Memorial Park is a secluded open space in the Santa Cruz Mountains featuring 673 acres and over eight miles of trails nestled in an old-growth redwood forest. Opened in 1924, San Mateo County’s first park has been a family hiking and camping destination for nearly a century.
There are a multitude of picnicking and camping spots, as well as trails along the redwoods, where you can relax and enjoy the serenity of the park. In addition to reservable sites, the park boasts a number of other activities, including a swimming hole in Pescadero Creek, campfire programs, naturalist walks and movies in the park on weekends during the summer. There are also exhibits in the visitor center, which is open daily May through September.
Memorial Park also connects with other parks in the region, including Pescadero Creek and San McDonald, to create a larger park complex with over 8,000 acres of open space to explore. Despite its location deep in the redwoods of the Santa Cruz mountains, Memorial Park is less than an hour away from most cities in San Mateo County.
Memorial Park’s trails house a variety of plant and animal life. Many tree and plant species can be seen in the park, including huckleberry, poison oak, ferns, redwood sorrel and horsetail. Animals, including banana slugs, racoons, Steller’s jays, squirrels, woodpeckers and skunks are abundant in the park. Pescadero Creek is a winter home for steelhead trout as they migrate upstream to spawn before moving back to the ocean in the spring.
The Santa Cruz Mountains and Memorial Park are also home to the marbled murrelet, a small species of seabird identified as threatened in California under the Endangered Species Act. These birds spend half of their year near the ocean, but go inland to nest in the limbs of old-growth redwoods from April to September.