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Pescadero Creek Loop Information

This loop takes you through two parks in the heart of the Pescadero watershed, and some of the healthiest, continuous forest on the Peninsula.

Watch for:

As you walk, look for for black-tailed deer, raccoons, and mountain lions. And if you're really lucky you may spot endangered marbled murrelet, which nest within the park.

Hiking Details for Pescadero Creek Loop

Distance: 6 miles

Elevation change: 700 feet

Hiking time: 3 hours

Trail surface: Varied

Best Season: Year round

Managing agency: San Mateo County Parks

Parking lot location: Click here for directions

Overview: This loop takes you through deep redwood forests and oak woodlands, past an early shingle mill and a massive old-growth redwood tree with a circumference of over 40 feet.

Start your hike on the Upper Coyote Ridge Trail traveling south. About 0.5 miles in you will cross into Portola Redwoods State Park. Continue straight when Upper Coyote Ridge trail becomes Coyote Ridge Trail, and turn right onto Pomponio Trail, which leads you back into Pescadero Creek County Park.

Continue on the Pomponio Trail past the Tarwater Trail Camp. Stay right to turn onto the Shingle Mill Trail to head back north.

Looking to the left from the Shingle Mill Trail, you’ll see old remnants of logging days (including equipment) and fairy rings. Follow the Shingle Mill Trail as it crosses Shingle Mill Creek and begins to ascend.  About half a mile after you cross the Shingle Mill creek drainage you will see a giant old-growth redwood on the left side of the trail. Continue your ascent approximately one mile back to the Tarwater trailhead.

Directions to Pescadero Creek Loop

From Skyline, take Alpine Road westbound for about 4 miles, passing the turn off for Portola State Park. Turn left onto Camp Pomponio Road, which is dirt, and travel for approximately a mile until you reach the Tarwater Trailhead and parking lot.

More About Pescadero Creek Park

Pescadero Creek Park sits on top a deposit of natural gas and oil. Occasionally, crude oil pools up in the channel of Tarwater Creek and natural gas bubbles up through seams near Hoffman Creek. In the 1970s, oil exploration was attempted but failed.

The park is part of an 8020 acre parkland area which also includes Sam McDonald and Memorial county parks. It is also adjacent to Portola Redwoods State park, where POST protected about 120 acres in 1990, adding even more beautiful forested trails to explore. This loop hike takes you briefly into Portola Redwoods State Park, before returning to Pescadero Creek Park for the majority of the hike.

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