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Purisima Creek & Whittemore Gulch Hike Information

This hike meanders through redwoods and along a creek before climbing up to a more exposed ridge and back down to another stream in a quiet forest.

Watch for:

Look for huckleberry shrubs, madrone, tan oak, and lots of banana slugs!

Hiking Details for Purisima Creek & Whittemore Gulch

Distance: 9.1 mile loop

Elevation change: 1600′ elevation gain

Hiking time: 5-7 hours, depending on your route

Trail surface: Packed Dirt

Best Season: All year

Managing agency: Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District

Parking lot location: Click here for directions

Overview: The Purisima Creek and Whittemore Gulch hike will make you put in work for some great ridge views.

Take the Purisima Creek Trail to the Craig Britton Trail, then the Harkins Ridge Trail, North Ridge Trail and Whittemore Gulch Trail. The Whittemore Gulch Trail is not open to bicyclists and equestrians, though some other trails in the preserve do allow bikes and horses. Please see the preserve map for more information on what activities are allowed where in this preserve.

Directions to the Purisima Creek & Whittemore Gulch Hike

There are two main trailheads to this preserve. To complete this hike, drive to the Higgins Road Trailhead southeast of Half Moon Bay. Parking is available for less than 10 cars and can be busy on the weekends so we recommend getting there early if you can.

More About Purisima Creek and Whittemore Gulch

POST protected Purisima Creek as part of our Saving the Endangered Coast Campaign back in 2005, established with a gift of $2 million from Save the Redwoods League. The Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve is located on the western slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking Half Moon Bay. This open space features amazing views of the coast and Half Moon Bay, visible from the northern part of the preserve.

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