Explore the most popular hiking trails in Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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.

This was very enjoyable. However information was incorrect. The mileage is actually 14.7 miles and the elevation gain is 2840. There was a race marshal that we met on the trail who was setting up the marathon event who verified our statistics. We hike regularly and it took us 4 hour and 50 mins to finish, including about 10 mins break in total. 80% of the trail is shaded, very well maintained trails and clear signs.

This is an excellent hike ranging between moderate to hard depending in personal stamina. We did the complete 9.8 mile starting from North ridge, whittmore gulch, purisima Creek, Craig britton, Harkins ridge and back again North ridge.
elevation gain is good towards the last 2 miles. start early as it takes around 5-6 hours to complete

Go COUNTER CLOCKWISE! Did the Loop clockwise. Started at 9:15am. First 2/3 of the trail was shaded and scenic. Last 1/3 was steep and full of flies. Definitely a moderate/hard gorgeous hike.

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.

hiking
29 days ago

did it from the half moon bay side, beautiful drive on purusima road before hitting the trail. we went counter clockwise, up harkin ridge trail and down whittemore gulch trail. highly recommend this agenda since you get the open big trail when going uphill where you can take more frequent breaks, and then narrower trail going downhill. took us 3.5 hours total and we took our time taking photos and enjoying the scenery. and then we ended the hike with a little picnic by the creek... couldn't be happier! =]

Awesome trail. Started early that is a bit before sunrise and traversed most part of it in shade. In late September, there was still some good water in the stream below which goes along a good part of the trail. Saw banana slugs. We did counterclockwise, the first and last parts are really steep. A nice workout.

Great hike, beautiful surroundings - Moderately strenuous hike

We started from the North Ridge trail parking lot. It’s a really great hike with stunning views on the ocean, followed by being surrounded by the redwood trees. Then a rather easy walk along the creek, followed by a steep climb. It’s a proper workout in the end, but a very satisfying hike!

hiking
1 month ago

Did this hike starting from Half Moon Bay side so was able to start the hike ascending and then descend back - just feels wrong going the other way. Beautiful forests and views; would definitely do this hike again. Parking and traffic were heavy, but the trail itself was not too crowded.

Nice shaded hike. The second mile (going up to grabtown gulch) was a bit intense, but completely shaded. There were quite a few mosquitos when we stopped to eat something, but they didn’t bother us as long as we kept moving. The creek itself was quite nice, and there was trickling water along many parts of the hike.

There weren’t too many people on the upper trails, and parking was okay. We got lucky and got an actual parking spot, but most people had parked along the road, turning it into a one lane road (not that it’s much more than one lane to begin with). The road up to the the trail from highway 1 is a bit curvy and narrow, but not too long.

Came here with 4 other friends on Labor Day weekend. Arrived at 10:30 and found parking I the road. The 6 miles uphill is mostly shady and not too steep, the 3 miles downhill is a little steep. Very few people on the trail. Peaceful and green trails, clear road signs and free maps at the trailhead. Really enjoyed the hike. Definitely 5 star!

Great Hike - easy to find TH but very little parking. Going down counter clockwise is steep - walking sticks helped. I extended by staying on the creek path - 1 mile each way. Coming up is gradual however it wasnt easy. As mentioned not much variety coming back up. Did not see one person until I got to Purisima Creek trail

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 would rate this moderate. Most of the route is well covered by trees and did not feel the heat at all. Beautiful views. Go early to get parking

One of the best kept secrets of the Bay Area

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

Nice mid length hike for experienced and fit hikers. Much of this route is rolling up and down and runnable. A great extended version of the usual 10 mile loop.

Loved the beginning and end of the hike. The part that runs along the creek. The other 4 miles were tough, but we did it. We took the 2nd right off of Purisma Creek Trail and hiked uphill for 1.5 miles, sat and refueled then followed the 2.5 mile decent back to Purisma Creek Trail, take a sharp left and take it to the parking lot. Take hiking stick(s) and plenty of water as well as a snack to give you fuel.

hiking
2 months ago

Good moderate trail with some inclines on the track. Some beautiful scenes of the Forrest on the way.

We went here yesterday, a Sunday in August, and didn't get onto the trail until around 1pm. We started on the Purisima Creek Trail, which was entirely shaded (which we prefer on a hot day!). There weren't too many other hikers, and we didn't see any horses, although we saw plenty of evidence of them on the trail. Craig Britton is a single file path, and still mostly shaded. There are some beautiful views of the coast and you can see above the fog. Once we got to Harkins trail, we were mostly in the sun and it got pretty hot. It gets more crowded towards the parking lots, and although there were some tourists towards the end of the trail, we didn't see many other hikers during the three hours we hiked. As far as wildlife, we saw some quail, a banana slug, and some other small birds. Can't wait to do it again!

Excellent hike for a hot day. There's maybe 100 feet of trail that gets sunlight on this route, so sunscreen is unnecessary. The climb sounds big at about 1,600 feet of elevation gain, but it does not feel like that much. Sadly, it appears that the trail which used to lead up to the top of Bald Knob is closed. You can get about 0.25 miles away from the peak before you find a closed gate. The gate says nothing about a trail closure or advising hikers to stay out, but what looks like it was once a trail is now overgrown with brush. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this hike. There are many extremely beautiful areas on this route.

Beautiful hike on a Sunday early afternoon. Actually 10.9 miles. Went counterclockwise, which is a little less incline distance. When you get to the forest floor there is a beautiful creek, amazing redwoods and still plenty of flora; salvia, minors lettuce, horsetail, monkey flower, clover. Didn't see many people on the hike upward towards end of trail. Seems most folks went clockwise.

Did the Whitmore Gulch - Purisma - Craig Bitten. A total of 9.2 miles.
I would rate this Moderate

Nice shaded trek with clear sign posts and only light traffic. The last 1-2 miles were tough...probably the steepest climb and little shade. Definitely a good workout!

Like being in the Sierra’s in our back yard.

Good hike , view was disappointing

Beautiful hike and a great workout

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.

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