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Purisima Creek Redwoods

Open space preserve in the Midpeninsula region.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 7 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview :  The preserve is located on the weestern slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking Half Moon Bay. The open space features not only... more »

Tips:  During the summer, this area can be quite hot, reaching temperatures well into the 90s.

The preserve is open from dawn until one... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Parking

Plentiful parking options here at the northern skyline entrance. There are free maps provided at the trailhead as well, make sure and grab one!

2. Switchbacks down the North Ridge Trail

The other route is much steeper, and these switchbacks take you through a nicely shaded area to start off the hike!

3. North Ridge

If you have more time, this non-looping trail (The North Ridge Trail) should produce a spectacular view of the coast and surrounding western Santa Cruz slopes.

4. Switchbacks down to the Gulch

One can begin to hear the creek bubbling through the woods around this area, as well as some small chirping birds.

5. The Gulch

Using the Whittemore Gulch Trail is a very friendly and gentle way to reach the Higgins Canyon Road. The area has plenty of shade and the trail is gentle and wide. There are quite a few blossoming flowers as well as plentiful green shrubbery abounding at every corner. The redwood trees are mostly healthy and tall which is one of my favorite... More

6. Gate into the Whittemore Gulch Trail

Around this area is a fence that prevents larger vehicles from entering this section of the trail. It is quite a transition into an open area where greenery and flowers abound!

7. Bridge to the trail

This large bridge connects the area of Higgins Canyon Road and Purisima Creek Road and the parking there with the Whittemore Gulch Trail, The Harkins Ridge Trail, and the Purisima Creek Trail.

8. Fireroad ascent

This area has a much steeper grade and it might be best to travel on this trail heading west, and loop around using the other trails.

9. Views of Half Moon bay

The hike up to the ridge via The Harkins Ridge Trail provides some fantastic overlooks of the surrounding area!

10. The trail back from the ridge

The 0.6 to get back to the North Ridge Parking lot is a simple and interesting cut along the hillside that returns you to the North Ridge Trail.