Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve

Pescadero State Beach

San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California

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Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve


  • The trailhead is across Highway 1 from the Pescadero State Beach south parking area.- Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve
  • Entering the preserve.- Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve
  • Bridge across Pescadero Creek.- Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve
  • Pescadero Creek.- Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve
  • The trail threads between waterways.- Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve
  • Looking back toward the beach.- Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve
  • Highway 1 bridge over Pescadero Creek.- Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve
  • Bufflehead duck coming in for a landing.- Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve
  • Bird life is abundant in the estuary.- Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve
  • The trail through Pescadero Marsh.- Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve
  • The historic town of Pescadero is a few miles up the road.- Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve
Overview + Weather
Rare coastal estuary near the Bay Area. Easy, flat hike. Solitary. Beautiful views.
San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, CA
Pets allowed: 
Parking Pass: 
State Park Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
1.50 mi (2.41 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
30.00 ft (9.14 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Pescadero Marsh is the largest tidal wetlands on the San Francisco Peninsula coast. It is home to over 200 species of birds and several endangered species including the San Francisco garter snake, California red-legged frog, tidewater goby, steelhead trout, and coho salmon.

Located just off Highway 1, the marsh preserve offers several easy and short trails to explore this unique ecosystem. There are three parking lots for Pescadero State Beach, and each one is close to a trailhead that leads into the marsh. The Butano Trail, at the southern end of the park, is an out-and-back route that will take about an hour. It is possible to create a loop from either of the center or northern parking areas with half the route following the beach and the other half returning via the marsh. Any of the trails offer beautiful views, birding, and a quick break from civilization in a little-visited natural oasis.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

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Location + Directions

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(14 within a 30 mile radius)

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(96 within a 30 mile radius)

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Adventure Community

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