Whittemore Gulch and Purisima Creek Loop Trail

MODERATE 351 reviews

Whittemore Gulch and Purisima Creek Loop Trail is a 9.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Redwood City, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
9.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,109 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

birding

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

no dogs

This hike explores beautiful Redwood forest, streams, and stunning ocean views. The hike starts out downhill, heading away from Skyline Blvd, and down toward the ocean. Soon after leaving the trailhead, you head out on top of one of the ocean facing ridges, where you can see the ocean and North Ridge Trail. Soon after the ocean views, the trail heads down and follows Whittemore Gulch. The trail follows the gulch down to the parking area on the opposite side of the park. The loop trail then heads up Purisima Creek. The trail meets up with the Bay Area Ridge Trail, and turns back up the ridge. This trail heads through some more redwood groves, and the ocean views return when the trail meets up with Harkins Ridge Trail. This is a slightly longer version of the popular Purisima Redwood Preserve area hike and starts on the eastern trailhead on the coastal side. The trail begins at the point where 3 of the major tributaries of the Purisima Creek joins into one and continues its flow into the Pacific ocean. A major part of the hike is in the shades of redwoods. However, towards the latter part with elevation gain the trail opens out to give some good views of the ocean.

hiking
15 hours ago

i actually really enjoyed this trail. it was an interesting hike because most of it was barely moderate — easy even. around the 8th mile (of 10 total) i thought to myself, ok, i actually am getting a little tired. then the incline got drastically more challenging for a great workout after all the mellow mileage that preceded it. nice trail! it took me 3:20, with jogging a few of the first miles in.

hiking
2 days ago

First of our moderate hikes of the year, but it ended up being a hard moderate. Really close by - takes less than 30 mins to get there; half moon bay bridge and then on to skyline blvd.

Parking is extremely limited - maybe like 25 cars inside, but you can park street side and prolly on both sides of the street. Restroom is a common one and is ok.

We did counter clockwise for easier elevation. The trail heads and markers can be slightly confusing but it’s easy to track on the app.

Terrain is extremely uneven - there are constant downhills and uphills throughout. Ends up being around 10 miles with the last 2 miles being the hardest part. Oh and the purisima creek was beautiful to hike next to, which is what we did for a couple of miles when we got to the bottom. Guessing that it’ll be beautiful in summer coz you can basically sit on plenty of tree trunks and have lunch or take breaks.

4 days ago

Pretty and diverse. Offers scenic views as well as intimate forest setting. Both wide trail and narrow in different sections. I did it by bike yet that's officially not permitted. Midweek the trail was almost empty.
Going counter clockwise, the ascent is very moderate until the last 0.3 miles.

hiking
2 months ago

This is a beautiful trail with scenic views. Followed the suggestion and went anti clockwise because that helped. This was almost a hard hike.


The distance shows 9.4 miles but that’s wrong. It took about 11 miles to complete. So be aware of that discrepancy. Also make sure you carry plenty of water. You will need it.

3 months ago

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

hiking
3 months ago

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.

hiking
4 months ago

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!

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

5 months ago

One of the best kept secrets of the Bay Area

5 months ago

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

5 months ago

Beautiful hike and a great workout

5 months ago

Beautiful forest, views (the ocean in Halfmoon Bay) and flowers.
If you are fit under 55 you can get started either way, otherwise I would go anti clockwise.

hiking
6 months ago

Just completed a portion of the loop today. I'm giving this a Moderate to High Moderate rating. Our loop was 7.51 miles in 5 hrs, 4 mins (not including a 30 min lunch). Minimally, carry 2 liters of water or hydration pack. We spoke with the Ranger and followed her suggestion. We took Whitemore Gulch Trail down: great suggestion. Saw two bucks immediately, good trail maintenance, great views, wild flowers blooming. We came back up Harkins Trail and it is steep in several areas (8%} and in more Sun. Ranger suggested coming back up Whitemore, but you're going to have to come back up either way. if we had more tone, we'd have done the full loop.

