Hike Purisima Creek Redwoods OSP

Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve - Search Nearby - Added by Ali Kim

A good workout with great views of the California coastline. This should take 2-4 hours (depending on pace).

There are two places to park for this specific loop- the main parking area on Highway 35 (Skyline Boulevard) and a smaller parking lot on the western end of the park. I would recommend parking at whichever is closest. Find directions to both on Openspace.org.

From the main parking lot, the trail is easy to find. Take it down (there are technically two ways to go- one 0.3mi long and the other 0.5mi- but both lead to the same place). Once you get to the trail junction, turn left and follow signs to the Harkins Ridge Trail. The trail is flat for about half a mile and then begins to descend. This stretch also offers great views out toward the ocean! After descending about 1000ft, you'll enter a dense redwood forest and walk alongside a stream for a bit before arriving at the other parking lot (which has a restroom if needed). From here, take the Whittemore Gulch Trail back up the ridge. This part is relatively taxing as you climb up an incline for about 2 miles (ascending the 1000ft you lost coming down). If you want an even better workout, jog up! The incline is steep enough that you're working hard, but it's completely doable. After 2 miles, follow signs to the North Ridge Trail, and take that (enjoying the views along the way) until you reach the trail junction you started at. From there just climb back up to the parking lot!

If you park in the western most parking lot you can follow the same loop, just with the uphill portion first (take the Whittemore Gulch Trail to the North Ridge Trail then to the Harkins Ridge Trail and back)!

Additionally, there are a bunch of other trails in this preserve; feel free to explore a little! The trail map can be found on the website listed above, or at the main parking lot.

Distance

7 Miles RT

Type

Loop

Activities

Fitness, Running, Hiking

Bathrooms
Family Friendly
Forest
Scenic
Wildlife

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Outsite // Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, California

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Stunning Beauty

Absolutely magnificent getaway from the city! A pristine, non-touristy place to refresh your body and spirit!

Maybe Not For Beginners

I wanted to get some friends into hiking, and so I picked out the spot thanks to it being so local and expansive. The trail itself is amazing with a great variety of slopes... but wow can it be quite grueling. Some challenging inclines can wear beginners out quick. I’ll be returning but probably solo for a while!

Great Workout

Did this loop in reverse from the skyline parking lot and the way back up really gives your legs (and lungs) a good workout. I agree with a previous reviewer, this loop is probably more intermediate, but it's doable for a beginner if you remember to bring water and take your time. Great wildlife as well! Saw many banana slugs, lizards, and even a newt and snake on trail (so watch your step)!

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