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Whittemore Gulch and Harkins Ridge Loop Trail

HARD 516 reviews

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 offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 7.6 miles Elevation Gain: 1,853 feet Route Type: Loop

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

A pleasant loop through the Purisma Creek Redwoods. This hike allows you to enjoy both the lush valleys and views on the open ridgeline. Take the Whittemore Gulch Trail to the Harkins Ridge Trail Bikes are allowed on specific trails only. Open space preserve in the Midpeninsula region. The preserve is located on the weestern slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking Half Moon Bay. The open space features not only redwoods, but ferns, wildflowers, coastal scrub, several babbling brooks which can grow to sizable creeks in the winter. The elevation can dips down almost 1600 ft from Skyline Blvd and depending on the route, some sections can be rather steep. Make sure to bring water!

running
bugs
rocky
5 days ago

Really great hike. I think if I were to do it again I’d start from the south parking area. Going down and then back up was kinda lame. Great views on a clear day. Not many people out. Only one mountain biker wizzed by me.

Lovely shaded trails with great views. Even more enjoyable if you start early. Actual distance closer to 7.1 miles.

Purisima is a beautiful park. It’s one of my favorites in the Bay Area for its remoteness, variation in scenery, and degree of difficulty. I even experienced some weather changes on a foggy and wet Saturday morning as I hiked from Skyline toward Half Moon Bay where it was sunny and clear. As others have suggested, when you start this hike it’s much more fun to stay to the right and do the switchbacks down North Ridge. That’s how I started and I came back via the other straight path. Having hiked most of the trails in this park, i didn’t care for the Harkins Ridge trail. It’s a fire road and probably the least interesting trail in the park. I prefer looping back via Purisima Creek to Craig Britton. It’s longer, but much more scenic and worthwhile.

Great hike — nice views, bit strenuous! I would recommend doing harkins ridge first (downhill), as it’s steeper and more exposed than the other half of the loop.

hiking
no shade
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

I would start around 12. This way the sun is not right above you coming back up. You'll spend the hottest point of the day in the bottom of the valley in the cool shade. Not to difficult at all as long as you're in moderate shape. 1.5 Liters of water is plenty if you hydrate before going out.

hiking
2 months ago

My rating is 3 stars on a crowded weekend day because of way too much trail traffic and 5 stars at other times. Here's what you need to know: This is a beautiful hike that starts at the top, goes all the way down to the valley floor and then rises back up to the trailhead. Redwoods abound and the trail follows a stream for some time as well. Because of where the trailhead starts, you will end up finishing on an uphill regardless of whether you go clockwise or counter-clockwise. Go counter-clockwise if you prefer less sun on the uphill but it is a little bit steeper in that direction. Or park at the trailhead for this hike and you can do the uphill first: https://www.alltrails.com/explore/trail/us/california/puriisma-grabtown-gulch-borden-hatch-mill-loop. Any which way, there is a pretty decent uphill climb for part of this, so be prepared and in decent shape. And, yes, one should always have water but, quite frankly I do not share the other reviewer's obsession with making sure you have enough water for this hike--you should always carry enough water and a little extra if you are going to exert yourself because of uphill and a little sun. On that note about sun, everyone reviews differently. I read several reviews that talked about being in the sun and exposed for long stretches. This was not the case on a brilliant sunny day in early August. This hike is largely shaded with small stretches of direct sun that are interspersed with shade trees. Maximum distance without shade is appx. 1/4 mile (yesthe sunniest part may be on the uphill depending on direction and where you start). The other thing to keep in mind is that the crowds on Sunday at 11:30 were almost unbearable for me but I prefer my solitude. What this means is that if I were to stop on the trail, I would see groups pass me every 3-5 minutes, pretty consistently. Hasd I seen a more moderate amount of people, say 10 groups over the 7+ miles, I would say this is 4 or 5 stars because of how beautiful the hike truly is. Finally, yes, mountain bikes are allowed on the trail. I didn't find them reckless or scary but you do have to share the trail with bikers and trail runners--but staying alert is probably all you need to do to sty safe.

Beautiful and well kept trail. Plenty of shade on Witthemore Gulch trail, a little more exposed on Purissima Creek trail, but we'll worthy it

hiking
2 months ago

Half the trail is in sun, lower half in shade. Longest hike I've done recently - so not recommended for those new to long hikes particularly given the intense incline on the way back up. I would suggest parking at Purisma Creek so the uphill climb is completed first and the second half of the loop will be downhill.

hiking
2 months ago

Half of the trail is not shaded so it’s better to start off on the non shaded side in the morning so it’s not too hot when you get to the second half. If you follow the instruction on the app, you’d end up being on the non shaded side in the second half when it’s very hot. Some people say it’s medium difficult, for me it’s hard as I tend to do a lot of 5-7 mile hike during weekends. We met 6-7 bicyclists going pretty fast on the trail on a Sunday just FYI.

hiking
bridge out
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

This trail is very easy to follow and I would not consider it hard. The ground is even enough to trail run which I did on the first half. The second half starting at Harkins Ridge Trail is more inclined and harder to run. Very well shaded and very little bugs at this time. I started the hike at 2pm and finished around 4pm with plenty of time for pictures.

hiking
bugs
4 months ago

Beautiful trail BUT PLEASE BE WARE THIS TRAIL HAS TICK!!!!!

running
muddy
4 months ago

My first time here. Too much mud along the river trail. I basically ran in 3 miles in it...

hiking
muddy
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Great little hill climb

hiking
muddy
4 months ago

Muddy right now. Wild bunnies running around.

hiking
muddy
4 months ago

5 months ago

So good.

hiking
muddy
7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

very good trail with a good amount of altitude change. very scenic and quite.

closed
private property
scramble
8 months ago

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