Preserve Info

Hiking
Biking
Equestrian
Wheelchair accessible
Restrooms

Overview

Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve is located on the western slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking Half Moon Bay. The centerpiece of this 4,711-acre Preserve is Purisima Creek Canyon, with its towering redwoods, rushing creek, and understory of ferns, berries, and wildflowers. Magnificent views of the coast and Half Moon Bay are visible from the northern part of the preserve.

The preserve was established with a gift of $2 million from the Save-the-Redwoods League.

Bike and Equestrian Access Limited: Activities may not be designated on all trails within the Preserve-- always refer to the map and trail signage for where the activity is permitted. 

Gallery

Features

  • Coast Redwoods - Coast Redwoods, Purisima Creek © David Sullivan Redwoods are one of the oldest trees in the world. When dinosaurs roamed the earth, redwoods were the dominate trees in the Northern hemisphere. Today, coast redwoods are only found along the coast in a narrow band stretching from southern Oregon to just south of Monterey. Coast redwoods are the tallest trees in the world, growing up to 360 feet tall (36 stories). The oldest known age of a redwood is 2,200 years, although the average mature age is 500 to 1,000 year old. The trees seen here at Purisima Creek Redwoods Preserve are probably about 100 years old. They make up what is called a second-growth forest. The original redwood forest was logged in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The largest redwoods were probably close to 1,000 years old when they were cut, with diameters between 10 and 20 feet. The large stumps along the Purisima Creek Trail are evidence of these trees. 

Directions

Main entrance and the North Ridge Trail trailhead:  Located on Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35), 4.5 miles south of Highway 92. Parking is available for 30 cars.

Get directions to main entrance:

 

Access to the Redwood Trail or Purisima Creek Trail: there is an 11-car parking area at the trailhead 6.5 miles south of Highway 92.

Get directions to Redwood/Purisima Creek Trailhead:

 

The Preserve's Western Access Point:  accessible from Purisima Creek Road. From the Highway 92 and Highway 1 intersection in Half Moon Bay, travel on Highway 1 south approximately 4.3 miles. Turn left on Verde Road. After turning on to Verde Road and traveling 1/4-mile, continue straight to remain on what becomes Purisima Creek Road. (Verde Road splits off to the right.) Travel approximately 3.7 miles on Purisima Creek Road to reach the Preserve. Parking is available for approximately 5 cars.

Get directions to western access point:

 

Trails

More than 24 miles of developed trails and historical logging roads provide opportunities for easy walks or long, strenuous hikes or rides. Remember to carry water on your hike, since the trails out of the canyon climb up to 1,600 feet and can be quite strenuous!

Redwood Trail - Suitable for visitors of all physical abilities. This Trail winds 0.25 miles through tall redwoods just off Skyline Boulevard. Visitors will find wheelchair-accessible picnic tables and a restroom along this flat easy route. The Redwood Trail was built through a grant from Peninsula Open Space Trust.

The Purisima Creek Trail - an old logging road on the western side of the preserve, passes by an accessible restroom and continues at a gentle uphill grade for the first mile into the preserve, although there are a few short sections that are a 10%-15% grade. The Trail follows along Purisima Creek, crossing the water over several bridges.

Trail Conditions

  • The Whittemore Gulch Trail is OPEN to bicyclists and equestrians.

History

Logging History

By the early 1900s, all of the trees that were not too small, too twisted, or too inaccessible were gone from Purisima Canyon. There are seven recorded mill sites along the creek banks in this Preserve. Evidence of these sites can be seen today. The redwood was used for shingles in the building of San Francisco after the Gold Rush, and for lumber for the development of Half Moon Bay, include the construction of a flume on Montara Mountain. Along the Purisima Creek Trail, visitors can see many of the cleared area that were once the sites of these sawmills. 

Regulations

  • Hours: Open dawn to one-half hour after sunset.
  • Bicyclists: Bikes are allowed on designated trails in this Preserve. Helmets are required for all riders at all times. Please observe the 15-mph trail speed limit (5-mph when passing or approaching blind turns). For more information visit the Bicycle Access page.
  • Equestrians: Horses are allowed on designated trails in this Preserve. Helmets are recommended for all equestrians. For more information visit the Equestrian Access page.
  • Groups: For safety reasons, permits are required for all groups of 20 or more people.
  • Fires: Fires are prohibited on preserves.
     
  • Smoking: Smoking is prohibited on preserves.
     
  • Weapons: Weapons of any kind are prohibited on preserves. 
     
  • Plants and Animals: Please leave plants and animals undisturbed. This not only preserves the natural environment, but is also a safety precaution. 
     
  • Water Areas: Swimming wading, or engaging in any water-contact activity in any water areas of the District is prohibited.

