trail running


nature trips

dogs on leash



kid friendly

Butano State Park, situated in the Santa Cruz Mountains midway between Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay, is prized for the diversity of its habitats and wildlife, and for the depth of its solitude. Many visitors to Butano- thought to be named after a drinking cup made from a bull’s horn- find it the perfect place to shed everyday stresses. Nature’s vital processes can be seen everywhere. The unusual bend of a redwood tree tells the story of a long-ago earthquake. Elsewhere, the root of an alder tree begins eight feet up its trunk before reaching the ground, revealing the history of flooding in this area. The Candelabra redwood tree, with five huge branches jutting upright parallel to the trunk, is an odd natural phenomenon on a parcel recently added to the park. Those who take the time to stroll along a park trail or set up a tent will discover the beauty and solace of one of California’s least-known parks. The park is on the San Mateo Coast, off Highway One. Three miles northeast of the Gazos Creek Coastal Access Point by way of Gazos Creek Road, and about 4.5 miles southeast of Pescadero by way of the Pescadero and Cloverdale Roads. The Day Use Annual Pass is accepted at this park.

Jan 17 trip - muddy and slippery with rain in the last 24hrs, although great park and can't wait to come back with better conditions! Moderate when dry. Hard when wet.

More trails to choose from in State Park!

it was very quiet, campground closed for the season. clean park. easy to find Butano SP. $10 day fee for parking, bring cash. dog did pick up a couple ticks.

steep incline with switch backs. great view out to the ocean. bridge to Six Bridge Trail washed out at entrance near entrance booth, use picnic area to access.

Great fun. Nice little climb.

Dogs are only allowed on paved roads and the fire roads.So we followed the Olmo Fire road for an out and back trail. We went in November, just after the first fall rains. The trail can be quite challenging due to rapid elevation gains in places. You have to ascend rapidly to get to the rim of the park. The start of the trail is obviously an old road (some paving is here and there) but when you cross the Goat Hill trail the first time, the track narrows and keeps narrowing, becoming overgrown, but still well-marked.

This was a pretty, shaded trail. It most definitely is NOT a difficult hike--maybe moderate difficulty at best (worst?). Either way, I do highly recommend this, but it's important to mention that this area is really used by Portola Valley residents and so there's really no place for plebeians to park. Having said that, it's scarcely hiked and the few folks we saw on the hike were very friendly. :)

Beautiful. Not very crowded and a good amount of park to explore. We went on the Little Butano Creek Trail

Very well maintained trail, and I didn't see many people her either (on a Sunday afternoon). I started at the Ano Nuevo trailhead near the park entrance, and went on to the Goat hill and Little Butano Creek trails, coming back to the parking lot.

Nice little park tucked away off the 1 and you'd hardly know it's there. We did Ox Mill to Jackson Flats to Butano Fire Rd to Indian and Goat Hill and Olmo Fire Rd then added four miles by taking the out-and-back Candelabra Trail to Gazos Rd. Returned to descend the steep Año Nuevo Trail for a 14.3-mile loop in about 5 hours including a lunch break. Saw only a couple other folks although it was a Monday. Generally forest canopy with short pockets of sun though most of the fire roads are fully exposed. Overall, many of these trails are moderately flat but there are tougher long climbs as well. Fun park if you're looking to beat weekend crowds at Big Basin SP.

And if you pass by Goat Hill Trail, take it, quite a lovely scene, so peaceful and flat. Great way to end the loop.

Quite a lovely trail, and very narrow (which I personally love). Nice flora, and there are stretches of Madrone trees that spiral copper and silver. Absolutely awesome trees to see, and worth taking the trail just to see these. Almost completely covered in forest canopy, with the exception of the fire roads along the top ridge of the mountain. It happened to rain for a bit along our hike (I know, the one day in the last 8 months it rains and we're stuck all the way at the top of the friggin mountain lol). Otherwise, very nice trail, with some decent uphills.

1 year ago

This was an excellent trail. I backpacked in to the trail campsite, a couple had wasps, but the one I stayed in (camps 7/8) were wasp free.

on Mill Ox Trail

2 years ago

LOVED this trail. Very steep in the beginning but it's over quickly and the rest is just gorgeous. Lots of redwoods, lots of ferns, lots of banana slugs!! Once you come out of the short jaunt on the mill ox TRAIL it spits you out onto the Butano fire road which you follow all the way up to sweeping views of the redwood forest and on a clear day you can see the ocean. It's quite spectacular. Follow the Jackson Flats Trail back down through the redwoods. It's very cool and serene, lots of moss and tiny babbling creeks. LOVED this hike and the woman at the front kiosk was very helpful and friendly. Parking was 10$ and well worth it. Wear some layers if it's an overcast day because the redwoods make for a chilly damp environment.

Started off on Ano Nuevo Trail. Brutal up hill climb if ur not in the best of shape. However upon completion of this 1.3 mile adventure, everything else was a breeze. My partner and I did get a tad lost (wrong turn) so were unable to explore the many trails that are connected with one another. But we look forward to returning back again real soon!

I was here with 2 other guys this weekend (8/30/13) we took 3 trails up to the trail camp Jackson flats to canyon to Indian and up to camp 5.5ish miles there's a few things to know about this trail there's no water there are streams but they don't really run in summer and 2 its a good hike for me (5'8 250 with a 50 lb pack) it was a challenge but very doable for one of the guys (5'6 160 with a 40 lb pack) in my party not so much he was pretty much dying the whole trip up had to stop for him around 20 or so times and we had to come back a day early because he didn't pack in enough water so what I'm getting at is its not for the inexperienced /out of shape camper .......on to the positive seclusion we didn't see a single person on the trail or in camp beautiful views lots of shade fun hike great camp with a pit toilet camps 8 and 5 have log benches and tables if you hike up to olmo fire road there are beautiful views of the forest

This place is beautiful. I came here all the time as a kid; some of my most fond childhood memories were spent in Butano. It is a good hike and of course kids can do it too :)

This place is beautiful. I came here all the time as a kid; some of my most fond childhood memories. It is a good hike and of course kids can do it too :)

The Trails in Butano SP are some of the best Iv found in the central coast area. One of my favorite there would have to be Butano Creek trail, witch follows Little Butano Creek. the trail its self is only 1.5 miles but there are dozen other trails in the area you can take to make your trip longer.. Note Goat hill trail & Jackson Flats are also worth checking out

I spent a week Camping & Hiking with in Butano SP... there are a lot of trails ranging from easy to strenuous....the trails cover most of the park and out of the 6 days i was there i only ran into people 3 times while on the trails..Im going to go back to Butano in a few months to see how it looks in Fall as summer was beautiful

5 years ago

Nice short trail, one of the smallest in Butano SP, but what it lacks in size in make up for in the Beauty of the area around it, good trail for kids and beginners as you have to take the Olmo fire road to reach this trail, witch is a flat road most of the way in