Año Nuevo Trail – Goat Hill Trail

A moderate three-mile hike in the redwoods of Butano State Park near Pescadero.

3 miles; 600 feet elev. gain; moderate
From Butano State Park entrance kiosk: Año Nuevo Trail —> Olmo Fire Road —> Goat Hill Trail Cutoff —> Goat Hill Trail —> Olmo Fire Road —> Six Bridges Trail.

This scenic and appealing trail starts steep and stays that way for the first 1.3 miles. From the park entrance kiosk (about a half-dozen parking spots are found here; there’s more parking a few hundred yards up the road), look for the Six Bridges/Año Nuevo trailhead on the south side of the road. Follow Six Bridges Trail for just a few feet before taking Año Nuevo Trail to the right.

The fern-lined trail climbs up past fragrant bay laurels and oaks before reaching a section of hardy, wind-sculpted Douglas firs that recall cypresses. Views are across the Little Butano Creek valley to the grassy hills bisected by the Butano Fire Road or down the idyllic valley traced by Cloverdale Road toward the ocean at Pigeon Point and Año Nuevo State Park. Halfway up you’ll find a nice bench for chilling; another awaits near the top of the climb, where your elevation hovers around 1000 feet. The Doug firs give way to second-growth redwoods as you climb up and into the park’s protected interior.

At Olmo Fire Road turn right and continue up the hill for another quarter-mile or so, then take the Goat Hill Trail Cutoff, which begins your descent through shaded woodland. At Goat Hill Trail proper you’ll have a choice to make: the 3-mile route takes the trail to the left, past a charming meadow, before rejoining Olmo Fire Road. (If time permits, follow Goat Hill Trail for a pleasant 1.5-mile detour that lands you back on the main park road at Ben Ries Campground.) Just before the Olmo Fire Road meets the main park road, you’ll see the Six Bridges Trail off to the left; it parallels the paved main road on an undulating ridge to wind up back at the entrance kiosk. Hop in your car and head south down Cloverdale Road until you reach Gazos Creek Road; turn right and in no time it will pop you out on Highway 1, conveniently close to the Highway 1 Brewing Company.

—Traci Hukill

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