Really awesome views for a county park hike. Lots of variety too, starts off with a switchback-y climb, then follows the ridge and gives great sweeping views of the valley/canyon to the south, and then ends in the shade of the towering redwoods. Absolutely wear long sleeves and pants, poison oak is EVERYWHERE for the first half of the hike (go counter clockwise, as other reviews have said). Trails widen out significantly after about the halfway mark. Didn't see a single person on a Saturday afternoon, and parking was free during COVID. Counted 30 banana slugs in the final section, too!

I only got 3.5 miles in but it was amazing. I’ll come back and try more soon!

Great trail! It turned into 12mi hike but we did make some detours to have a picnic at the tables just south of entrance. The hike was a small incline or flat up until the halfway point then decline after ,so definitely easier than moderate. Very shaded throughout by the tall redwood trees. Open during COVID. Bathrooms were closed, so we had to use nature bathrooms ;) I had to use the all trails map throughout as there was a lot of diverging trails that could confuse you. There was 2 small creeks we had to cross. I decided to take my shoes & socks off to cross . The 2nd one creek,there were logs and rocks but you had to make this little jump ,which got my leg wet since I lost balance . Overall great trail,barely any people!

Beautiful flowers and views of the hills and ocean but the lower part of the loop if pretty chewed up due to cow traffic. Nice trail overall.

1 month ago

Wonderful day out, overcast so we didn’t have to deal with the sun - if it were sunny I’d imagine it being very hot. Great wildlife, plenty of birds and deer. The loop portion is nearly “off trail conditions” and the views were incredible! The bottom of the loop was tough to run because of cattle hoof marks in the dried mud. Overall, lovely secluded day out.

Did this loop today in the counter clockwise direction without the extra dead end spur on the Butano Ridge Trail, so 13.7 miles total. 100% shade so and nice soft trail to walk on. Lots of sticks to step over on Butano Ridge Trail. The Old Haul and Butano Ridge Trails are fire roads. The rest are single track. Take a lunch.

3 months ago

Thick redwood forests on slopes and along Pescadero creek. Remote hike. Big climb to ridge.

Good hike. Several trees down from the recent winds.

3 months ago

Went clockwise on this trail. That ascent will get your heart pumping! Everything was so green even without any rain for a month. Lots of dappled light through the trees. There were LOTS of branches down from the recent winds. Plenty of ways to trip . Came across two downed trees on the trail that were a bit difficult to get around. I was hoping to get some good views, this being a ridge trail, but no. Still overall a nice hike.

6 months ago

Nice moderate hike. The trail is not well-maintained, but it's not horrible either. It's very well signed. You do have to be vigilant about poison oak. My friend hiked it in shorts and sneakers without any issues. I recommend going counter clockwise, which quickly winds its way up the summit of Mt. Ellen within the first mile. The views from there aren't amazing as they're mostly obstructed, but the hike is quite easy going the rest of the way with some excellent vistas. You'll be rewarded in the final descent upon entering the old redwood groves, which are magical. Sadly, there are obvious signs of fire damage all around. It was Saturday and we encountered not a single person on the trail.

Narrow trails and suits solo, very nice.

8 months ago

Definitely a fire road, no trail. But where can you go on memorial/Labor Day for a hike and only run into two hikers?!?

no shade
9 months ago

A good walk on what could be read as a fire road. Herding cows can block the way but that’s ok

10 months ago

Lightly traveled and not well maintained. But still worth it! Most of the trail is in fine shape. Only a few places need work. Beautiful, thick redwood groves at lower elevations. Classic California conifers at higher elevations. Easy-to-moderate. Not buggy. Poison oak palooza in some parts but not overhanging the trail. Long pants and sleeves and you should be fine.

West Brook trail is still officially closed, but it's passable. There's a trail gate off the fire road that's closed, but you can go around it. Also the bridge across the creek is being repaired, but you can still walk across it. The rest of the loop is in good shape, and was a very enjoyable walk.

11 months ago

A pretty sunny day but by the time I got back there it was overcast and foggy. Felt like a completely different world. Amazing to hike when there’s fog rolling between the hills. Easily added to my favorites list, largely due to the atmosphere of the current weather. Only downside is: with cows, comes flies.

on Butano Ridge Loop Trail

Mon Oct 22 2018

I went with a meet up group first time. Leader was super knowledgeable of the off trails which ultimately let back to the loop. beautiful trees, loads of ferns, just awesomest trail for the day. loved it.

Sat Oct 06 2018

Scenery: 3 Views: 4 Difficulty: 3 Crowds: 2 Shade: 1 My 1-5 Rating Scale Comparisons for above: 5 for Scenery; Mcway Falls Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP 4.5 for Scenery: Berry Creek Falls Big Basin State Park 4 for Scenery: Steep Ravine Trail 5 for Views: Nimitz Trail Tilden Park 5 for Views: Ridge Trail San Bruno Mtn Park 4.5 for Views Montara Mtn Summit San Pedro County Park 4 for Views Rancho Canada Del Oro Bald Peaks trail 5 for Difficulty: Junipero Serra Peak 4 for Difficulty: Mount El Sombroso Loop Trail

Just awesome. Lots of spider webs, plants very close to the trail because of the TRAIL CLOSED sign on the Pomponio trail (which we ignored - nothing wrong there) so I guess people avoided it. It was a little bit more than 8.8 miles, about 10 by the end but worth it.

Thu Jun 21 2018

I went hiking on a late Sunday afternoon. Not too strenuous. There was practically no traffic, I saw a total of four humans the entire time I was there. About a quarter of the way in you start feeling completely isolated from the rest of the world, except for the cows. You pass through grazing lands and there are way too many cows. Some sections seemed a little dangerous where the cows did not have an escape route and ran right in front of me to get away from me. Also, the large population of cows results in manure related stench being prevalent for significant portions of the trail. I also found a snake playing possum and some very curious deer when it was nearing sunset. All in all, a nice refreshing hike.

It’s pretty and challenging, there’s also a lot of manure and flies

Lots of trail closures including Shaw flat, west brook and parts of old haul. Almost had to reverse most of the “loop” but turned out ok. Nice walking through a variety of eco systems.

Thu Mar 15 2018

As of mid-March 2018, Old Haul road was closed only a mile and a half into this hike, so I instead wandered around the other trails within the Pescadero Creek Park for 16 miles. There weren’t any views, but there were some nice big redwoods and the trails were well marked.

Quiet as quiet gets. Bit soft, muddy after the rains but nothing slippery. Hard to take in the beauty when you you have to look down so as to avoid squishing a banana slug though:-)

Sat Nov 25 2017

A bit riddled with poison oak, but a classic redwoods and valleys.

Old Haul Road was closed for a stretch when we went in late August. We broke away from the suggested loop and explored the other trails in the park. Really quite trail--scarcely traveled, which meant we had to walk through some spider webs. Lots of second growth redwoods as the area looks like it was an old logging site.

Beautiful trail, but we have several times clung there ticks.

Sat Jun 03 2017

Really great views of Deaborn and Pescadero creek parks but the ridge side of the trail is not maintained at all. The trail doesn't see a lot of traffic so it's a poison oak nightmare, make sure to wear high socks and long sleeves.

Sun Apr 02 2017

Was planning to do this hike with our dog, but, be warned, the info on this site that dogs on leash are allowed is incorrect. No dogs are allowed in Pescadero Creek County Park.

mountain biking
Mon Aug 22 2016

Couldn't believe we didn't see a soul using this beautiful trail after a mile in - on a Sunday afternoon. Remote and peaceful!

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