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More trees, please: Redwoods are swell, but the crowds gathering to gawk at them? Not very peaceful. Here are three spots to see the giants without hordes of tourists.

EAST BAY

The second-growth forest at Redwood Regional Park provides a quiet respite from the buzz of downtown Oakland, just 15 minutes away. The coolest route is the shaded 3.5-mile Stream Trail, which follows Redwood Creek, where rainbow trout spawn come spring. $5/vehicle; 7867 Redwood Rd., Oakland; ebparks.org

NORTH BAY

Though a lumberman, James Armstrong knew the Russian River Valley's old-growth giants were special. So in the 1870s, he helped set aside Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve as a park. The oldest tree, Colonel Armstrong, was a seedling when Europe was in the Dark Ages. $8/vehicle; 17000 Armstrong Woods Rd., Guerneville; parks.ca.gov

PENINSULA

Thornewood Open Space Preserve encompasses 1.5 miles of predominantly redwood-lined hiking and dog-walking trails. For a vigorous trek, take the new Bridle Trail from Old La Honda Road a mile to Schilling Lake. Limited parking at the Old La Honda Rd. trailhead, 0.3 mile west of Portola Rd., Woodside; openspace.org

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Getting to Felton

It's on State 9, 7 miles north of Santa Cruz.

SHARE YOUR WEEKEND FINDS. Favorite forest hikes? Email your suggestions to the weekend guide editor at waeditor@sunset.com

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Publication:Sunset
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2011
Words:196
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Next Article:Trek and treat: it's not like you need a reason to hike the region's most breathtaking trails. But here are three good ones just the same.
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