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Whittemore Gulch and Harkins Ridge Loop Trail is a 7.6 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Redwood City, California that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round.

Length 7.6 mi Elevation gain 1,853 ft Route type Loop

Hiking

Mountain biking

Nature trips

Running

Forest

River

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (9)
Facilities
Contact
Tips

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: https://www.openspace.org/preserves/purisima-creek-redwoods A pleasant loop through the Purisma Creek Redwoods. This hike allows you to enjoy both the lush valleys and views on the open ridgeline. Pay attention to signs because bikes are allowed on specific trails only. The preserve is located on the western slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking Half Moon Bay. The open space features not only redwoods but ferns, wildflowers, coastal scrub, and several babbling brooks that can grow to sizable creeks in the winter. The elevation descends almost 1600 ft from Skyline Blvd and depending on your route, some sections can be rather steep. Make sure to bring water!

Park at the Pursimia Creek redwoods Open Space Preserve Staging Area off of Skyline BLVD.

During the summer, this area can be quite hot, reaching temperatures well into the 90s. The preserve is open from dawn until one half-hour after sunset. Dogs are not allowed in the preserve.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (962)
Photos (2156)
Recordings (881)
Completed (1469)
Rachel Mundaden
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Hiking

Gorgeous hike, loved seeing all the banana slugs too

Sunshine serenity
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2020
Hiking

Gorgeous. Worth every second

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Vijay Parwal
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Hiking

Awesome!

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Andrew Twyman
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Hiking
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Matt H
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HikingGreat!

Pros: Redwood forests, cute streams of water, banana slugs, blackberries on the trail, plenty of shade, awesome ferns, great variation of foliage. Cons: Limited parking.

Joseph Kwon
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Hiking
View Joseph's Recording
Kuber Dutt
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Hiking

Shaded hike. Amazing views.

View Kuber's Recording
Monica Reimold
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Hiking

WEAR A MASK PEOPLE! Beautiful trail great for a solid workout but no respect for trail etiquette and very few people in masks.

View Monica's Recording
Ishan Dikshit
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Hiking

Go early as it gets very busy later. The hike is nice and mostly shaded. We saw deers, rabbits and a snake on the trail! This hike is very beautiful, but I guess I‘d say that grabtown gulch one is slightly prettier.

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Tara Boehm
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Hiking

Wow this trail far exceed expectations for me- beautiful views, diverse landscape, shade and sun. It’s essentially three miles downhill and then 3 miles up. I recommend taking a right for the loop- the left is Hawkins road which has good views but not as great and would be easier to not focus on going uphill. When you’re finishing up the loop, take the waypoint mentioned about the switchbacks. It will also be marked as “hiking only” since bikes can use part of the trail. It’s only 0.5 miles at the end- but after doing 3 miles uphill, you do not want to do the last little sliver uphill and the waypoint/switchbacks prevent that.

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Meaghan Sowers
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Hiking

very very VERY steep towards the end of harkins ridge going back to the parking lot at the top of the hill

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Brett Fisher
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Hiking

Very nice. Open views at top of south loop. Forrest at bottom. I recommend clockwise.

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Brandon Chiu
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Hiking

Started at the trailhead closest to highway 1 (waypoint 5 on the AllTrails map). 6 regular parking spaces + 1 handicap space. Side parking is available but may be steep for small cars. There are restrooms at waypoint 5 and 1. We went clock-wise. 1st half uphill and shady if you go left (waypoint 5 towards 4). 2nd half downhill and a tiny bit less shady (waypoint 1 towards 2).

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Lavanya Santhosh
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Hiking

Great trail. Absolutely spectacular views and the redwoods are mesmerizing ! The uphill is a tad difficult but totally worth it.

Himja Nirmal
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Hiking

This trail really gets your workout in. Lots of shade. Trail has good elevation so get ready for uphill-downhill. We did clockwise which was nice. This way beginning 3 miles is downhill and then last 1.5 miles is uphill. Parts of the trail are really narrow. We saw a tiny snake. Bring lots of water to stay hydrated (since we started this hike at noon). We completed in 2.5 hours. However, wouldn’t be the case for beginners. Enjoyed the hike!

View Himja's Recording
Lidia Carter
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Hiking

We arrived at 7:45am, my girlfriend had mentioned that the look of the fog amongst the valley is beautiful, and it sure was. We started out on Purisima North Ridge Trail, and then took a left onto Purisima Creek Trail, and then left onto Harkings Ridge Trail all the way back up. Coming down was easy, going up was much more challenging. The views were amazing! Definitely will go back and take a different trail. Total miles hikes 7.5 miles

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Courtney Parks
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Hiking

Due to COVID restrictions, no parking is permitted except in the lot. (No street parking). On a Friday afternoon, there was a few spots available. Love this hike for the mix of views, time down in the gulch with nice tree cover, and the trails are always so well maintained. Perfect for trail running. Great workout with the elevation.

