Atkinson Bluff Trail

Año Nuevo State Park

San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California

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Atkinson Bluff Trail


  • Atkinson Bluff Trailhead.- Atkinson Bluff Trail
  • Wildflowers along the trail.- Atkinson Bluff Trail
  • The open bluffs expose wonderful vistas.- Atkinson Bluff Trail
  • A few elephant seals basking in a tiny cove.- Atkinson Bluff Trail
  • A pause to contemplate the view.- Atkinson Bluff Trail
  • Looking south from the bluffs.- Atkinson Bluff Trail
  • Benches invite stopping to take it all in.- Atkinson Bluff Trail
  • Oxalis blooming along the bluff.- Atkinson Bluff Trail
  • Looking south toward Año Nuevo Point.- Atkinson Bluff Trail
  • Delicately-carved rocks on the rocky bluffs.- Atkinson Bluff Trail
  • Atkinson Bluffs.- Atkinson Bluff Trail
  • The return trail leads through hedges of poison oak.- Atkinson Bluff Trail
  • Massive poison oak bushes line the trail.- Atkinson Bluff Trail
Overview + Weather
Level, easy hike. Glorious views. Several loop options.
Some easily-avoided poison oak.
San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, CA
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
90.00 ft (27.43 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
1.00 mi (1.61 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
100.00 ft (30.48 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

There are five highway-side parking areas in Año Nuevo State Park north of the main entrance and Marine Education Center. Each of these offers beach access, and all of them except Gazos Creek have trails that lead to the spectacular Atkinson Bluff Trail that winds for 3 miles from Franklin Point in the north to the border of the restricted area of Año Nuevo Coast Natural Preserve to the south. Easy loops are possible from any of the trailheads, though most will require walking along Highway 1 to complete the loop.

An easy 1-mile loop that doesn’t require leaving the bluffs starts at the parking area just north of the Whitehouse Creek bridge. From here the south trail leads to Whitehouse Creek Beach and the intersection with the Atkinson Bluff Trail, which can be followed in either direction. Going north, the trail skirts the edge of the cliffs and offers magnificent views up and down the coast. Taking the first junction to the right leads back to the starting point, but continuing straight to add some out-and-back distance is a great option for a longer hike.

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(16 within a 30 mile radius)

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(93 within a 30 mile radius)

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