All Stories from Peninsula & South Bay

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    Views Fit for a King

    This 6-miler has it all: interesting sandstone formations, wide blue views of the Pacific, and a glistening waterfall. Castle Rock State Park is a popular treasure of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

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    Crushin' on Russian Ridge

    We can't always guarantee timing, but wildflowers love Russian Ridge. In spring this park can be a tapestry of colors, but even if the flower power isn't full on, the views sure are!

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    Mellow Mavericks

    It’s a site famous for the Mavericks surfing competition, but even without the massive swells, Pillar Point still has plenty to get excited about. Including a short hike with beautiful coastal views and striking sunset scenery.

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    Ciao Bello!

    Rising 2,800 feet over the Peninsula’s Monte Bello Open Space Preserve, Black Mountain quietly stands watch over the South Bay. The 2-mile exposed hiking trail is a feast for the eyes.

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    Big Love!

    Every year in winter elephant seals converge on one of their favorite breeding grounds, 13 miles south of Pescadero on the San Mateo coast: Año Nuevo State Park.

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    That's the Point!

    Mori Point, an exposed promontory in Pacifica with stunning ocean views, is fantastic for winter whale watching.

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    Opt for Oljon

    There's a new hiking trail among the redwoods at El Corte Madera Creek Preserve in the South Bay.

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    Sweeping Beauty

    If you like edgy, windswept, impossibly romantic coastal vistas, then do the short hike on Wilbur’s Watch Trail near Pescadero. The goal: Find the lone bench at the end of the continent.

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    Golden Valley

    Crisp fall days can bring out the best in the rolling hills of Pacifica. And the Valley View Trail at San Pedro Valley County Park is particularly fetching with autumn’s warm lighting making the scenery glow on a 2-mile loop hike.

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    Superb in the Burbs

    Tucked behind a suburb on the Peninsula, Pillar Point Bluff County Park is a slice of coastal paradise, with its 220 acres of ocean-bluff beauty. Hike the 1.4-mile Jean Lauer Trail loop for some sweet coastal views.

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    Arastradero Is an A+

    Pearson-Arastradero Preserve just might be the perfect place for feeling swept away while not being far away at all. Easily accessed off busy Highway 280, preserve has over 10 miles of trails

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    New Castle on the Peninsula

    Castle Rock State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains is giving hikers the royal treatment with a brand-new park entrance. The Robert C. Kirkwood entrance and visitors center is exactly what you might demand from a Silicon Valley favorite outdoor space: free Wi-Fi, downloadable…

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    Bear Necessity!

    There’s an ancient forest that’s been given a new lease on life and just opened to the public in June! Bear Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve is ideal for summer hiking thanks to shaded trails that keep things cooler. Monarch butterflies flitter about, woodpeckers are drumming…

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    Crystal Clear

    Sitting juxtaposed to busy Highway 280 on the Peninsula, Crystal Springs Reservoir is a big, glistening, two-lake treasure worthy of more than a drive-by affair. Fed by High Sierra water piped from Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy, this tranquil oasis is best seen by biking the Crystal…

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    Pulgas Party

    If your idea of a good summer party is hitting the trails, then Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve makes a very festive venue. Bursting with colorful wildflowers and exuberant wildlife, this locals’ favorite (tucked away in a San Carlos suburb) seems to be celebrating right now…

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    Meditative Woodlands Hike

    Relaxation apps and calming soundtracks are nice, but stepping outdoors for this meditation hike in the redwoods is better! This 2-mile (round-trip) hike on the Dean Trail at Huddart Park winds you through woodland and a redwood forest, alongside a seasonal creek and to an…

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    Tiptoe Time

    You won’t need a lot of fancy footwork to hike the short distance to Tiptoe, but you will want some water-resistant hiking shoes to reach this lovely oasis hidden away in Portola Redwoods State Park. Set deep in the lush coastal forest of the Santa Cruz Mountains, this 2,800-acre…

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    From Peak to Beach

    Morning on the mountain, afternoon at the beach, and in between both: banner ocean views. It’s all within 3 miles’ reach on the Peninsula when you get an early start at Montara State Beach. From the parking lot, beeline for Montara Mountain’s north peak trailhead, which is across…

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    Feather Mix

    Nestled between a Silicon Valley tech giant and Moffett Airfield there’s a pool party where feathers are flying! At 55 acres, Stevens Creek Shoreline Nature Study Area has a recent addition: the Moffett Field Bay Trail. To get to the preserve, take the gravel path at the Kite…

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    Sensational Sempervirens

    The redwoods aren’t the only “big” things at Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Right now the waterfalls are big, too! Sempervirens Falls is a quick 3.4-mile (round-trip) out-and-back hike that rambles through an old growth forest to a plunging waterfall. From the park headquarters…

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