One of my hiking goals this year is to visit as many parks as I can to see waterfalls. In the last few years, there has been so little rain that many of the waterfalls have not been flowing. So, I decided to start out at a new park that I haven’t visited before. Portola Redwoods State Park is in La Honda in the Santa Cruz mountains near Palo Alto. The drive there was a bit tricky because highway 35 is partially closed due to winter storm damage so I had to take a different route to get there. The storms over this past winter have affected many of the parks as well. 2 of the trails that I was planning to hike today were closed, so I had to modify my hikes.
One of the highlights of my hike was Tiptoe Falls. I started at the visitor center and headed along the trail towards the falls. The ranger told me that the trail was flooded with water and to hike along side, but it was tricky. I did slip off the rocks and get my feet wet but it was a sunny warm day so my shoes dried out quickly. The strange temporary bridges were also tricky, but I made it across those as well. There were quite a few people along the way, the hike to the falls was clearly very
After seeing the falls, I hiked along Iverson trail. I chose this hike from my 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles guidebook by Jane Huber. I followed her map in the book to Pomponio trail to Bridge trail to Old Haul
Along the way, I found lots of beard lichen. Lichen is an interesting symbiosis between algae and fungus, they need each other to survive. I read that beard lichen can only survive in the cleanest mountain air. I also saw two-eyed violets which are so small and lovely, it’s easy to overlook them. If you check the back of the flower, the 2 upper petals are purple on the back! There were also lots of huckleberry plants. Huckleberries are like tiny blueberries, but they don’t ripen until autumn time. I was most disappointed to not find any leopard lilies, maybe it’s too soon and I need to go back, they are supposed to bloom between May and July along the streams and trails.
And then I reached the signs saying the trail was closed due to sinkholes. So, I turned around and backtracked to the visitor center with the plan of trying to hike my loop from the other direction as far I was able.
I decided to start by hiking up the Old Tree trail to see the giant redwood at the end of the trail. It was spectacular and amazing and huge! It is estimated to be 1200 years old. My daypack is in the photo at the base of the tree for size reference so you can see how huge the tree is. I hiked back to find that Slate Creek trail was also closed due to storm damage. Hopefully, the park will be able to restore the trails and reopen them, and I will return in the future. I will check off this hike in my book for now!
Start/end: Visitor center
Trails: Sequoia Nature, Iverson, Pomponio, Bridge, Old Haul Road, Old Tree
Has anyone gone when the huckleberries are ripe? Has anyone ever seen the leopard lilies in bloom? Where are they?