California protects some of the oldest, tallest Redwood trees left in existence, and the majority of them are concentrated between Santa Cruz, CA and the northernmost border of the state. Along the peninsula in the Bay Area, many ancient Redwood groves continue to grow, protected from the developing cities and areas by acres upon acres of California state parks.
Portola Redwoods State Park is among these areas and features some of the most isolated and remote trees left in the state. This park is accessible only through long access roads driving deep into the center of the peninsula a few hours away from San Jose. There is no cell phone reception in the state park, and the nearest town is 14 miles away.
Bring plenty of supplies, and know that the park does offer running water, restrooms, and showers as park amenities. There are 55 campsites and four group sites, as well as primitive camping options for the adventurous. If you plan on bringing your dog, plan on getting a standard tent site, as dogs can only explore paved roads and campsites while they are visiting the park.
California Department of Parks and Recreation manages Portola Redwood State Parks, and they are especially strict regarding dogs when it comes to the protection and preservation of the Redwood trees. Dogs are not allowed on any hiking trails or dirt roads because they could disrupt wildlife and natural habitats, even if they are extremely well-behaved.
Dogs are welcome to walk along all paved roads, which includes the lower and upper access roads at polar ends of the campsites, although you must pick up after your dog at all times. Despite the restrictions, Portola Redwoods State Park is still an incredible place to camp and spend some time far away from the hustle and bustle of the Bay Area at large.
If you come and visit Portola Redwoods State Park, prepare to spend some time in solitude or bonding with your family over intimate wilderness experiences. Your dog might be required to stay in a tent, but with the peaceful, crisp air freshening everyone’s senses, your dog most likely won’t mind.