While Muir Woods may come to mind when people think of the redwoods in the San Francisco Bay Area, there’s another hidden gem that locals and frequent visitors might not even be aware of – a quaint grove of redwood trees tucked away inside of the Regional Park Botanic Garden.
Today, I’m excited to share with you this extraordinary spot that I visit several times per year, located in the East Bay in Tilden Regional Park, a sprawling park that spans Berkeley and Oakland.
Getting to Know the Tilden Regional Park Botanic Garden
Before setting out for your visit, it’s crucial to note that there are actually two botanical gardens in Tilden Regional park! The best-known one is the Botanical Garden run by UC Berkeley.
The UC Botanical garden is beautiful (and also has some redwoods). But there’s an admission fee, and it’s more of a curated, put-together place. The botanical garden I’m covering today is the Tilden Regional Park Botanical Garden.
It’s more wild, less polished, and run by an army of dedicated volunteers. Its beauty lies in its rugged, naturalistic design. It focuses specifically on California native plants.
Upon arrival, you’ll find parking right across the street on Wildcat Canyon Road. This park offers a do-it-yourself experience that is in direct interaction with nature, with little human interference. That’s part of what makes it a great place to visit–and what makes its little redwood grove so special.
The Hidden Gem: The Redwood Grove
When you arrive, enter the garden, walk to the left past the Visitor Center and down a small path over a bridge. You’ll come into a clearing with a building that sometimes has plant sales. Walk past that and by the rock garden.
That’s when you’ll stumble upon a heartwarming sight – the hidden grove of stunning sequoia redwood trees.
While the trees in Muir Woods and along the coast are primarily coast redwoods, these giant sequoias eventually grow larger and are truly an amazing sight.
Despite only having around 20 trees, this secluded grove, in existence since 1946, allows you to stand amidst these giants often in solitude, as many don’t know about this spot.
Immersing Yourself in the Natural Beauty
The grove floor area is beautifully blanketed in fallen needles, making it an ideal spot for a picnic or for meditation. It is also a great place for kids to admire redwood trees without traveling all the way to Muir Woods and paying an entry fee.
This part of the park is free for all who want to sit among these towering redwoods, reigning for nearly a century. Although they’ don’t hold the same age’re younger trees than the 1,000+ year old giants in Muir Woods, they’re still beautiful. And they’re free to visit, easy to get to, and generally not at all crowded!
Exploring the Larger Tilden Regional Park Botanical Garden
After spending some quality time at the hidden grove, you can explore the rest of the Tilden Regional Park Botanical Garden. Even here, all fauna is nicely labeled, making it an enjoyable experience to learn about the different species collected from all over California.
Though the redwood grove is limited in space, the larger park offers ample opportunities to enjoy nature.
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- The East Bay’s hidden gem of redwood trees is located in the Tilden Regional Park Botanic Garden.
- The redwoods in the Tilden Regional Park Botanic Garden are Giant Sequoia Redwoods, in contrast to the Coast Redwoods often found in the Bay Area
- The redwood grove in the Tilden Regional Park Botanic Garden is a great spot for a picnic, meditation, or to bring kids.
- The Tilden Regional Park Botanic Garden is free to the public and has a variety of bridges and walkways.
- The redwoods in the Tilden Regional Park Botanic Garden were planted in 1946, and are not as old as the ones in Muir Woods.
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