Bay Area

Weekend Hikes: Purisma Creek Redwoods

Thursday May 28, 2015

We’ve recently been on the hunt for hiking spots within a half hour drive of San Francisco. This has been one of my favorite hikes yet.

Purisma Creek Redwoods Open Space Reserve took my breath away, with its remote beauty and mystery. A quick and gorgeous ride off Highway 92 in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the reserve has 24 miles of trail, through thick redwood groves, along cliff edges, and across Purisma Creek. Our trail was wide and easily demarcated, if a bit steep. The reserve also has flat trails along the creek floor.

On the morning of our hike, the fog had dipped below Twin Peaks in San Francisco, and we knew we were in for white-out conditions. We set out on our hike with fog whipping through the tops of redwoods, while the trail below was quiet, damp, and serene. The sun peaked through every now and then, casting luminous shadows on the red terrain.




With a toddler in tow, we didn’t make it too far into the reserve, but what we saw of it was tranquil and stunning. Cliffs dropped to our left and right, with views of moss wrapped trees and a ghostly vastness. I’ve read that you can see the coast and even Half Moon Bay from the trail, but the fog was so thick we had trouble seeing neighboring redwoods.




This hike isn’t the awesome grandeur of Muir Woods or other old-growth redwood groves. But, what it lacks in monument it more than makes up for in a feeling of solitude and awe. It is an ideal way to feel transported on a crisp Sunday morning, only a short drive away from the constant hustle of Silicon Valley.



Purisma Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve

Santa Cruz Mountains

Open from 30 minutes before dawn to 30 minutes after sunset, year round

Restrooms and picnic tables available

Dogs are not permitted

Bicycling permitted on designated trails

Click here for trail map

4 Responses to “Weekend Hikes: Purisma Creek Redwoods”

  1. Hi! I’ve been keeping up with your posts for a bit now and thought I’d say hi. I like your hiking posts. That second photo is gorgeous. I’m keeping a list of hiking spots too for my daughter Emma and I. I’m eyeing Pescadero Beach – apparently there’s a piano overlooking the beach 😀


    6/1/2015 at 5:57 pm

  2. Hi! Thanks for stopping by! I try to get out for weekly hikes (they’re so much fun). I’ll have to check out Pescadero Beach — a piano on the beach?!


    6/1/2015 at 6:01 pm

  3. Oh no.. I’m so sorry, upon closer inspection and Googling…apparently the Sunset Piano was burned..I was referencing an old foursquare photo from 2013. 🙁 there was a celebration around it too and a film


    6/1/2015 at 6:11 pm

  4. Oh! Thanks for the research. Sad to have missed it, but happy it was dutifully celebrated! Still looks like a tremendous spot for a hike, though, and I love Pescadero.


    6/1/2015 at 10:01 pm