Purisima Charisma

Hundred-foot redwoods, a shaded canyon, and views overlooking Half Moon Bay. This 10-mile loop hike in Purisima Creek…

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Hundred-foot redwoods, a shaded canyon, and views overlooking Half Moon Bay. This 10-mile loop hike in Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve is a roller coaster of uphill and downhill along with easygoing stretches through some of the Bay Area’s most beautiful landscape.

Get an early start and set out from the main trailhead on Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35). It’s a downhill ramble along Harkins Ridge Trail with excellent views of the San Mateo Coast, Half Moon Bay, and Pillar Point.

After a couple of miles you’ll be at Purisima Creek, a generally tranquil spot to take a break and dip your toes in the water. Relax under the canopy of sycamores and second-growth redwoods (all the originals were logged in the early 1900s).

Make a gradual climb up the Purisima Creek Trail—conveniently shaded—before veering onto the skinny, canyon-hugging Craig Britton Trail. Traverse among more beautiful redwoods and across wooden bridges before the final huff and puff back up to the trailhead.

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Start at Purisima Creek Redwoods trailhead on Skyline Blvd. (Hwy. 35), 4.5 miles south of Hwy. 92. Pick up a map at the kiosk. Take the North Ridge Trail and Harding Ridge Trail all the way down to Purisima Creek. Cross the bridge and continue up the Purisima Creek Trail for 2.3 miles. Make a left on Craig Britton Trail and go 2.6 miles. At Harkins Ridge Trail make a right and climb 1.4 miles back to the trailhead. No dogs.

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