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Purisima Creek and Whittemore Gulch Loop Trails

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Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve

Purisima Creek and Whittemore Gulch Loop Trails is a 9.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Half Moon Bay, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and running and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 9.6 miles Elevation Gain: 1,883 feet Route Type: Loop





wild flowers

no dogs

As of June 2020, due to COVID-19 parking restrictions are place along Highway 35, Purisima Creek Road and Higgins Canyon Road. Preserve parking is very limited at this time. Specific info regarding further restrictions can be found here: Please note that this route includes a two mile stretch along a narrow paved road. If you'd prefer to not do this route, instead go north on the Craig Britton Trail, and then Harkins Ridge, which will allow you to complete the loop.

1 month ago

10 months ago

Beautiful hike with lots of shade! You’ll need to walk along the road to do both trails but the views do not disappoint and you will feel accomplished.

Tue Jun 11 2019

As described...redwood groves, open meadows with wild flowers. A couple of bridges to cross over clear clean water. Slugs and butterflies all around you. One of the best hikes I’ve ever been on. And the view of the ocean from the top is breath taking. This coming from someone born in Santa Cruz. 

Sun Mar 17 2019

Started towards the left so the unshaded portion was first and ended hiking along the creek. Good enough trail but the hike along the busy road is way too long. There’s also not a ton of space on the side so you have to walk in the actual road at points and look out for cars.

Mon Jan 28 2019

Read this before doing this loop!!!! I give the area five stars, and the trails within the park five stars. However, this loop has you walk for about two miles on a narrow highway... Not fun. I was really disappointed! All trails says to park at Higgins canyon rd and take the Purisima creek trail (the trail to the right) until you get to skyline rd about five miles in or so. This part of the hike itself was gorgeous, lined with redwoods and ferns. I would say it is moderate in difficulty, the the inclined being gradual. From here, however, this loop has you walk along a narrow highway, which can be very dangerous with cars zooming by! Not recommended. Once you walk down the highway (skyline) you get to the other parking lot for the park. From here it’s absolutely gorgeous with views of the Pacific Ocean and it is all down hill. Gorgeous. I would absolutely come back! However, I would make my own loop. I would start at the Purisima creek trail, but instead of taking this trail all the way up to skyline (highway 35) I would diverge from the Purisima creek trail onto the Craig Britton trail a couple of miles in. From here I would take the Harkins ridge trail up to the parking lot at highway 35 then going down I would take the north ridge trail to whittemore, which would take you back to the start.

Thu Aug 02 2018

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

Sun Jul 29 2018

Love Purisma Creek. Majestic redwood gulches

Thu May 31 2018

Just beautiful!!!

Sun Mar 04 2018

Lovely hidden gem of a trail in the Bay Area

Mon Jan 08 2018

love this place.

Mon Dec 25 2017

Would actually consider this just a moderate hike. Nothing technical. Also, I would suggest finding a trail linking the two trails listed and skip Skyline.

Sun Oct 08 2017

We just did Purisma Creek Loop and it was great. Very flat and slow incline, which is good because we have bad knees. Great redwoods and was very quiet, not a lot of other hikers on a Saturday morn. Would highly recommend if looking for not steep inclines thru redwoods.

Tue Aug 01 2017

Hi, anyone have any comment about parking around Purisima Creek Rd? we are a large group and need to park 20 or more cars..

Sun Jul 23 2017

For Noobs! This is.a BEAUTIFUL hike! BUT if you are not looking for a MONSTER steep hill workout then please Do Not take the trial from Northridge to Whittmore Gulch UP Harkins Ridge! This is VERY Steep and challenging for the new/average hiker. IF you are a pro and want an AWESOME challenge this is the hill workout for you! Regina

Wed Jul 19 2017

I loved this trail. There were giant redwoods, ferns, butterflies, tons of shade, and a good variety of easy and tough trail terrain.

Sat Mar 11 2017

1/3 of this loop is road hiking along Skyline Blvd. My advice is to look at the map and take other trails before getting to Skyline. Other people's recordings show alternate routes.

Tue Nov 15 2016

One of the best trails around. It's a bit hard and steep at some places. You will be able to see the Pacific Ocean at some points but the closeness to nature is what I like about this trail. There's no phone signal at most part of the trail but that's good.

Wed Oct 26 2016

This was the last training hike I took my friend Guy on before we went to Zion National Park. The top of Purisima Creek is pretty steep and the trails down are at times a very steep descent so it's a pretty good leg and knee workout and he passed the test and we went to Zion about a week later. I was blessed to live in the area for many years and for three, besides the beaches, Purisima was my go to for climbs, views and miles. The only downsides to this hike was doing Skyline (but Skyline is beautiful too) and missing that great single track in the middle of the park...

7 hours ago

recorded Recording - Jun 06, 17:38

29 days ago

3 months ago

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