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Sam McDonald’s Cabin Information

This moderate hike in the redwoods will take you through the original boundaries of the park and to the now vacant cabin where Sam McDonald once lived.

Watch for:

Look for banana slugs, deer, woodpeckers, several varieties of ferns, and California newts!

Hiking Details for Forest Loop Trail

Distance: 2.8-mile loop

Elevation change: 608′

Hiking time: 2 hours

Trail surface: Packed Dirt

Best Season: All year

Managing agency: San Mateo County Parks

Parking lot location: Click here for directions

Overview: A pilgrimage to Sam McDonald’s cabin is best started with a brief history lesson into the land’s namesake. Sam achieved many firsts for Black people in the Bay Area and this hike is your chance to pay homage to this local legend and see for yourself the generous legacy he left behind.

To visit Sam’s cabin, start from the main parking lot at Sam McDonald County Park and take this modified version of the moderate 2.6-mile Forest Loop Trail, which cuts through the original boundaries of the park:

Follow the Forest Trail to Old Stage Road. Continue on Old Stage Road past Trail Marker 2 (where you’ll see a few private residences near the creek). Sam’s cabin will be located just past Trail Marker 1. Head back along Old Stage Road, where you can backtrack or head down Uncle Man Road, which will connect to Youth Camp Trail — looping you back to the main parking lot.

Directions to Sam McDonald’s Cabin

The main parking lot at Sam McDonald County Park is located just off Pescadero Creek Road. From the parking lot, there are two trailheads. The Forest Trail trailhead is next to the ranger station and the Heritage Grove Trail trailhead, which requires you to cross Pescadero Creek Road, is by the picnic tables.

More About Sam McDonald County Park

Over the years, POST has contributed 126 acres to Sam McDonald County Park. One key piece of property was donated to POST in 1988 by Albert Wilson, a longtime friend of Sam McDonald and fellow Stanford staff. POST subsequently transferred the land to San Mateo County Parks for long-term management and protection.

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