6 months ago

Gorgeous and vigorous hike!

hiking
6 months ago

6/30/18 Saturday, hottest day of the week. 10.4 miles under 4.5 hrs, plenty of free parking at 8am started from Purisima Creek Trail Head parking near Redwoods Trail Head. It was 2miles downhill hike not recommended to come back uphill . Loop around to Whittemore Gulch to North Ridge Trail Parking Lot. There is a trail along highway 35 next to the fence of private properties to go back to Redwoods/ Purisima Creek Trailhead. Some parts has no shade and lots of challenging uphill. Probably rated as hard due to long distance and some steep elevations but if you keep doing small hikes with elevations, this will only be a moderate challenge. Just keep hydrated and bring a snack bar 

hiking
8 months ago

Went on Thursday 5/10, arrived at 11am and completed 9 mike hike in about 4 hours. Lots of shade, awesome atmosphere, very green, nice views and amazing Redwoods, passed by the creek area. Great for bird watching. Downhill at the beginning and uphill at the end. Went with a friend who doesn’t normally hike and she was able to complete the 9 miles with very short pauses on the uphill part. Ok for hiking solo as well, saw many people hiking alone. Fair cell phone reception. Parking available.

8 months ago

Amazing Redwood canopy lined by fern and occasional mist. Heaven!

hiking
9 months ago

There are many different options to complete this loop. The loop has a lot of features, redwoods, ocean viewpoint, creek. It was a good climb at the latter half, and the trail has a lot of shades. Once passed the first descending part it would be a very good trail for running too.
One can see a lot of different scenes in this one loop. from mountain to ocean, from bare ground to tree canopies, from mountaintop to creek valleys.
Definitely worth the effort of completing the whole loop.

hiking
10 months ago

10 months ago

trees, downhill then uphill, can see half moon bay, nice forest type trial

hiking
11 months ago

I really enjoyed doing this trail with two of my friends on a Sunday. We arrived to the trailhead at 10 a.m. and we’re happy to see there was a free parking lot with a port o potty and hand sanitizer.

The difficulty is on the upper side of moderate for folks with intermediate hiking experience. It took us about 5 hours hiking a pace of 2.4 miles per hour and taking a 15-20 minute lunch. Most of the elevation gain is the last 2.7 miles of the trail. I would not recommend bringing people who are not in shape on this trail and if you do, expect for it take 6+ hours depending on how much they struggle.

We saw several banana slugs along the way and loved the scenery overall. This is a mixed use trail also used by trail runners and mountain bikers, so hikers should be extra aware that those folks are likely going to need to pass you at some point. The trail wasn’t terribly crowded either like some other Bay Area hikes can be.

Overall, a trail that is definitely worth experiencing if you are in moderately good shape.

hiking
11 months ago

Bautiful view. Enjoyed it a lot

hiking
11 months ago

Moderate trail, view of HB Mavericks, Redwood, crystal creek, beautiful. 7.65 Miles, 3.5 hours. 1,775 feet elevation gain, prepare to climb V elevation, nice workout. Bring water and snacks.

hiking
11 months ago

Stunning surroundings, a challenging hike, just so beautiful!

hiking
Friday, January 19, 2018

beautiful views of the ocean and half Moon Bay.

hiking
Saturday, January 13, 2018

Great combination of biomes—everything from sweeping ridge views to bubbling brooks in the redwood thickets. No matter which way you run the loop, it’ll be a bit tough the last mile back to your car.

hiking
Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Did this hike for NYE and it kicked my ass in the most wholesome way possible. You want challenge? Got it. You want views? Got it. You want wildlife? Got it. Literally had everything. Foot traffic is meh but as you get deeper into the park people will thin out. Tracker reported 10.5 miles in about 4.5 hours (breaks included), and I did the sharp incline half first (Whitemore Gulch trail section) starting at the bottom of the “gulch” from the Purisima parking. Highly recommend doing it that way for anyone looking to test/diagnose their endurance levels. Would consider this more hard than moderate, tbh. Word of advice? Bring a headlight in the winter months because hiking in the trees at the bottom of any sort of valley or gulch reduces light visibility by what I swear feels like 50% around sunset - I had to spend the last two miles at the end of it in near darkness while the sun was just barely starting to go down. 10/10 would and will come back though! HAPPY 2018!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wonderful scenery on this hike

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A solid 4hrs. No water available on the way round. Agree, a good hike for hot day

Monday, October 09, 2017

Great quiet hike with a bit of a push at the end. Be careful going down descents, trail looks very nice and flat but I did sprain my ankle.

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