Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve: 24 April 2004

Latitude: North 37° 26.990’

Longitude: West 122° 20.327’

Photos by Neil Mishalov

The PURISIMA CREEK REDWOODS OPEN SPACE PRESERVE is located on the western slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking Half Moon Bay. It is located about 50 miles southwest of my home in Berkeley, California. This magnificent preserve, encompassing 2,633 acres, was established with a gift of $2 million from Save the Redwoods League. Purisima Creek Canyon provides towering redwoods and an understory of ferns, berries, and wildflowers. Bordering the cool, moist canyon is Harkins Ridge with coastal scrub to the north, and a hardwood forest of tanoak, madrone and Douglas fir to the south. Twenty miles of developed trails and historical logging roads exist on the preserve. This hike was organized by the Stanford Outing Club.

Some hike factoids and statistics: Time on the trail: 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Number of hikers: 17. Distance covered: 9.9 miles. Total ascent: 1,870 feet. Maximum elevation: 2,000 feet. Route: Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve Main Entrance (Skyline Boulevard & North Ridge Trail Parking Lot) => North Ridge Trail => Whittemore Gulch Trail => Purisima Creek Trail => Soda Gulch Trail => Harkins Ridge Trail => North Ridge Trail => Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve Main Entrance

TRAIL MAP (pdf format)

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The start of the hike. 17 intrepid hikers are at the parking lot at Skyline Drive and the North Ridge Trail. Elevation: 2,000 ft. Heading down the North Ridge Trail In the distance is Mount Tamalpais, about 40 miles north of our location
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Sauntering along the Whittmore Gulch Trail The Pacific Ocean is in the distance, covered with a snowy cap of fog A Milk Maid (Cardamine californica)
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Common Flax (Linum usitatissimum) Northwest Crimson Columbine (Aquilegia formosa) Coltsfoot (Petasites frigidus var. palmatus)
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The Whittemore Gulch Trail as it descends towards Purisima Creek My favorite type of slug! This is a Banana Slug (Ariolimax californicus). It is found on moist forest floors of the Pacific coast of California. It is also the campus mascot of the University of California at Santa Cruz Our lunch stop. We are on the Purisima Creek Trail, overlooking the creek
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A stand of Redwood trees Redwood trees along the creek Hiking up the Purisima Creek Trail
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Coulter's Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri) Redwood-Sorrell (Oxalis oregana)
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Purisima Creek Purisima Creek We slowly gain elevation as we hike up the Purisima Creek Trail
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Deep forest Sundeep Abraham. Sundeep was the honcho of this wonderful hike A group photo on the Soda Gulch Trail.
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The Coast Range and the Pacific Ocean from the Harkins Ridge Trail Climbing up the Harkins Ridge Trail The end of another excellent hike organized by the Stanford Outing Club



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This page created on 7 May 2004, and all photographs copyright 2004, by Neil Mishalov neil@mishalov.com