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Phleger Estate Loop Hike

Golden Gate National Recreation Area

San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California

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Phleger Estate Loop Hike

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  • The parking area on Skyline Boulevard is unmarked.- Phleger Estate Loop Hike
  • Fire road entrance to the park.- Phleger Estate Loop Hike
  • It is often foggy at the top of the trail.- Phleger Estate Loop Hike
  • Second-growth redwoods are still beautiful.- Phleger Estate Loop Hike
  • The green of the rich moss is blinding.- Phleger Estate Loop Hike
  • A poetic bench.- Phleger Estate Loop Hike
  • Much of the trail is along steep ravines.- Phleger Estate Loop Hike
  • California newt.- Phleger Estate Loop Hike
  • Moss grows thickly on many of the trees.- Phleger Estate Loop Hike
  • Many 150-year-old stumps are still visible.- Phleger Estate Loop Hike
  • The trail signs are elegant throughout the park.- Phleger Estate Loop Hike
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Beautiful second-growth redwood forest. Not crowded.
Cons: 
Continuous grade from Skyline Boulevard.
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Region:
San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, CA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,318.00 ft (401.73 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
6.00 mi (9.66 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
2,000.00 ft (609.60 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

This 1,084-acre parcel of second-growth redwood forest was acquired from the Phleger family in 1994 by the Peninsula Open Space Trust with the help of many private donors and matching funds from the Federal Government. The property was turned over to the National Park Service, and it became the southernmost unit of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The Phleger family home and 24 acres of land were sold to Gordon Moore, one of the founders of Intel, who still owns it today. The park can be accessed from Huddart Park to the east and south or from a few points on Skyline Boulevard to the west. The latter is longer and involves much more elevation change, but it traverses a wonderfully remote and little-used section of the forest that makes the climbing worthwhile.

The point where the aptly-named Lonely Trail begins off of Skyline does not have a formal parking area, just a wide spot on the road with room for about three cars (Ieaving access to the fire road open). The trail winds down through several drainages that contain areas of redwoods logged in the time just before and during the Civil War to build the city of San Francisco. The redwoods have made a robust return, and today some trees are quite large. About 1.8 miles from Skyline the Lonely Trail reaches a junction with the Raymundo Trail to the left and the Mount Redondo Trail to the right. These trails meet again about 2.1 miles away, so a loop can be hiked going in either direction. At the far end of the loop the original Phleger residence can be spotted through the trees on the left across the creek.

During the rainy season, be on the lookout for newts that can often be seen walking on the path or along the side and are easy to step on. The National Park Service has done a nice job of maintaining the trails, and there are occasional benches that make great spots to rest and contemplate the often soundless forest. Due to the foggy climate, these are seldom dry! Many people access the loop from nearby Huddart Park because it makes a wonderful running trail, but no bikes or dogs are allowed.

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(15 within a 30 mile radius)

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(94 within a 30 mile radius)

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