeous walking trails and striking scenery. A little known secret: Muir Woods Cafe ☕️ just might have the very best dishes out of all National Parks. Just about everything at the cafe is sourced from local farms and bakeries — be sure to check it out! #DylansTours
The most popular redwood forest near San Francisco is the ancient grove of 2,000 year old redwoods trees in Muir Woods National Monument.
How far is Muir Woods from San Francisco? This redwood forest on Mt. Tamalpais is about 15 miles outside of San Francisco and usually takes less than a hour to get to.
Visiting Muir Woods has gotten tricky in recent years with the introduction of required parking permits and a Muir Woods shuttle that only runs seasonally. Because of this, catching a Muir Woods tour has become one of the simplest ways of planning a trip to these redwoods near San Francisco.
Dylan’s most popular bus tour of San Francisco includes stopping for over an hour to explore and do redwood hikes in the Bay Area. Alternatively, Dylan’s offers a combo self-guided San Francisco bike tour and Muir Woods shuttle for those who also want to bike the Golden Gate Bridge.
Be sure to use promo code REDWOODS for 10% off either Dylan’s Famous Tour or Dylan’s Bike the Bridge & Muir Woods Shuttle!
Redwoods in Downtown San Francisco
Transamerica Redwood Park
Since 1959, the Financial District has been been hiding a redwood park in San Francisco.
Towering in the shade of the mighty Transamerica Pyramid is a half acre park filled with four dozen redwood trees. This small park is easy to miss, but is one of the closest redwoods to San Francisco since it is within walking distance to some of the most popular Union Square hotels.
Here’s the catch: The Transamerica Redwood Park hours are very limited. These redwoods in San San Francisco are closed on the weekends and are only open Monday – Friday 7am – 5:30pm.
Privately Owned Public Owned Spaces in San Francisco, jokingly referred to as POPOS, are common solutions to providing public space during the weekday influx of commuters to the Financial District and SOMA neighborhoods downtown.
Privately owned gardens and rooftops are popular throughout San Francisco, but the hours are very limiting.
Biggest National Park with Redwoods Near San Francisco
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite is home to the biggest trees in California, the Giant Sequoias. This massive National Park is also where you can find, Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in North America.
The distance from San Francisco to the redwood forest and natural wonders of Yosemite is about 170 miles each way. That is about 8-10 hours driving round trip.
Getting from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park is easy to do with a rental car, especially if you plan on staying at Yosemite hotel for a day or two. Personally, we prefer to choose from one of the best Yosemite tours and leave the driving to someone else!
The Lone Giant Redwood in Golden Gate Park
The Liberty Tree Near the Conservatory of Flowers
From ancient Oaks to towering Redwoods — what surprises will be hiding around the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers?
Posted by Dylan's Tours on Wednesday, February 1, 2017
In 1775 the first battle that sparked the American Revolutionary War took place on the East Coast.
A 119 years later the Daughters of the Revolution, a group of women descended from those who fought during the American Revolution, collected soil from every single Civil War battlefield. They used that soil to plant a Giant Sequoia in the heart of Golden Gate Park.
This giant redwood has been growing undisturbed for a 125 years and continues to dominate the well manicured grassy lawn outside of the Conservatory of Flowers.
Little Known Redwoods Near San Francisco
Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve
These giant redwoods near San Francisco were one of the filming locations for the Forest of Endor in George Lucas’ Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Lucas, a native to the area, knew the redwoods in the Bay Area would be the perfect setting for the Ewoks.
How far is the redwood forest from San Francisco? Armstrong Redwoods is a little less than 80 miles away. That’s about 4 hours round trip.
These Northern California redwoods also make a great option for those who want to avoid the parking restrictions (and crowds) at Muir Woods.
Second Best Day Trip to Redwoods Near San Francisco (after Muir Woods)
Butano State Park
Butano California State Park is a hidden gem for anyone trying to see redwoods near San Francisco while avoiding as many crowds as possible.
Grab a rental car and head south down the scenic Pacific Coast Highway for an hour will bring you to a sleepy coastal town of Pescadero, about a mile east of the PCH.
Before heating to the redwood forest, grab lunch from a hidden taqueria inside a gas station or pick-up a sandwich from a nearly 100 year old bakery!
Many locals consider Butano the best redwood forest in California because it is so far off-the-beaten-path that most tourists never find their way to the park.