The Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park.
If you’ve been procrastinating on a planned tree planting, today (Arbor Day!) is your opportunity to finally check it off your list. Or if digging a hole in the ground for a tiny sapling sounds uninspiring, here are five places around the Bay Area with tried-and-true trees to check out this weekend.
1. Muir Woods—Duh. These majestic redwoods are only 11 miles north of San Francisco. Such proximity means dealing with other city-escaping crowds, but you don’t have to drive as far as the Avenue of the Giants to see some sky-scraping trees, so that seems like a fair trade. Keep an eye out for talking primates while you’re there (Rise of the Planet of the Apes? Anyone?).
2. Big Basin State Park—Located between San Jose and Santa Cruz, California’s oldest state park might be farther from San Francisco than Muir Woods, but it has some fine-looking trees and tent cabins (mostly wood, with mesh panels) that house up to eight people. $75 a night.
3. The Presidio forest—An iconic monument to Arbor Day: The entire forest was planted on Arbor Days long ago. The Army started planting trees in the Presidio in the late 1800s with the goal of creating a visual divide between the base and the city of San Francisco. Unnatural, perhaps, but still very scenic.
4. Japanese Tea Garden—Last Monday, Mayor Ed Lee and Consul General of Japan Hiroshi Inomata planted a cherry blossom tree in Golden Gate Park’s Japanese Tea Garden to honor the 100th anniversary of the first cherry blossom tree presented to the United States. The garden’s array of cherry blossoms are in bloom primarily in April, so get out there this weekend!
5. The city—San Francisco itself has a lot of trees worthy of perusal. But which ones? Local tree enthusiast Mike Sullivan, author of Trees of San Francisco, has compiled an expansive list of trees around the city and their precise locations. The list contains hundreds of entries, but Sullivan has helpfully marked the “particularly spectacular” ones in green.
Have a verdant arbor day!