Marvel At Towering Northern California Redwoods
Looking for an unforgettable experience amid the towering California Redwoods? From gently sloping trails to long and strenuous treks, Half Moon Bay offers an exhilarating range of off-the-beaten-path adventures to challenge your inner road warrior. Disappear into the 3,360-acre Purisima Creek Canyon preserve, where you’ll wind through majestic Northern California redwoods, fording crystal clear creek waters, and take in magnificent views of the coast and Half Moon Bay. Watch over 200 species of birds – including blue herons, great egrets, and snowy egrets, hard at work and play at Pescadero Marsh Bird Refuge. Enjoy a sunset picnic of California wine and cheese at the foot of a towering redwood or saddle up for a brisk early morning gallop on a meandering forest trail.
Trivia: While there are 2,000-year-old redwoods in our neighborhood, most of the redwoods we see are much, much younger—about 50-150 years old (that’s equivalent to about age 2-6 in human years). That’s because since California’s Gold Rush (beginning in 1848), about 95% of the local redwood forest—which once stretched across the Santa Cruz Mountains—was logged to build (and rebuild) cities like San Francisco, San Jose and beyond. (Coast redwoods can grow 100 feet in their first 50 years, so they quickly look like grown-ups.) So, when you walk or ride through the area, remember you are in a nursery of young redwoods.
440′ Zip Line, Anyone?
Redwood Canopy Tours at Mount Hernon, guests can enjoy the coastal redwood forest with a view only a canopy tour can provide on this two-hour all-inclusive guided tour in the redwood canopy of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Led by two certified guides, experience six zip lines up to 440 feet long, and two sky bridges up to 150 feet high.
Redwood Tours, walk among the ancient, towering redwoods of Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve. Keep your eyes peeled for banana slugs and stop to savor the juicy tartness of the thimbleberries.
Biking, grab a bike and feel the exhilaration of gliding down a hidden forest trail. Local bike rental shops not only offer bikes and riding gear, they’re ready with plenty of recommendations and local knowledge.
Horseback riding, Choose from a wide variety of horseback riding adventures for the whole family. Spend a glorious afternoon sauntering along breathtaking forest trails and then ride off into the sunset of your dreams.
Skyline Boulevard or California State Route 35, provides a scenic passageway through Northern California Redwood country offering extended views of the Santa Cruz Mountains, San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean. Travel along this historic two-lane road for a new perspective on some of the area’s best natural wonders.
Skywood Trading Post, find everything you need and a few things you don’t at this combination deli, supermarket, gas station, saloon at the intersection of highways 84 and 35. The vintage roadsters, souped up Harleys, and tricked out sports cars that always seem to be idling out front are well worth a drop by.
Bird Watching, get a birds-eye-view of over 200 species of birds, from great blue herons, great egrets and snowy egrets to northern harriers and red-winged blackbirds.
Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve
Located on the western slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking Half Moon Bay, Purisima Creek — with its towering redwoods, rushing creek, and undergrowth of ferns, berries, and wildflowers — offers an exciting hiking environment for all abilities.
With 24 miles of developed trails and logging roads, Purisima Creek is ideal for easy walks, or long, strenuous hikes or rides. Trails out of the canyon climb up to 1,600 feet offering a spectacular vantage point. The specially surfaced Redwood Trail, is suitable for visitors of all physical abilities, winds through tall redwoods just off Skyline Boulevard, and visitors will find wheelchair-accessible picnic tables and a restroom along this flat easy route. The Redwood Trail was built through a grant from Peninsula Open Space Trust, and we thank the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District for supplying information and this map of the preserve for your visiting convenience.