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!

2 months ago

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.

2 months ago

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.

4 months ago

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

7 months ago

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.