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Winter 2002

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!

Soda Gulch Trail junction - click for larger version
Soda Gulch Trail junction (click for larger version)
Photo by Geoffrey Skinner
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: 1500 ft.)

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 trailheads.

Purisima map - click for larger version
Purisima map (click for larger version)
Excerpted from Trail Map of the Central Peninsula ©Trail Center

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