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There are plenty of green spaces to choose from in California, with most travelers making a beeline for the most popular state parks. If you take time to slow down, however, there are a considerable amount of lesser-visited parks in The Golden State, those that you can enjoy away from the crowds. One such park sits just an hour west of San Jose, and on the cusp of the wildly popular Big Basin Redwoods State Park and is known as Pescadero Creek County Park – an underrated and under-visited Californian gem.
Unfortunately, Pescadero Creek County Park can’t be reached by the four-wheels of your RV rental; the park must be hiked into from one of the neighboring parks: Memorial County Park or Sam McDonald County Park. The effort to reach Pescadero Creek County Park is more than worth it to experience the serenity of the remote redwood forests with the sound of the creek in the background. When you’re looking for some peace and quiet amongst the busy state parks of California, then search for an RV in San Mateo County today for your best chance at discovering this hidden park before the crowds do!
With the only access to the park being by foot, you’ll inevitably be doing some hiking during your Pescadero Creek County Park camping trip. Once in the park, visitors can choose from 29-miles of trails that cater to a wide range of ability levels and wind through scenic redwood forests. Hikers looking for a challenge should rise as early as possible to complete the 10-mile Butano Ridge Loop Trail that climbs for 2,000 feet through evergreen forest and massive redwoods. For something a little easier, but equally as beautiful, try the Bridge Trail. Although this trail is just 1.5 miles long, it provides walkers with some of the best views over Pescadero Creek itself.
Horses are also allowed on most of the tracks in the park, and allow visitors to cover a lot more ground, should you just have one day to explore. Amongst others, the Old Haul Road is a multi-use trail open to walkers, equestrians and bikers. This historic route follows the railroad that once aided the logging industry in the Santa Cruz Mountains, with plenty of fascinating landmarks to stop off at. Alternatively, make your way along the Tarwater Loop Trail, a five-mile loop home to one of the largest redwoods in this part of California.
Wildlife enthusiasts RV camping near Pescadero Creek County Park will be glad to know that a park is a fantastic place for spotting a variety of birds, mammals, and even fish! As fishing is not allowed in the creek, thousands of steelhead trout and coho salmon thrive in the waters, coming each spring to spawn their young. While observing the fish, keep an eye out for any busy beavers around the water’s edge, too – lots of families are said to be living here! Back on dry land, it’s not uncommon for a black-tailed deer, squirrel, or the odd coyote to cross your path along these quiet trails.
When you have an RV rental near Pescadero Creek County Park, the only options for finding somewhere to park up for the night are two dry camping sites. Portola Redwoods State Park and San Mateo Memorial Park are two of the closest campgrounds to Pescadero Creek, and both offer comfortable short-stay options. Nestled into the brilliant Californian redwood forests, both campsites are dirt-based, shaded, and incredibly peaceful. While neither offers hook-ups of any kind, there are communal showers available for those who wish to freshen up, along with flushing toilets and drinking water taps.
The nearest campground with any sort of hook-up facilities is around a 40-minute drive away, in the direction of San Jose. Known as Saratoga Springs Campground, campers can enjoy 30-amp electric and water hook-ups for their rental RV, along with access to a dump-station, pay-per-use WiFi, and even an outdoor swimming pool. For those motorhome camping without their own facilities, there are also modern restrooms on-site, complete with hot showers and flushing toilets.
The historic islands and fascinating attractions of San Francisco will be calling your name on the way to or from Pescadero Creek County Park, so why not pop in for a few hours or even a few days. There’s no denying that Alcatraz Island is one of the city’s most famed attractions, and a visit to the island demands at least an afternoon of your time. Used as a federal prison during the early to mid 20th century, boat trips are now organized from the mainland regularly. Either join a guided tour or pick up an audio guide when you arrive for an in-depth account of the happenings on the island over the last few centuries.
It’s possible to purchase a tour to Alcatraz Island that combines a visit to the neighboring Angel Island State Park. Though less famous than Alcatraz, Angel Island has seen its fair share of history too, starting from its earliest inhabitants, the Coast Miwok, to its use as a military base in the 19th century. Along with its strong historical ties, the island has plenty to offer in terms of outdoor recreation, including miles of 13-miles of hiking trails, cycling paths, and even a couple of sandy beaches.
Families camping at Pescadero Creek County Park, or anyone with love for Disney can consider a visit to the Walt Disney Museum. This vast museum celebrates the life and creations of Walt Disney by not only providing a historical account of his achievements but by using the latest developments in technology to bring some of his old sketches to life. Once you’ve had your fill on the history, head downstairs to the Theater, which shows a continuous stream of Disney films all day long!