Full Review: Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve

The entrance to the preserve is just off Skyline Boulevard - look for the large wooden sign.  There is a large dirt parking lot that is rarely full.  They have a restroom but no running water.  Please note that this trail leads down a hill and all the trails that stem from this generally go downhill with not much flat walking area.  The trails are generally shady so they are perfect for the summer months when it can get very hot and can be quite cool and damp in the fall and winter. You may even see banana slugs crossing the trails during these times.

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     Sign at preserve entrance                      Parking lot

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               Trail entrance                                  Restroom

Follow the trail down the hill.  You will almost immediately come to a split in the path where hikers bear right and hikers and bicycles bear left.  If you want to avoid the bicycles, stay on the right – Bay Area Ridge Trail. Year round these trails are green and shady.

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  Bear right at fork in the path                    Green trails

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                 Greenery                      Sunlight thru the trees

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                                    Shady tree views

After the switch backs, you will have views of the hills to your right. If you are lucky to have a clear day, you can start to see the Pacific Ocean through the trees.

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                                           Trail views

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             More trail views                              Switchback

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                                      Views of the hills

After walking about 0.5 miles, you will come to a gate (see below).  This connects back up to the wide North Ridge Trail that is shared with bicyclists. At this gate, North Ridge Trail meets up with Whittemore Gulch Trail.  Bear right at this fork in the road to stay on the North Ridge Trail.


 Whittemore Gulch connection

The North Ridge Trail proceeds downhill for another 1.2 miles and continues through the shady Redwood forest.   The trail will meet up with another trail on the left, so stay to the right to continue on North Ridge Trail.  After a while, the trail opens up and you get views of the mountain range and an unobstructed view of the Pacific Ocean.

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                              Views of the Redwood forest

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Bear right at the next connector                 More shade

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                                 Views of the Pacific Ocean

Looking further down the hill, the sunny trail winds its way down and back up through an open area to its natural end at the top of the wooded hill. Here, you see wildflowers even in July – bush monkey flower, mayweed and red heart-leaved keckiella.

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           End of trail                         Monkey flower

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                  Mayweed                            Heart-leaved keckiella