Hike The Great Park: Pescadero Creek

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Jan. 2, 2015—The holidays are past, the new year's begun, and it's time to plan some butt-kicking hikes in the Great Park!

Meet the well-kept secret that is Pescadero Creek County Park. Part of a complex of four San Mateo County-owned parks that blanket 8,000 acres of Santa Cruz Mountain redwood forest, it's close enough to be on your day hike list but remote enough to weed out the unambitious. Positioned along the northern border of the 200-square-mile Great Park, Pescadero Creek County Park joins up with Portola Redwoods State Park via a long shared border and with Big Basin Redwoods State Park via the Basin Trail Easement. Translation: You can happily while away a few days up here if the season's right and the trail camps are open.

A great way to start exploring Pescadero Creek Park is by taking the Brook Trail Loop via the Heritage Grove Trail. This 8.2-mile sojourn, which includes a total of 1300 feet of climbing, starts with a very manageable ascent to a ridge before descending through primeval forest to Towne Creek. Writes our correspondent: "The cheerful stream wanders through a pint-sized canyon, complete with a gorgeous grotto and miniature waterfall beneath towering trees. Perhaps it’s some trick of topography, or the intimacy of a narrow valley, but even when you know they are coming, the size of the redwoods shocks; a new discovery over and over again." The climb back up to the ridge isn't for sissies, but it'll make the burger and beer at Highway 1 Brewing (just a suggestion) taste that much better.

Read all about the Brook Trail Loop at Pescadero Creek County Park. Find the Heritage Grove Trailhead on Alpine Road (Hwy 84) about 1 mile east of Pescadero Road. Access Alpine Road from Highway 1 at San Gregorio or via Skyline Boulevard (Hwy 35).

About The Great Park

The Great Park has no entrance kiosk or employee uniform, but it's as real as can be. Writer L. Clark Tate puts it this way: "The Great Park is Sempervirens Fund’s bid to achieve its ultimate goal to preserve a fully functioning redwood ecosystem in perpetuity ... it will link preexisting parks (such as Big Basin, Wilder Ranch and the 8,500-acre San Vicente Redwoods) in a mixed-use matrix including wild lands, recreation areas and working forests."

Intrigued? Find out more about the Great Park.

Hike The Great Park: Whitehouse Ridge
Hike The Great Park: Ocean View Summit
The Tallest Redwoods in The Great Park

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