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Pescadero Marsh

Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve

March 25th, 2007

1.0 miles
60 vertical feet
Total Time: 1:19

Rating: 4/10

Directions: Take Highway 92 west to Half Moon Bay. Turn left onto Highway 1 south. About 17 miles later, turn left onto Pescadero Road and then immediately left into the large dirt parking lot.   View Driving Map

Originally, we followed some bad driving directions from a book which led us to a secondary parking lot further along Pescadero Road. This has a sign and a small trail that leads toward the marsh. However, after hiking for a couple minutes we found the route unpassable -- the trail was muddy and basically disappeared into the cat tails. We backed out and then drove along Pescadero Road trying to find the right parking lot before finally finding it right next to Highway 1.

From the parking lot, you can see the waves of the Pacific Ocean crashing toward the coast. The trail is a wide dirt road that parallels Highway 1 for a short bit. Near the trailhead we saw a handful of California poppies. We saw various other wildflowers later along the trail.

Pescadero Marsh

The trail turns inland and then starts descending on single track down toward the marsh. It's a short descent, with clear views of the marsh. Along the trail is a lot of raspberry bushes. At this time of year, the cat tails of the marsh were all brown. There weren't many birds, either. We saw a handful of egrets, some ducks, and a few other birds. If you time it right, you'll probably find this place teeming with birds.


At the bottom there's a footbridge over a creek. We stopped here for a short snack before continuing along the levee. Here, the trail grew denser and denser. Long pants is a definite must for this trail, as the raspberry bushes grow closer and closer. Eventually we got to a point where it simply wasn't worth it to continue. I imagine that if the state parks continue to have budget cuts, the trail will probably all but disappear in a couple years. It probably doesn't help that the trail probably gets little use. We saw only 3 other people on the trail, and all of them were between the bridge and the parking lot.

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