Ashton B. on Whittemore Gulch and Harkins Ridge ...
Great hike. Went after a week of heavy rain and wind storms and the trails were all in tact, with just a handful of muddy spots. Be prepared for temperature change - its hot in the sun when you're in higher elevation, and very cold in the gulch. Speaking of elevation change - woof. Be prepared for a serious workout! I'd put this at the tougher end of "moderate."
Whittemore Gulch down was absolutely gorgeous with wonderful views of the bay, redwoods, and mountains. Saw tons of banana slugs, as well as some rabbits, birds, and squirrels. HOWEVER, took Hawkins Ridge back up was brutal, yet fun to complete and get through. Will be back.
Arrived to a near empty parking lot on a Tuesday in December at 10:30am. Steep descent into the gully, which is hard on my knees, but the redwoods were worth it. The Ocean views are pretty, but I would recommend this hike more for the moderate challenge and seclusion next to the bubbling creek among the giant Redwoods. By the time I left at 1:30pm, the parking lot was near full.
Did this trail in December, temp varied from mid 30s to low 50s in different parts, depending on how shaded or exposed the trail was. I ran the first 3 miles, which was fun. Gorgeous views, amazing landscapes, and beautiful redwoods. A lot of this trail felt surreal from how quiet and closed off it was. The trail itself was very technical, and some parts got extremely cold. That last 1.5 mile of steep uphill was a really tough way to end such a long hike! My legs were dead when I got to my car :P