Canyon, Goat Hill Trail Loop [CLOSED]

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Butano State Park

Canyon, Goat Hill Trail Loop is a 10.2 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Pescadero, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, camping, and bird watching and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 10.2 miles Elevation Gain: 1,945 feet Route Type: Loop

camping

hiking

bird watching

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

over grown

rocky

closed

fee

no dogs

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 there is currently no vehicle access to this trail or others in the park. See here for more info: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=30355 Connect the Six Bridges Trail to the Little Butano Creek Trail, then follow Goat Hill Trail to Ano Nuevo Trail. $10 day fee for parking.

hiking
6 months ago

Overall a very nice hike. We went clockwise and it took us 5h for 10 miles. 3.5 stars. It was quite dry and flora was showing signs of no rain. Some areas a bit treacherous but not bad. Would not do it on a rainy day or shortly after.

This is an amazing trail, especially canyon trail. It’s technical hiking though so be aware of that. There is a section where there is a steep drop to your right and there is only very narrow loose shale path (with obstacles)! I would not do this section in the rain. I’m really not sure on what the distance actually is. Everyone’s recordings are different and mine added a LOT of mileage so I’m unsure what the actual length of it is. GREAT, super fun trail. Just be careful!

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
9 months ago

Great hike! No bugs, beautiful day!

hiking
9 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.

hiking
bugs
muddy
no shade
over grown
rocky
scramble
11 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.

hiking
Fri May 17 2019

Did a portion of the trail which looped from the campgrounds and finished going up on 6 bridges trail back to the campsite close to 3 miles. Constant elevation changes which makes it a fun ride without making me catch up for air. 90% is in shade so pretty cool in the spring.

hiking
Sun May 12 2019

Easy but for a couple areas where trail is damaged. Few people on weekends. Multiple biomes. Far from roads. A well kept secret.

hiking
Sat Apr 27 2019

I arrived at the park around 11:15 am on a Saturday and there were several parking spaces still free just past the start of the trail/the park entrance. I started with Año Nuevo Trail (across the road from the small visitor's center), and I'm really glad I did. Even with trekking poles, I wouldn't have wanted to hike that stretch downhill – it would have been hard on my knees. I enjoyed the diversity of landscape in this hike, and I was also surprised at how few people I encountered on the first half of the hike. I crossed paths with quite a few small groups of hikers on the second half – most seemed to be hiking in to camp over night.

Mon Apr 22 2019

beautiful hike. The trail camp had plenty of room. I recommend to start from the side that the visitor center is on. The other side would require an immediate hike up a steep hill. This would suck with a pack on your back.

hiking
muddy
Sun Apr 21 2019

Trail is muddy right now, but nothing impassable. Nice because there are some small waterfalls and everything is green. It's overall a moderate hike, but there are some hard uphill parts. Started going up ano nuevo, which is hard, but the rest was mostly slight up and down. Park at the ranger station and go from there. Trails are pretty clearly marked. Loved how few people I ran into, but there were still a few couples out. A great, quiet hike with lots of newts (be careful not to step on them).

running
blowdown
muddy
Sat Jan 26 2019

hiking
Mon Jan 21 2019

Good solid hike. Trail as marked is definitely longer than 9.1 miles. Came in at a shade over 11.

hiking
Wed Oct 17 2018

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.

Tue Sep 04 2018

Did a quick 9.5 miles in about 3.5 hours. Definitely start the loop via Jackson Flats; I can imagine the immediate switchbacks the other way would be enough to scare people off. It was much easier coming down Nuevo. A lot of different biomes are covered in this hike, but it’s mostly shade. A few times you break out onto a ridge and get some sun, but never too much. The way I went there definitely is significant elevation gain, even if no stint of uphill lasts that long. Would recommend as a spring hike. Late summer there’s not much running water so not a tremendous amount to see, but for the ridiculous amount of poison oak. There’s a vista or two but is mostly in the covered forest

hiking
Mon May 28 2018

Great hike - I think Butano is the best Redwood park in the Bay Area ... bc of the quiet. Easy to find trail head but not a ton of parking. The Flats Trail was simply amazing due to a small amount of fog - watch out for Newts - they were every where on the trail. Canyon also a great trail however dont take it all the way - turn right on Indian. Coming down Nuevo wasnt easy - very steep

hiking
Fri Dec 08 2017

Great hike--love Butano--so quiet--hiked into only one couple. Never had done Canyon Trail--most California Nutmegs I have ever seen and beautiful chalk geology and botany.

hiking
Fri Oct 13 2017

Did an abbreviated version from the Ben Ries Campground: Goat Hill -> Doe Ridge -> Olmo Fire Road -> Indian -> Canyon -> Jackson Flats -> Mill Ox.

Tue Aug 08 2017

Pretty trees, mostly shaded, not too steep, lots of poison oak.

hiking
Sat Jul 22 2017

Awesome loop! I'd rate this as pretty challenging, and I'm very athletic; big inclines and steep descents, lots of hot exposed ridge. Peaceful and serene--SO quiet! Epic views from Canyon Trail and Indian Camp. Where it's not exposed ridge, it's lush, shady, gorgeous forest. Lots of poison oak!! I went from park HQ up Jackson Flats to Canyon, then down Indian Trail/Olmo Fire, and accidentally missed the branch for Doe Ridge Trail/Goat Hill Trail, but it was a lovely trek nonetheless, and Olmo eventually connects up with Goat Hill. Make sure you have a trail map because some of the turns aren't marked. Would be great for backpacking; two campgrounds along the way!

Mon Jul 10 2017

Nice and easy trail. Somehow crowded at the beginning.

backpacking
Mon May 22 2017

Fun hike! Camped at the Butano trail camps, the campsites are nice, spaced well apart, there are bear boxes and a toilet, which is nice. Beautiful setting, a lush trail through ferns and redwoods is hard to beat.

Mon Mar 20 2017

Enjoyed the range of vegetation. Went in spring so lots of green and flowers. Lots and lots of fallen trees after all the rain. TICKS so hikers BEWARE. Very steep at the very end/beginning depending what direction you start.

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