Download District Regulations and Ordinances

Overview

Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve is located on the western slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking Half Moon Bay. The centerpiece of this 4,711-acre Preserve is Purisima Creek Canyon, with its towering redwoods, rushing creek, and understory of ferns, berries, and wildflowers. Magnificent views of the coast and Half Moon Bay are visible from the northern part of the preserve.

The preserve was established with a gift of $2 million from the Save-the-Redwoods League.

Bike and Equestrian Access Limited: Activities may not be designated on all trails within the Preserve-- always refer to the map and trail signage for where the activity is permitted. 

Photo Gallery

Features

  • Coast Redwoods - Coast Redwoods, Purisima Creek © David Sullivan Redwoods are one of the oldest trees in the world. When dinosaurs roamed the earth, redwoods were the dominate trees in the Northern hemisphere. Today, coast redwoods are only found along the coast in a narrow band stretching from southern Oregon to just south of Monterey. Coast redwoods are the tallest trees in the world, growing up to 360 feet tall (36 stories). The oldest known age of a redwood is 2,200 years, although the average mature age is 500 to 1,000 year old. The trees seen here at Purisima Creek Redwoods Preserve are probably about 100 years old. They make up what is called a second-growth forest. The original redwood forest was logged in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The largest redwoods were probably close to 1,000 years old when they were cut, with diameters between 10 and 20 feet. The large stumps along the Purisima Creek Trail are evidence of these trees. 

Main entrance and the North Ridge Trail trailhead:  Located on Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35), 4.5 miles south of Highway 92. Parking is available for 30 cars.

Get directions to main entrance:

 

Access to the Redwood Trail or Purisima Creek Trail: there is an 11-car parking area at the trailhead 6.5 miles south of Highway 92.

Get directions to Redwood/Purisima Creek Trailhead:

 

The Preserve's Western Access Point:  accessible from Purisima Creek Road. From the Highway 92 and Highway 1 intersection in Half Moon Bay, travel on Highway 1 south approximately 4.3 miles. Turn left on Verde Road. After turning on to Verde Road and traveling 1/4-mile, continue straight to remain on what becomes Purisima Creek Road. (Verde Road splits off to the right.) Travel approximately 3.7 miles on Purisima Creek Road to reach the Preserve. Parking is available for approximately 5 cars.

Get directions to western access point:

 

Trails

More than 24 miles of developed trails and historical logging roads provide opportunities for easy walks or long, strenuous hikes or rides. Remember to carry water on your hike, since the trails out of the canyon climb up to 1,600 feet and can be quite strenuous!

Redwood Trail - Suitable for visitors of all physical abilities. This Trail winds 0.25 miles through tall redwoods just off Skyline Boulevard. Visitors will find wheelchair-accessible picnic tables and a restroom along this flat easy route. The Redwood Trail was built through a grant from Peninsula Open Space Trust.

The Purisima Creek Trail - an old logging road on the western side of the preserve, passes by an accessible restroom and continues at a gentle uphill grade for the first mile into the preserve, although there are a few short sections that are a 10%-15% grade. The Trail follows along Purisima Creek, crossing the water over several bridges.

Trail Conditions

  • The Whittemore Gulch Trail is OPEN to bicyclists and equestrians.

Logging History

By the early 1900s, all of the trees that were not too small, too twisted, or too inaccessible were gone from Purisima Canyon. There are seven recorded mill sites along the creek banks in this Preserve. Evidence of these sites can be seen today. The redwood was used for shingles in the building of San Francisco after the Gold Rush, and for lumber for the development of Half Moon Bay, include the construction of a flume on Montara Mountain. Along the Purisima Creek Trail, visitors can see many of the cleared area that were once the sites of these sawmills. 

  • Hours: Open dawn to one-half hour after sunset.
  • Bicyclists: Bikes are allowed on designated trails in this Preserve. Helmets are required for all riders at all times. Please observe the 15-mph trail speed limit (5-mph when passing or approaching blind turns). For more information visit the Bicycle Access page.
  • Equestrians: Horses are allowed on designated trails in this Preserve. Helmets are recommended for all equestrians. For more information visit the Equestrian Access page.
  • Groups: For safety reasons, permits are required for all groups of 20 or more people.
  • Fires: Fires are prohibited on preserves.
     
  • Smoking: Smoking is prohibited on preserves.
     
  • Weapons: Weapons of any kind are prohibited on preserves. 
     
  • Plants and Animals: Please leave plants and animals undisturbed. This not only preserves the natural environment, but is also a safety precaution. 
     
  • Water Areas: Swimming wading, or engaging in any water-contact activity in any water areas of the District is prohibited.

Download District Regulations and Ordinances

Download Preserve Map

Preserve Info

Hiking
Biking
Equestrian
Wheelchair accessible
Restrooms

Hours

Open dawn to one-half hour after sunset.

Preserve Activities

August 29, 2015
September 16, 2015
October 17, 2015