Armstrong Redwoods is a great option near San Francisco to go see Redwoods without the crowds and appointment necessary at beautiful Muir Woods. Located in Sonoma County northwest of the wineries in the valley, this park is still convenient but is away from the tourists.
Conveniently located at the Visitor Center parking lot, is a series of shorter trails that connect and go by several large Redwoods. If you do the Pioneer Nature Trail plus the spur Discovery and Armstrong Nature trails you can see the named features and hike 1.5 miles total.
Visitor Center area trail map
The trails are wide and well maintained. The Colonel Armstrong Tree and Parson Jones trees are very large for this part of California.
Beginning of the Pioneer Nature Trail
Parson Jones Tree
Colonel Armstrong Tree
I did learn from talking to the volunteers working the trail about the difference between diameter and circumference. Depending on the tree and where you are in California, some trees are marked by diameter and some by circumference. Diameter is the distance thru the tree traveling directly thru the center. Circumference is the distance around the outside circle of the tree. I should’ve paid attention in high school geometry.
In any case, this is a relaxing and easy hike and I recommend it especially if you are looking to see some Redwoods within an easy drive of San Francisco without all the crowds. Thanks for reading! rk