Heritage Grove is tiny, with only a few dozen old-growth redwoods visible from the trail, but it’s a genuinely lovely place. 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. Thanks to its location in a deep, narrow canyon, it’s also much more lush than the nearby redwood groves of Big Basin, Portola, or Henry Cowell Redwoods. The grove is 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 abruptly at the location where a footbridge that used to span the river has been removed.
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, 2015, 2021 David Baselt