It’s huge. When you first see Methuselah, it’s hard to fully comprehend what you’re looking at. It’s so massive compared to the other trees in the forest it seems like it should have a different descriptor – it feels like more than just a “tree”.
After the initial shock of simply comprehending the size of this thing, you begin to really see exactly what it is you’re looking at. The sign at the foot of the tree helps, too. It estimates the tree to be over 1,800 years old. Yeah, sit with that a second.
So why am I telling you this story? Methuselah’s story is the story of our open spaces. To know these stories is to know and love this place.
Let’s take a trip through time and hear what Methuselah has to say:
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Sunday Drive: Methuselah Tree an old soul on the Peninsula
What you’ll see: A beautiful winter drive on the Peninsula’s Skyline can be crowned by a short walk to the giant Methuselah Tree. Day after day, many drive right by without a clue. The Methuselah Tree is a giant redwood, one of the biggest by diameter in the Bay Area.
Location: The Methuselah Tree is located on Highway 35, which most call Skyline Boulevard, on the Peninsula. The exact site is on the east side of Skyline 3.3 miles north from Sky Londa and Alice’s Restaurant and 0.5 of a mile south of the Caltrans’ Skeggs Vista Point.
What to look for: There is no sign along Skyline that says “Methuselah Tree.” Instead, you will see a pullout for parking along Skyline, with a gated trailhead, CM02, on the west side of the road for El Corte de Madera Open Space Preserve. This is where you park. You then cross the road to the east side of Skyline to find the short path, edged by a wood railing.
The Methuselah Tree: It takes only a few minutes to see this Bay Area icon. A dirt path enters forest, then quickly turns left down a set of wood stairs, where you can peer up at the giant tree. You then climb steps a short distance to the base. The diameter, at the base above the burls, is 14 feet, with a circumference of 44 feet. This is the biggest redwood on the north Peninsula. The Open Space District estimates the tree is 1,800 years old.
Recreation option: On the west side of Skyline, along the pullout on the road’s shoulder, is a trailhead for the Methuselah Trail. From here, it is 1.2 miles (you must connect three trails), one way, to the Tafoni, one of the best examples of a honeycombed sandstone monolith in the Bay Area. A map is a must, available in a box at the trailhead. The primary staging area, with a restroom, for El Corte de Madera Open Space Preserve is 0.5 of a mile to the south.
Cost: Free parking, access.
Map/brochure: In box at trailhead on west side of Skyline; PDF at www.openspace.org.
How to get there
From San Francisco: Take Interstate 280 south for 21 miles to the exit for Highway 35/Bunker Hill Road (also signed for Highway 92 west). Take that exit, continue 0.2 of a mile to the frontage road, turn left and go 1.1 miles to Highway 92 (stoplight). Turn right on 92 and drive west 2 miles up the hill to the crest and a left turn lane for Highway 35/Skyline. Turn left and drive 9.1 miles (0.5 of a mile past Skeggs Vista Point) to parking along the road’s shoulder adjacent to Gate CM02, on the right.
From East Bay: Take Highway 92 west to Crystal Springs and continue to the crest at Skyline. Turn left on Skyline and drive 9.1 miles (0.5 of a mile past Skeggs Vista Point) to parking along the road’s shoulder adjacent to Gate CM02, on the right.
From the Peninsula: Take Highway 280 to Highway 84. Turn west on Highway 84 and drive about 7 miles (through Woodside, becomes curvy) to Sky Londa and Highway 35 (Skyline Boulevard). Turn right (north) and drive 3.3 miles (0.5 of a mile past the main parking area for El Corte de Madera Open Space Preserve on the left) to parking along the road’s shoulder.
Distances: 3.3 miles from Sky Londa/Alice’s Restaurant, 14 miles from Half Moon Bay, 14 miles from Palo Alto, 32 miles from Hayward, 33 miles from downtown San Francisco, 40 miles from Sausalito.
Contacts: Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, (650) 691-1200, www.openspace.org.