No. 35: Joaquin Miller Park, Big Trees Trail and Sequoia-Bayview Trail

Big Trees Trail, Joaquin Miller Park

The Big Trees Trail in Joaquin Miller Park is a quiet alternative to the crowded Sequoia Bayview Trail.

By noon, the Sequoia Bayview trailhead was parked full from one blind curve to the next. So I continued along Skyline another half-mile to the poorly-marked Big Trees/Orchard trailhead. (Look for two green trash bins and a message board.) The first hundred yards or so of the trail heading north are badly maintained asphalt, but the unpaved Big Trees Trail swerves to the left.

At first, it is broad and well-marked, but it quickly shrinks to a single track and descends to the Sequoia-Bayview Trail in a series of gentle switchbacks. Even in its diminished state, it is possible for a pair of mountain bikers to pass me comfortably.

The more-popular trail is, as usual, full of runners, dog-walkers and a father herding a flock of toddlers. The air is crisp and has a hint of fall — and of grilling hot dogs. The ferns and berries along the trail are shrouded in dust kicked up over the course of a dry summer.

About a mile along, at the Sequoia trailhead, the Big Trees Trail heads left and up a moderate hill. This stretch, although the least-traveled by walkers, is only about 15 feet away from  Skyline Boulevard, and the swish of passing cars may be reassuring or annoying, depending on the mood of the observer. When you pass through the abandoned group picnic site, you’re close to home. The full loop is about two miles long.

Getting there: The Big Trees/Orchard trailhead is on Skyline Boulevard, between the entrance to Roberts Regional Recreation Area and the Sequoia Horse Arena.

Cool stuff in the neighborhood: The Chabot Space and Science Center.

More information: The Friends of Sausal Creek trail map.

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