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today I covered this loop except I started from South parking lot of purisma which is by skyline Blvd hwy 35. There are space for about 12 cars. however this entrance is much less popular and only have couple of cars Wednesday morning at 10:30. from here it's a gentle 1.8 miles downhill fire road to intersection of Craig Britton trail. once down to purisma creek, it's a flat trail all the way to Higgins road trail head which is pretty popular with about 12 cars parked. the flat creek trail has more people, I ran into 10 hikers and one biker. at early November, the creek is still flowing, a little miracle for peninsula. from Higgins to Harkins ridge trail is mostly exposed and hence dusty just like other south Bay trails. from this point to intersection of Craig Britton trail is all uphill with couple of steep sections. this part of Harkins ridge trail is not pleasant. then comes the beautiful part once I turn into Craig Britton trail which is gentle downhill narrower hiker only trail. it's in the redwood Grove and shady all the way. this trail is as enjoyable as the flat creek trail. there are fewer people on either Harkins ridge or Craig Britton trail. then I turned back to South parking lot. this route is 10.7 miles long with 2297 feet up and 2297 downhill according to Google maps. Google estimate 4.5 hours for the route. it took me 5.2 hours. it's a good hike.

Really good hike. The hike gets really steep towards the north peak. Recommended to do it early in the day so you are done by noon.

mountain biking
13 days ago

Great trail for intermediate mountain biking. A few tough spots but well worth the ride to Berry Creek falls. Saw plenty of friendly hikers and a few other bikers.

Challenging on the uphill with a few switch backs over drainages. Mile 5 is when you hit Doe Trail to Goat Trail - a gentle down hill with lazy S turns. Footing was solid for narrow trails. I’m excited to check it out again.

Love this trail!

Hike was better than I expected. Even though it is not a rain season, still pretty good waterfalls. Curiously my GPS showed roundtrip to be just under 15 miles. Not sure how to account for discrepancy.

Some pictures:
https://flic.kr/s/aHsmsFqQSk

Very pretty views, and the cows are fun, too.

Interesting trail because you go up and then down adn then back up again. Would do it again.

Steep and beautiful views.

Very steep coming up or down from parking area...but not so steep that I had to slide on my butt.

Great trail. There are a few short sections of the trail that look like they could wash out with a good rain or two so might avoid around then. Tons of shade and enjoyed walking through the trees. Very little traffic

Beautiful, well maintained trails and a decent workout. My dog loves it too, especially since no bikes allowed on these trails. Nisene Marks holds a special place in my heart, it is just magical.

Hidden gem sandwiched in between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay. Beautiful coastal views. Not as hectic as other over hyped trails in the area. Nice Fresh air. You might spot a whale or two on the lower end.

This trail is pretty nice, good variety of things to see, including some good views, but I agree with Ryan H. that it would have been even nicer in the spring when the creekbeds weren't dry. "Moderate" is an optimistic difficulty rating, I've done "Hard" trails that were easier than this. It's long, with lots of uphill, and I was relieved that I wasn't backpacking to the campground. We left + returned from Ben Ries campground which allowed us to skip the steep downhill on Nuevo.

Beautiful and eerie pre-dawn October run up Montara Mountain. After heading out from the TH, I dropped down a bit and took the old road around a half mile in. About 2 miles in to the climb the trail gets a bit steep, but is non-technical and easy to follow even in the dark. I continued to climb up through and above the marine layer, feeling like I was in the Lost Boys. After about 4 miles, I reached the North Peak and took the fast decent back down.

Resumed hiking after 2 years with this one. We also followed counter clockwise. About 4 hours we completed with few stops. It was difficult but I was able to complete. falls, birds, redwoods and you will enjoy.

great hike!

We went for Hamms Gulch Trail in and out but we ended up doing a loop , Hamms Gulch & Spring Ridge Trail back.
Hamms started a little boring for the first 0.4 miles but after that was pretty decent through mixed forest and plenty of shade. Toward the end we reached the highest level where it was Windy Hills Summit. Breathtaking views from San Francisco down to San Jose.
From that point we ended up taking the Spring Trail back to our initial departure.
The loop was shy off 7 miles (6.7 miles).

