Looking for a great trail in Butano State Park, California? AllTrails has 14 great hiking trails, trail running trails, forest trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Ready for some activity? There are 8 moderate trails in Butano State Park ranging from 3.7 to 14.3 miles and from 219 to 1,975 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!

hiking

running

forest

no dogs

nature trips

bird watching

walking

views

wildlife

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. Open sunrise to sunset.

A great day hike! Went on an October Sunday and saw very few people - once we got further from the road and the camp we were pretty much alone the entire time.

From the trail camp to get water. We checked Butano creek first and it was dry, but if you travel farther out from trail camp, take a right to canyon trail. There will be a headwater stream about 1/2 mile down. Picture of the flowing water is hard to see but it was there!

Just want to give some context, this is the first time I backpacked and we were racing the sunset to our camp. On Tuesday, we started hiking up to the trail camp, late around 3pm. Arrived at the trail camp roughly 3 & 1/2 hrs later, around 6:30pm. It was rough going up, had nothing but energy bars to eat and we both less drank less than 1/2 liter because we didn't know if there would be flowing water from the streams...

hiking
private property
17 days ago

Good mix of redwoods, fire road with open views, ocean views.

Nice trail - easy to do with little kids. Lots of banana slugs

hiking
1 month ago

This is a dirt road, not a trail, but has a closed gate at the start so has little to no car traffic. The first couple miles ascend along the creek which is nice. It is a shaded steep canyon which was great on a hot day like today. There was no one anywhere on the trail on a Saturday which was nice. There were some views higher up after the left turn onto Johansen. I added a loop to the trail by taking a left on a dirt road with a gate about 1.75 miles in just as Gazos creek road made a sharp hairpin and crossed the creek to ascend sharply to the right. This dirt road shows up as a brown square on All Trails map but the road isn't shown; it connects with Johansen road (and this trail) after a little over a mile. I'm not sure what the "end" of this trail is, as it appears the road just keeps going. Perhaps it's at the high point on Johansen.

I think Butano is such an under-known park. We did this hike yesterday and literally only saw two other people in a 4 hour hike. This hike is truly a perfect moderate hike - ya go up for a it, then it’s flat for awhile. Also perfect for a hot day as mostly covered. i have dine this hike twice and both times got a little lost hear the end - we ended up coming down the fire road which was fine. As others have said, bathrooms are gross and there was no water at spigots near bathroom so bring water. Still a very lovely hike.

Great hike! No bugs, beautiful day!

This was my first “real” hike in NorCal. It’s hard to do when you have let yourself go, however the views are worth it. It’s a beautiful trail.

hiking
over grown
washed out
2 months ago

Solid hike but I would do it in the opposite direction. Very little water in the streams and the mosquitoes are getting more aggressive.

Very nice trail. Is more like 10 miles. Wear hiking shoes cause the trail is very narrow along the edge of the hill and lots of loose gravels. Well shaded. The only part no shade is the Olmo road and very steep, but the view is amazing. No restrooms along the trail, and the main restroom at the beginning of the trail, is awfully stinky.

Moderate 10 miles hike, signs not great but acceptable, lots of shades, very pleasant. not crowded. state parking fee $10, plenty of them. the only bad comment is the bathroom at the parking lot, horrible condition!!!

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike but stats are incorrect. More like 11 miles, bridge needs working on and restroom needs major cleaning it was horrid! Disguising even! This can be a heath issues for some. 8 miles and 11 miles is a big difference.

I did this as a loop, taking Jackson Flats Trail to Butano Fire Road and over to the trail camp. The fire road is a wide open, exposed, ugly section. I returned via the much nicer Canyon Trail. Saw two horses and a few mountain bikes on the fire road. If you’re not into fire roads, better just to do Jackson Flats to Canyon Trail as an out and back.

hiking
muddy
washed out
2 months ago

about half way in on either side it says that it is washed out & hiking further isn't advised. I went anyway and it wasn't bad at all. sooooo BEAUTIFUL

hiking
washed out
3 months ago

It’s absolutely beautiful- highly recommend this trail but would like to point out that it’s closer to 11 miles and not 8.1 miles. We went in early July, and there were definitely mosquitos but not too bad (just one bite!).

Long hike with quite the variety of terrain. Started counter clockwise up the Ano Nuevo trail to get that steep climb out of the way. The Olna Fire Road is sharp gravel with lots of ups and downs. Beautiful views though. After doing the Ray Linder memorial trail I continued on Butano Fire road. Visited the abandoned airstrip where I ate some lunch. Backtracked to the canyon trail which I’m sure is much prettier in the springtime. Lots of evidence that there would be many rushing streams.....all dry by now at the end of June. A good hike probably don’t need to do it again though.

Amazing, would do again in a heartbeat!

hiking
bugs
over grown
4 months ago

hiking
bugs
muddy
no shade
over grown
rocky
scramble
4 months ago

PLEASE NOTE: This trail can easily get up to or even over 11 miles long depending on which trails you take around the south side of this loop. This trail title and description does not accurately match several trails highlighted in red on the featured map. However this is an an amazing, secluded, mostly shaded trail with some of the largest diversity of terrain, trees, redwoods, wildflowers, shrubs, ferns and a babbling creek all in one go, as well as elevation change (Ano Nuevo Trail was the steepest and most overgrown part). We hiked this trail on an unusually hot June day in the mid-high 80's, so this will definitely test your endurance. We opted to hike this trail counterclockwise from Ano Nuevo, Goat Hill, Doe Ridge and Indian trails, then looping around on Canyon trail (intermittent sun exposure) most of the way back but detouring on Ox Mill down to the parks main central road, Olmo Fire Road to finally enjoy a nice casual stroll under a beautiful canopy of redwoods back to the parking spot. Next time maybe I’ll skip Ano Nuevo and instead take Six Bridges to Olmo Fire Road to Goat Hill onward. Be sure to wear good hiking shoes and socks (you'll definitely stub your toes more than a few times), a hat for some sun exposed areas of the trail (and for ticks), and bring plenty of water (and snacks for energy), a hiking pole (helpful for tricky areas), and maybe bug spray for mosquitoes.

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