San Francisco: Pescadero Creek Loop

Go deep into a rugged creek basin teeming with towering trees and a charming waterfall on this 4.2-mile hike in Portola Redwoods State Park.
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Go deep into a rugged creek basin teeming with towering trees and a charming waterfall on this 4.2-mile hike in Portola Redwoods State Park.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 6.8

Waypoints

PWL001

Location: 37.2531318664551, -122.218902587891

Head W, following creek lined with madrones and western azaleas

PWL002

Location: 37.253490447998, -122.220901489258

L onto Iverson Trail--named after a settler who rode with Pony Express; his 120-year-old cabin fell in 1989 quake

PWL003

Location: 37.2531089782715, -122.222801208496

R onto Pomponio Trail; look up at sun streaking through redwood canopy (don't trip on honeysuckles and huckleberries)

PWL004

Location: 37.2600517272949, -122.235298156738

L onto Bridge Trail, descend toward Pescadero Creek

PWL005

Location: 37.256649017334, -122.232902526855

Cross creek on bridge and climb slopes thick with redwood, fir, maple

PWL006

Location: 37.2560501098633, -122.232696533203

Keep L on Bridge Trail slightly downhill past thick meadow on R

PWL007

Location: 37.2535743713379, -122.229911804199

L @ T onto Old Haul Road; after crossing Hooker Creek, stay L @ next Y and pass into sandy section of little redwoods clinging to the hillside

PWL008

Location: 37.2472190856934, -122.218399047852

L @ Y onto Iverson Trail

PWL009

Location: 37.2491607666016, -122.220054626465

Go L to Tiptoe Falls

PWL010

Location: 37.248950958252, -122.220596313477

Fern-fringed Tiptoe Falls spills off Fall Creek from 6-ft. ledge; return to WPT 9 and go L

PWL011

Location: 37.2497787475586, -122.217903137207

L @ Y, then R @ next Y. Optional: Short .2-mi. loop on Sequoia Nature Trail passes 2,000-year-old Shell Tree

PWL012

Location: 37.2513427734375, -122.22021484375

Cross Pescadero Creek on seasonal bridge for Se­quoia Nature Trail. Reach road in .3 mi.; backtrack to WPT 1, closing loop

Perspective

Location: 37.2536888122559, -122.219352722168

A hiker stands next to a redwood that fills out the frame. ©Dave Miller

Banana slug

Location: 37.2534255981445, -122.224113464355

These never-in-a-hurry, neon-yellow crawlers are a common sight. Give them a wide berth on the trail. ©Dave Miller

Into the thick forest

Location: 37.2596244812012, -122.235511779785

Two hikers continue into the heart of Portola Redwoods State Park. ©Dave Miller

Creek crossing

Location: 37.2567977905273, -122.233009338379

Jump through Pescadero Creek. ©Dave Miller

Quiet paths

Location: 37.2548065185547, -122.231834411621

Far from the road, the trail widens and the noise filters away. ©Dave Miller

Bridge over the creek

Location: 37.256534576416, -122.233009338379

The bridge on Bridge Trail that crosses Pescadero Creek. ©DaveMiller

Growth in the understory

Location: 37.2534255981445, -122.229698181152

Colorful Fungus growing on a fallen tree. ©Dave Miller

Gurgling falls

Location: 37.2489929199219, -122.220794677734

Nestled away from the main trail, Tiptoe Falls is a small cascade into a shallow pool on the Pescadero Creek. ©DaveMiller

Giants of the forest

Location: 37.2516784667969, -122.220817565918

Cathedral-like grove of giant redwoods. Colorful Fungus growing on a fallen tree. ©Dave Miller

Sky-reaching redwoods

Location: 37.2511901855469, -122.22004699707

This pair of twin redwoods stretches high into the canopy. ©Dave Miller

Log over the creek

Location: 37.2514343261719, -122.220146179199

A fallen log intersects the gentle ripples of Pescadero Creek. ©Dave Miller