The Trail Companion
Fleet Feet on Redwood and Coastside Trails
A Shorter Run in Purisima...
For a shorter route, I continue down this steep trail,
which is more of a fire road, descending quickly back
towards Purisima Creek. Much of this part of the loop is so
steep that I find I must walk or scrabble down, so be
careful! The trail follows the creek for about the last
one-half mile and then I am back at the bridge and heading
for the parking lot. (Approx. total distance: 6.5 miles.
Approx. elevation change: 1200 feet.)
...And a Longer One
For a significantly more challenging and longer run, I
follow Harkins Ridge Trail only to its junction with the
Soda Gulch Trail (about 0.3 miles). On Soda Gulch Trail
(part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail) I descend much more
gradually, first through open scrub, tanoak and madrone,
then into Soda Gulch and its lush growth of redwoods. The
trail rolls gently, but it is narrow and partially washed
out in some areas. Watch your footing!
In about 2.5 miles the trail intersects the Purisima Creek
Trail, probably the most popular trails in the preserve.
Here I begin the final leg of my loop, which often feels
much longer than it actually is (about 2.3 miles). The
trail simply follows the creek down its gulch with
beautiful redwoods and fern-covered banks. I return to the
trailhead and am back to the parking lot in no time.
(Approx. total distance: 8 miles. Approx. elevation change:
|Soda Gulch Trail junction (click
for larger version)
Photo by Geoffrey Skinner
Note: Both courses leave from the western
boundary of the preserve, but both could easily be adapted
if you prefer to begin from the Hwy 35 parking area (4.5
miles south of Hwy. 92). Maps are usually available at both
|Purisima map (click for larger
Excerpted from Trail Map of the Central Peninsula
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