Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
1,200.00 ft (365.76 m)
Trail type
5.80 mi (9.33 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Purisima Creek Trail is part of the 24-mile network of beautifully developed trails and historical logging roads in the 4,711-acre Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve. The Preserve was established in 1982 with a $2 million gift from the Save-the-Redwoods League to the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. This there-and-back trail totals roughly 5.9 miles to Grabtown Gulch Trail and back. Along the hike you will cross Purisima Creek, and you may get a few glimpses of the Pacific Ocean and Half Moon Bay. The trail is completely downhill, so make sure to save your energy for the hike back. If you choose to do the loop, you will add between 5 and 8 miles to your hike depending on the route you take. Plan on some steep elevation changes along the way. Along with the occasional hikers, you may run into a few mountain bikers and horseback riders.

The Purisima Creek Trail is well groomed and surrounded by towering redwood trees and sprawling ferns that offer cool shade on a hot day. The beginning of the hike is especially lush, with the lower end of the trail transitioning to a mix of redwoods, tanoak, madrone, Douglas fir, and sycamore trees. Toward the lower end of the trail, you will cross the bubbling Purisima Creek and see a few picturesque wooden bridges.

This hike can get a bit hot in the summer, so be sure to bring water. Weekends are a little busier and the parking lot can fill up quickly, so you may need to search for a spot along the highway. Restroom facilities are available near the Skyline Boulevard trailhead entrance and also down at the Higgins and Purisima Creek Trailhead entrance. The preserve is open from dawn until 30 minutes after sunset. These trails get dark quickly once the sun sets, so be sure to bring a flashlight if you are planning a hike later in the day. You may run into some seasonal closures if the rains are heavy, and you can call 650-691-1200 to check on conditions.

Note: Trailhead signs warn of ticks, poison oak, and rattlesnakes. This area is also part of the peninsula's mountain lion habitat, though sightings are rare.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Towering redwood trees. Quiet. Well-kept trails.


Occasional weather-related closures.

Trailhead Elevation

2,000.00 ft (609.60 m)


Bird watching
Old-growth forest

Suitable for



Nearby Adventures

Golden Gate National Recreation Area
San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California
San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Half Moon Bay State Park, California
San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California


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