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The hike took somewhere between 3 - 4 hours. It's short, pleasant, close to the city and had a good amount of parking on a Sunday at 10am. It didn't have extraordinary views or monumental points but was lightly trafficked, calming and just an enjoyable walk.

There is a good mix of shade and sun that was perfect. The most interesting part was how shaded and quite the woods are when you get to the bottom of the hike. There were areas that sunlight couldn't penetrate at tall making it feel like an outdoor cave.

There are two ways to approach this hike: gradual descent and a steep climb or the opposite. My friends and I took the long way down and saw a lot of people walking in reverse. The ascent was a bit steep but not killer by any means. Just a nice short workout.

The loop was 7.2 miles.
3.3 miles uphill 3.5 - 4.5 difficulty.
Next time would probably start at Purisima instead of North Ridge.
3.5 shade.
4 scenary.
Scale 1 to 5.

We end up doing Timberview - Giant Salamander - Methuselah loop.
A little over 6 miles.
Nice well shaded trails all the way.
Beautiful forest, large trail except Giant Salamander.
Downhill on Timberview then all the way uphill back.
Not too bad uphill, about 3 miles total.

Generally: easy-moderate trail, near SF in half-moon bay area with some views of the ocean, through redwood trees w some exposed ridge line, slightly less crowded than purisima loop from same trailhead
parking: free at trailhead and along road; road: paved all the way to trailhead
trail conditions: fairly well kept, wide, some trail some fireroad, not overgrown, very steep on the harkins ridge portion
scenery: some ocean views, some forest views, some redwood groves, overall decent bt not amazing

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

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

I had hoped to do the Whitemore Gulch and Purisma Creek Loop, but felt I was running out of daylight, and so came up the Harkness trail instead. I have to say it wasn't my favorite. After an initial pretty exposed portion along the beginning of North Ridge, this dips into pleasant shady Redwoods territory. Beside the beginning of the return loop near the creek -- where I saw a beautiful banana slug in the middle of the trail -- coming up the Harkness Ridge portion really was mostly a miserable slog in the heat. It might be better clockwise as others suggest, or early morning.

2 months ago

great moderate hiking.
Miramontes is close but you can navigate easy.
other than that is a great hike.

Nice tour belong Redwood, Oak and Eucalypt trees. Area needs some rain, though. Quite dusty trail.

We did this loop anticlock wise (good choice if you ask me). Some sunny spots coming back (the other half) but not bad at all.

This is a great hike. Started off of skyline and did Harkins ridge first since it was 9:30 am and already feeling the heat. It's even more beautiful once you are down in the groves. Take a few extra minutes and just sit there. Saw a handful+ of people but mostly had it to myself. I would say it is moderate to hard.

I love to do this hike but always do it in reverse. start and endon Purissima Creek Road. I like to get the hard work out of the way first and then coast downhill to finish

Hike was beautiful! We took Harkins Ridge down and Whittemore Gulch back up and managed to be in the shade a majority of the time.

hiking
3 months ago

Started from Skyline Blvd, arrived at 9:45 on a Sunday and the parking lot was full. However, the trails were fairly quiet, garbage free and sparcely populated. Whittemore Gulch Trail was beautiful: Redwoods, shady, ferns, etc, but all downhill. Harkins Ridge was a killer. STEEP uphill and in the sun. Not pleasant at all. Did see two little foxes running across the trail.

The climb out is ennervating

Good workout. Nice views. Suggest getting there early (before 10am) if you want convenient parking and a peaceful hike.

hiking
3 months ago

Started from the Higgins Road Trailhead. Nice mix of shady forest and great views.

this trail has beautiful views of the coast. the hike uphill is quite a good workout! i agree with other reviewers, do this trail clockwise. turn left first. this gives you a lot more shade during the hike up.

