Pescadero Creek Park is the largest of triad of adjacent county parks, and is also connected to Portola Redwoods State Park. In the Santa Cruz mountains and filled with second generation redwoods the park also features multiple backpacking campsites. Many tree very large tree stumps are visible from the trails but the newer trees are thick and tower overhead.
The Butano Loop follows Old Haul Road, and old logging road, along the Pescadero Creek valley, and climbs up a single track hiking trail which is gently graded, climbing 1,500 feet to a fire road, following the ridgeline before descending back down to the valley.
I’ve hiked this loop multiple times and you almost feel like you have most of the park to yourself once on the loop, there are no great vistas from the trail, just the bay ridge peeking through here and there and a lot of trees.
- The hike starts at the Hoffman Creek trailhead on Wurr Road where there’s free street side parking, crossing over Hoffman Creek and following along Old Haul Road for the first 1.9 miles.
- At this point you can either follow Ocean View Trail up anti-clockwise or continue on as I did and to the loop clockwise. Butano Loop Trail is another 2.5 miles along Old Haul Road, which undulates slightly but is mostly flat as it follows the valley formed by Pescadero Creek.
- Butano Loop Trail climbs 1,500 feet uphill for 3 miles to join up to Butano Fire Road. The trail meanders and switchbacks through the trees with a fairly constant grade which makes it a pleasant climb. Near to the junction there’s some rock formations which overhang as the softer rock underneath has eroded away.
- Butano Fire Road follows along the ridge for 1.9 miles peeking out into the sun in a couple of places. The tree cover on both sides obscures any views.
- Ocean View Trail descends back down to Old Haul Road over 2.4 miles, the final half mile follows along Dark Gulch valley, a seasonal tributary into Pescadero Creek, true to its name it’s cooler and darker and a little lusher.
- Finally retrace your steps along Old Haul Road for the final 1.9 miles back up to the trailhead.
The hike starts at the Hoffman Creek trailhead on Wurr Road where there’s free street side parking, crossing over Hoffman Creek and following along Old Haul Road for the first 1.9 miles.