Explore the most popular birding trails in Pescadero Creek County Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great hike, lots to see and really interesting topography. Way too much horse poop on the trail, though. About every couple hundred yards we had to dodge a fresh pile. I'll probably avoid horse-friendly trails in the future. I agree with another review that suggests taking the route counter-clockwise to avoid doing the long final climb without shade.

Just awesome.
Lots of spider webs, plants very close to the trail because of the TRAIL CLOSED sign on the Pomponio trail (which we ignored - nothing wrong there) so I guess people avoided it.
It was a little bit more than 8.8 miles, about 10 by the end but worth it.

Take this 8 mile loop counterclockwise to avoid steepest climb and totally exposed grassland at the 8 mile mark. Otherwise, very shady and beautiful redwood hike. Wear long pants because the trail is not very well-maintained and there was a lot of grass brushing against legs. Lots of spiderwebs, banana slugs, centipedes, lizards and a very neat looking broken down old shack. Great way to spend the morning!

4 months ago

The Tarwater Loop is a great outing, if you don’t mind hikes that end with a long uphill walk. The best way to do it, especially on a hot day, is to start on the right side of the loop - take the Tarwater trail DOWN and come back UP via the shaded Shingle Mill Trail. Along the way you’ll see some interesting remnants of the past – the old garage (not a cabin) was just one of the outbuildings on this former cattle ranch that long ago was a big producer of local cheese. A section of old steam engine remains on the Shingle Mill Trail – evidence of the logging operations that continued up into the 1960s here - and a great place to stop for lunch or snack. There is NO RIVER as claimed in the All Trails description; only Tarwater Creek and you will only encounter it by taking a slight detour off the loop from the Old Haul Road towards the Canyon Trail. I’ve done this hike many times over the years and love it all seasons but the trail can be terrible muddy in winter & sometimes trail sections get closed so check the website before driving out. I've taken older kids on this hike but don't recommend for under 6 years. This is a more primitive piece of the park with no restrooms, water, or picnic facilities.

5 months ago

Unique experience partly because of non existent traffic. A few things made me wonder if the trail was actually closed e.g. no other hikers, broken trees, a not opening gate, etc. Anyways, this is indeed a great trail. Saw some impressive redwood trees in the earlier part of the trail.

Lots of trail closures including Shaw flat, west brook and parts of old haul. Almost had to reverse most of the “loop” but turned out ok. Nice walking through a variety of eco systems.

7 months ago

As of mid-March 2018, Old Haul road was closed only a mile and a half into this hike, so I instead wandered around the other trails within the Pescadero Creek Park for 16 miles. There weren’t any views, but there were some nice big redwoods and the trails were well marked.

moderate to easy trail, 3.5 hours for two decently in shape weekly hikers. highly recommend!

Quiet as quiet gets. Bit soft, muddy after the rains but nothing slippery. Hard to take in the beauty when you you have to look down so as to avoid squishing a banana slug though:-)

Old Haul Road was closed for a stretch when we went in late August. We broke away from the suggested loop and explored the other trails in the park. Really quite trail--scarcely traveled, which meant we had to walk through some spider webs. Lots of second growth redwoods as the area looks like it was an old logging site.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Beautiful trail, but we have several times clung there ticks.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Nice trail in and out of redwoods and oaks.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Pretty good loop trail. There were dry grassy meadows, a neat abandoned cabin, a cool looking bridge,and some awesome Redwood groves. Had a little bit of everything. Not a lot of people on the trail. Bring bug repellant. The meadows areas had narrow trails- watch out for ticks, we saw some.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Perfect 4 hour hike. Beautiful views of rolling hills at beginning of Tarwater trail head. Then the trail moves in into the Redwood Forrest. The trail is well maintained but there is one large tree that just fell over the Pomponio trail 1.25 mi from

Monday, June 26, 2017

Really underrated trail. There was only four cars parked at the trailhead and we saw no more than a half dozen people on the trail even though it was a sunny Saturday. The last mile is slightly different than the Alltrails Map, with more switchbacks closer to Camp Pomponio Rd. The last mile is completely exposed, can be rough on a hot day. Make sure to check yourself for ticks after the hike.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Not an easy Trailhead to find - really small one lane road (more like a path) to get to the TH. Other than that - really liked the hike. A lot of variety. The redwoods are good but it is a little buggy. Not sure the trails are that well marked once you get to the bottom. Wasnt very busy if you get there early

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Dogs OK, but I would not recommend for kids as the way back is nonstop uphill. I went back on the camp ___ Rd. I missed that I had to walk a little further on the camp Rd to pick up the tar water trail for the way back. I finished quicker, but missed half the trail. First half of trail was lovely.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Nice remote trailhead to cut down on crowds. Some of the Trail names have changed and there is an excellent trail signage map system through the county parks in this area. One leg of the featured loop is closed to mud slides so you can do an out and back on Tarwater or other loops that are longer than this hike. Nice mix of meadows and forests. Plenty of wildflowers!

