The smallest redwood park
Length 0.5 miles · Climbing 80 feet
Heritage Grove might be tiny — only a few dozen old-growth redwoods can be seen from the trail — but it's nonetheless quite attractive. With a lush carpet of sorrel and ferns, trunks turned copper-colored by lichen, and a burbling stream, the grove has all the kinds of scenery found in the best redwood groves, just not very much of it. It's also much more lush than the nearby redwood groves of Big Basin, Portola, or Henry Cowell Redwoods. It's located on Alpine Road, a narrow, winding, and scenic road that runs from Palo Alto to the ocean, a favorite of motorcyclists. The road is always just a few yards away, but the grove can still be quite peaceful.
From the parking area, a narrow bridge leads to the grove. A short trail passes through the lower grove, which occupies a little alluvial flat. The grove has a nice collection of good-sized redwoods, but unfortunately it's not pristine; there are seven large stumps and a few smaller ones along the trail. The trail ends at a second large footbridge which has been closed for a few years.
Another trail branches off to the upper grove. Although there's actually a large section of unlogged hillside, all that's really visible from the trail is a group of four large redwoods. The grouping is easily missed; if you come to an intersection with a sign pointing the way to "Hiker's Hut", you've gone too far. A stroll through both the upper and lower groves covers less than half a mile.
© 2006, 2012, 2014 David Baselt