Go all the way to the end of trail above the tunnel if you want some more great views

Scenery: 3
Views: 4
Difficulty: 3.5
Crowds: 3
Shade: 2'5

My 1-5 Rating Scale Comparisons for above:
5 for Scenery; Mcway Falls Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP
4.5 for Scenery: Berry Creek Falls Big Basin State Park
4 for Scenery: Steep Ravine Trail

5 for Views: Nimitz Trail Tilden Park
5 for Views: Ridge Trail San Bruno Mtn Park
4.5 for Views Montara Mtn Summit San Pedro County Park
4 for Views Rancho Canada Del Oro Bald Peaks trail

5 for Difficulty: Junipero Serra Peak
4 for Difficulty: Mount El Sombroso Loop Trail

hiking
1 month ago

Some of the trail is a fire road, it’s when you get into about 3 miles in that you have to take off of the fire road and venture into the woods. I did get lost a couple of times because the trail is covered with leaves fallen tees and not really noticeable in some parts. You should see a few redwood groves marked with signs along the trail I suggest having the map downloaded or having a fully charged phone so you don’t get lost. Also there is no cellphone service for most of the way so you will only be able to use gps most of the way. There was no real “peak” which was disappointing but it was a nice isolated trail. I did see a mountain lion about 1.6 miles in so make sure to bring your bear spray! I would definitely do it again.

hiking
1 month ago

Scenery: 3
Views: 4
Difficulty: 3
Crowds: 2
Shade: 1

My 1-5 Rating Scale Comparisons for above:
5 for Scenery; Mcway Falls Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP
4.5 for Scenery: Berry Creek Falls Big Basin State Park
4 for Scenery: Steep Ravine Trail

5 for Views: Nimitz Trail Tilden Park
5 for Views: Ridge Trail San Bruno Mtn Park
4.5 for Views Montara Mtn Summit San Pedro County Park
4 for Views Rancho Canada Del Oro Bald Peaks trail

5 for Difficulty: Junipero Serra Peak
4 for Difficulty: Mount El Sombroso Loop Trail

Not bad of a hike... the only thing it’s dry and your exposed most of the time to the sun. I think it’s a great fall winter early spring hike. I think it can be too hot in the summer tho!

Solid hike - easy to find TH but not much parking. The good - really amazing views, not a ton of people and enough ups & downs for a solid workout. Keeping from a 5 star - 2+ miles paved road and coming down "the mile" trail was pretty steep with a ton of gravel

hiking
1 month ago

A bit tough. I’d take everyone’s advice and do counterclockwise, we unfortunately did the opposite per the rangers suggestion and we only saw one other couple doing it this way. Much easier doing it counterclockwise and I know why now. Beautiful place and waterfalls are amazing to see.

I really enjoyed this trail on a beautiful, late summer day -- wildlife, wildflowers and gorgeous views of the coast were among the highlights. At the beginning, I chose to go up "the Mile" which runs alongside the main trail. This was a little more challenging, but provided nicer views of the coast. Just be careful because this is an active downhill bike trail. I didn't have any issues, but the terrain could be a little tricky in spots. Otherwise, the trail itself was pretty easy to navigate. Besides the bikers, I had the trail almost entirely to myself on a Sunday, and the bikers I encountered were respectful. Downsides: The paved parts and the utility wires were a bit of a drag, but the beauty of the trail made up for it. If doing again, I'd skip the Boyscout trail, which was an active mountain bike course, and just go back the way I came up. The part of the trail that includes a bit of out & back -- I recommend turning back sooner than what's indicated on the map, as the trail begins to degrade and there isn't much new to see.

Got right up on the North Ridge- way above the fog

We (my wife, 30, and me, 38) did this trail yesterday, 8th September, but went a little further to the east to not have to hike through the community.

It took us nearly 4 hours with a short break to do the 9.6 miles loop, which was downhill for about 5.5 and uphill from there on. Going through forest and some open places, where we got quite some sun yesterday. Temperature got really high then, reaching nearly 100°.

There were nearly any other people during the hike so it was quite relaxed. And there are quite some nice views. But that is it for the positive side.

Things we did not like:
- trail is difficult to follow (thank you stranger for putting up your orange hints)
- bugs and mosquitoes all the time (take repellent with you during this time of year)
- gun fire can be heard all the time

PS: quite often you will have no network coverage, so downloading the track beforehand is a good idea.

Fantastic hike that will kick your butt!

Love it!!! just so nature!!!

Arrived before 10 on labor day and there was some parking available. There is parking near the trail-head past the first restroom.

We did this clockwise and it provides a nice gentle slope up so as not to be too strenuous.

Lots of redwoods, shade, and slugs. I can see that in the winter there may be running streams but not at the end of summer.

Overall, beautiful, quiet, not many others, and cool. A moderate hike due to length (add the walk from the first bathroom and we did about 9 miles).

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