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Was planning to do this hike with our dog, but, be warned, the info on this site that dogs on leash are allowed is incorrect. No dogs are allowed in Pescadero Creek County Park.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

If you are allergic to poison oaks, do not come here.

mountain biking
Monday, August 22, 2016

Couldn't believe we didn't see a soul using this beautiful trail after a mile in - on a Sunday afternoon. Remote and peaceful!

Monday, February 01, 2016

Hiked in Jan right after a rain so the trail was muddy about 1/3 of the distance. Only saw 3 other people. Extended it just a bit to see part of Pomponio trail, so about 6 total miles and 3 hours, including stops to take several pics. So about 2.5 hours hiking time. But I'm writing this review to notify everyone that a lot of the trails in the area have been renamed. So part of what used to be the Tarwater trail is now the Shingle Mill trail. But the trailhead has a nice map and they've published a new one dated Nov 2015. The trail junctions have new signs and they are number coded. Kudos to the county for these new signs. Everyone should go to this new system. Takes a lot of doubt out of "where are we?"

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Fun trail! The open rolling meadows are gorgeous, we came across an abandoned cabin which was my favorite part. Gigantic redwood tree blew my mind - visiting from the Midwest and have never seen a tree so mesmerizing!!
The jail was really creepy - would be fun to do this around Halloween. We didn't walk all the way back, it appears to be in use for some other reason. A fun, eclectic hike!

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Really enjoyable trail with great views of the coast and hills. It seems more wild and remote than it is. There's a trail camp about half way (if you are doing this as a loop).

on Tarwater Trail Loop

Friday, May 01, 2015

Went here a couple of weeks ago with the husband. We got as far as the ruined mill when we came across where the trail was now closed. Would have liked to see the rest. There is an absolutely huuuuge redwood along the trail here. It's so large it has another tree growing inside the hollowed out base of the tree. The trail was in good condition, but I was a bit clumsy and rolled my ankle. Fortunately, it didn't keep me from finishing the hike.
The road out here feels very off the beaten path. It's paved, but only large enough for one car at a time. Fortunately we didn't meet any other cars coming in or going out. I was also glad we had an SUV, because some of the ruts in the pavement were deep.
There is no bathroom available at the trailhead. We stopped at another open space area nearby to use the facilities there.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Beautiful area and would love to camp there. The only downfall is that the trails are somewhat hard to follow; the bridge was down on the nature trail, which we were warned of, but then we hiked tiptoe falls trail on a narrow trail which we were unsure if we were even on the trail in some spots and that dead ended to a creek which seemed it was supposed to have a bridge from the map, but no bridge there either. It's beautiful there and quiet, not crowded, which is nice, but the trails/maps can leave you a tad misguided.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Great ~13 mile hike with a loop in the middle that goes through old growth redwoods and streams.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Half downhill, half uphill what do ya know!

Very scenic through some really massive redwoods! Less than 15 min in you come across the largest tree on the trail and it's mind blowing. The loop is easily completed in 2 hours.

Unclear if this is a dog friendly trail or not... We got mixed info and brought a dog anyways, didn't seem to be an issue.

So quiet and serene, hard to believe the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley is less than an hour away.

FYI - The last road you turn on to make it to the trailhead is very narrow and looks like a beaten up golf-cart path. Plenty of parking at the trailhead.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

This is a wonderful hike through gorgeous redwoods and beautiful scenery. We only saw 3 people on the entire hike. We took a slightly larger loop by going from Tarwater Trail, continuing on Canyon Trail, then heading south on Bear Ridge Trail, then back up Tarwater trail.

Beware of the creek! This trail is aptly named. We unfortunately allowed our dog to go into the water and we will now be cleaning tar out of our car for ions to come.

None of the elevation gain/loss is steep as the trails meander up the slope in a gentle incline. The trails are well maintained and easily spotted.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Portola is the secret redwood park that has much less traffic and is just a beautiful as big basin. A must visit.

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