Hike the Methuselah and El Corte De Madera Creek Loop

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Explore the rarely visited lower canyons of the El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve. Along the hike, you will pass tranquil streams, witness views of the ocean, and see a sandstone rock formation.

This loop hike will provide people with the opportunity to experience the tranquility of the lower canyons of the preserve, which tend to be more isolated than the heavier-trafficked trails that are closer to the main highway.

Be warned that this hike is fairly strenuous because of the large amount of elevation change.

Starting from the Methuselah trail gate, head downhill, passing through a forest full of live oak, madrone, Douglas fir, and redwood trees. At the first trail intersection, turn right and continue on the Methuselah trail. After 0.2 miles, turn left to remain on the Methuselah trail. The trail will continue to drop down into a forested canyon full of redwoods, and soon you will hear the sounds of a trickling creek. Crossing a set of bridges, you will get to experience the beauty of the giant redwood trees while immersing yourself in the sound of the stream. The trail now begins a long uphill climb out of the redwoods into a Douglas fir and madrone forest. Continue on the Methuselah trail until the intersection with the Fir trail. Turn left, and begin to hike up the steep incline. Near the top of the Fir trail, you will be rewarded with views of the surrounding hills covered with forests and grasslands. After about 0.8 miles, you will come upon an offshoot of the trail to the left, bringing you to a vista point that on clear days will give you spectacular views of the ocean. Once finished, retrace your steps and hike along the Fir trail until the next trail intersection. Turn left on the Tafoni trail, heading towards a towering Tafoni sandstone rock formation. Signs will mark the trail that will lead down to a viewing platform, allowing you to witness the formation's grandeur.  Come back up this short trail and turn right to go downhill on the Tafoni trail for 0.8 of a mile, walking through a dense forest. At the next trail intersection, turn right on the El Corte de Madera Creek trail. Staying on this trail brings you into a canyon that again allows you to experience the beautiful creek, but this time at a different spot. After 1.3 miles, the El Corte de Madera Creek trail will turn into the North Leaf trail, which follows the side of a forested ridge and has relatively little elevation change. Another 0.7 miles will finally bring you back to the trail that you first hiked on. Take this to return to where you parked your car. 

Pack List

Always be prepared when going on a hike. Here are a few suggested items to bring with you:

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RT Distance 6.2 Miles
Elevation Gain 1800 Feet
Activities Photography, Mountain Biking, Running, Hiking, Fitness
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Features
Forest
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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