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Sarah Babcock
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Hiking

I did this loop counter clockwise as the map suggested, and the ascent back up was rough, definitely got a workout. Perhaps it would be more gradual going clockwise? Nevertheless it was beautiful. Hit the trail around 8am which was perfect because the fog hadn’t burned off the way down that made it eerily beautiful, and I got to feel the sun on the ascent back up but it wasn’t too hot. Overall, big fan. Probably my new favorite nearby hike.

Elizabeth Jaskolski
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Hiking

This was such a treat!!! Enchanted forest, redwoods, ocean views and mountains. Does it get much better? Bring water, snacks and a jacket. Some parts got chilly in the shade!

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Lily Tang
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Hiking

I personally prefer uphill first hikes, so I did this trail from the Higgins Road trailhead, which made the total mileage around 7 miles. The parking lot fits maybe 6 cars and there’s room along the street for parking. I went on a weekday morning and by the time we finished at noon, cars were waiting for my spot. I did the Whittemore Gulch trail up. Overall, in the morning the trail is maybe shaded 2/3rds of the time. It starts out in the redwoods and hikes to where you can see the ocean far away. The trail is wide for most of it and has some really steep/pointless ups and downs which I found annoying.

Erica Woll
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Hiking

Variety of scenery including hillsides w/amazing views of the emerald hills, wooded areas, and dark redwoods (saw 35 banana slugs here!). Wide path made it easy to distance and a majority of the uphill climb was shaded (if you travel clockwise). Beautiful vistas!

Marta Chang
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Hiking

It’s really nice trail for family hiking in the weekend, either way back to the point is very steep( around 3.5 miles)it’s not recommended for small kids!

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Mike Clarken
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HikingBugs

This is a really nice trail, but it is very, very popular. Always recommend arriving early. I went in the afternoon on a holiday Friday, so I went clockwise against most advice here, and I found it to be a great decision. Nearly everyone goes counter, and I got the space much more to myself this way. Gorgeous down at the creek. Definitely some semi-steep climbing, but I would rate it Moderate. Look for CA quails in the shrubs.

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Ajeet Mirwani
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Hiking

Beautiful! Counter-clockwise is the way to go, much smoother incline coming back and still a good workout. Got here @ 8am and the lot was half full on a weekday. Get here early and you will be rewarded!

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Annabelle Hua
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Hiking

This trail was great overall but it makes you very tired. I’m not a fan of any down then up trail.

c l
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 22, 2020
Hiking

First off - this is a popular spot, so plan to arrive by 7:45 on weekends. We got there at that time and took the last spot in the lot. Plus it’s much cooler! If you go left, you’ll climb down Hawkins ridge first. It’s a steep descent but fewer people start off that way. Then on the way back, you’ll do a gentle climb with switchbacks towards the end. That second leg is where you should be able to catch a the glimpse of the ocean if it’s not foggy. I’m told that it’s often foggy in the summer. :( Took us 2h34min with a brief stop for snacks. Keep an eye out for banana slugs! We saw a bunch, maybe 20!

Mehmet Deniz
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HikingBugs

Amazing trail. Very tough on the way back. I would suggest going early in the morning since it is real steep. Enjoy hiking.

Amy Lin
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Hiking

Self note: exposed going down 1st half. Then uphill in redwoods/shade. Perfect hike. Have dinner by the river

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Jinggay D.
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Hiking

This is a great trail! I started at around 7AM. Took a reviewer’s advice to start from the left. The first 3.5 miles was pretty down hill. Manageable and it was shady and somewhat paved. Great view and I literally ran along a total of 11 hikers going the opposite way. Trees are majestic and it was quiet and so green! On the 3.5mile mark, that’s where the Purisima creek is, I noticed a lot of foot traffic. I found out that there’s another parking lot and hiker’s starting point. On the way up was surely a work out aside from feeling like I was in an enchanted forest. Heart pumping up! So green and fresh. On, probably my 5th mile, lots of people going down. And more! When I got back to the parking lot, lots of people waiting for cars to leave. Start early, unless you are also people watching. I hiked solo and enjoyed it!

Elena Migunova
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Hiking

Beautiful trail! Steep to come back, get hiking shoes. Pretty crowded on the weekend, so plan to go early!

View Elena's Recording
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