Truly amazing hike. 7 miles loop. Elevation gain of close to 2000 feet. A superb view of ocean while going down the Harkins ridge and while near the purisima creek, the redwood forest preserve grows on you. The Whittemore gulch trail back is completely shaded expect small parts on the northridge trail. Saw two deers at a close range. Lots of birds, a rabbit nibbling away to glory. The flora along the way is good too. I highly recommend this hike. As the description says, please carry plenty of water. I also recommend a good set of binoculars.

mountain biking
4 months ago

A fun trail for mountain biking, but definitely not easy. There's a fun descent and a pretty lengthy climb; a couple of brief patches of boulders.

Great hike, lots of ticks on the long grass though so be careful. And definitely walk down Hawkins if it’s a sunny day or you’ll be walking up it in heavy sun.

Great trail. Did my own trails totaling 8 miles. The incline part is not bad. The rest was pretty much down hill. Lots of trees. Get there early for parking. Went there at 8am on Sunday and there was plenty of parking. When we left there was no parking.

First time hiking this trail. Hot weekend in the Bay Area so we hit the trail at 8am to avoid the heat. Plenty of parking at that time, but by the time we finished at 11am parking lot was full and everyone was parking on Skyline Blvd. We chose to take trail clockwise, down Harkins Trail and climbing out on Whittemore Gulch. This gave us maximum shade possible for the climb up. At the base where two trails (Harkins & Whittemore) meet up there is a small little grove (called Nancy C Minard) down by the creek that is peaceful and quiet. Great place to relax for a minute and have your snack/lunch. Trail narrows at only a few spots, it’s mostly a wide trail where you can easily hike next to someone.

hiking
4 months ago

Great trial - the mudslide is not an issue. You can see where it happened but it is easily navigated. Wonderful time under the trees. Was always wondering how to get to the park from Canada road area.

A great way to get a workout while enjoying nature! This trail had a little bit of everything- views from above, a forest, flowers everywhere, and even a little creek at the bottom. We went counterclockwise and found it more enjoyable. Doesn't matter which way you go; one half will be downhill and the way back will be all uphill. We found it easier to go left (2nd intersection) on Whittemore Gulch Trail instead of continuing right on North Ridge trail. This way we were able to enjoy more of the woods. Either way, the two trails meet eventually, and you continue onto Whittemore Gulch. *Be warned: going down on Whittemore Gulch means you will be going up on Harkings Ridge, which is mostly out in the sun. If it's a hot day, it might be a better idea to do this loop clockwise. There is a really nice area at the midway point (where Whittemore Gulch meets Harkings Ridge) to have a lunch break. It's right behind the bridge. There were people on the trail, but it wasn't overwhelmingly crowded, and every person we saw along the way was very nice. It took us 3.5 hours to complete, with plenty of stops for pictures and a small lunch break. Definitely hard on the legs, so leave yourself plenty of time for breaks and bring lots of water, especially when it's hot. Enjoy!

Love this trail have been doing it for years. Now that summer is here and it’s warm this is the perfect hiking trail because of all the trees. Lots of shade bring water and prepare to hike back up.

Easy downhill very hard uphill. I will recommend go downhill on Harkins and uphill on Whittemore as it’s more gradual and shady of the two trails. Next time I will be doing that. Great views of the ocean and the redwood trees. the total loop is more like 8miles not 6.4. Overall Enjoyed the hike.

Great, mellow trail. Mostly shaded, some sun sprinkled areas. It was cool and foggy, but burned off a little. Mossy growth, clear wide trail. An easy loop with great birdsong in Spring. Pretty wildflowers and fantastic smells.

Difficult hike. Very beautiful in early spring.

This trail was a great workout, all downhill one way and uphill the other. Poles are definitely a good idea for this trail, especially if your knees give you trouble. Banana slugs and wildflowers abound! Lots of shade on the way down with more exposed areas on the way up. Bring layers. There are port a potties at both ends of the trail but no trash cans, so please be sure to pack out what you bring in. Also there aren’t any tables or really great places to stop and eat along the trail or at either end. This is definitely a beautiful trail!

Exhausting but worth it!

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