Bike the Cowell-Purisima Coastal Trail

Rate this Adventure San Francisco Cowell Ranch State Beach

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Scenic Coastal Trail. Abundant Wildlife. Duration: 6 miles. Avoid the crowds with this lesser-known secluded beach.

This trail begins at the Cowell State Beach parking lot and is only open on the weekends. From the lot, take the short Cowell Ranch Access trail to a scenic overlook. There are steps down to the secluded pocket beach just above the main trail. The trail playfully meanders along the cliffside with views of the ocean on your right and the Santa Cruz Mountains on your left. You will cross three beautifully constructed pedestrian bridges as you navigate the trail. The trail is relatively flat and actually handicap accessible until the steep canyon at Purisima Creek. After about three miles, the trail ends at a beautiful bluff-top scenic overlook. This is a great place to have a picnic, but be warned that there is poison oak just off the trail. There is no loop option so you must go back the same way you came.

There is no shortage of wildlife on this hike. There are almost always Harbor Seals on the rocks just below the trail and there will be a variety of birds gliding overhead.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Snack or Lunch
  • Bike
  • Photography Gear
  • Tent for beach chilling
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Activities:

Chillin, Mountain Biking, Photography

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Year Round

Features:

Adult Beverages
Bathrooms
Beach
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Groups
Handicap Accessible
Picnic Area
River
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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Added by Jake Young

Adventurer, Photographer, Impact Investor. I work with companies that want to have a positive impact on the world around them.

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