Conveniently located across the highway from the Kirk Creek campground, the Kirk Creek Trail, also known as the Vicente Flat Trail, is a must-do for anyone staying at the campground or even driving through. The trail is a constant climb along the shoulder of the coastal hills that eventually connects with trails from Limekiln State Park and reaches the Vicente Flat Campground high up Hare Canyon at 1,630 feet. This adventure only goes as far as the point where the trail turns inland into Hare Canyon and leaves the coast (and the grand views) behind, but the advanced hiker can climb another 1,100 feet to the top of Cone Peak.
Leaving the well-marked trailhead on Highway 1, the trail is not steep but climbs steadily with a few switchbacks. There are nice views of Kirk Creek Campground below, and the views of the coastline in both directions get increasingly spectacular with each turn of the trail. In spring the wildflowers are abundant with California poppy, ceanothus, morning glory and lupine. There are a few deep creek drainages that have small stands of redwood trees, but this is near the southern limits of their range, so other than in a few deep canyons like Limekiln, the trees look like they are struggling a bit for survival. At just over 1.5 miles the last of the coastal views recede as the trail turns east up Hare Canyon, and this is a logical place to turn around for hikers looking for trip of only a few hours.