We’ve all got our usual trails–hikes we know like the back of our hand. After exploring every nook of my home hiking turf, I opted against my usual weekday trek and ventured south along Highway 1. Stretching about 30 miles past Pacifica lies the quaint beach town of Pescadero. Between its local trails, white sandy beaches, and stunning tide pools, this quiet gem offers all the essentials for an outdoor day trip.

Kimberly Gomes/Sunset Publishing

Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Constructed in 1872, this historic landmark beamed forewarning light through the coastal fog for generations. These days the ancient light station double duties as a tourist spot and a visual bonus to Pigeon Point Hostel. Bring your camera and take advantage of the mellow coastal trail and view points. Those seeking added exploration can wander along  the tide pools filled with starfish and seaside happenings.

Tip: If you're a picnic lover, grab some tasty artichoke bread from Arcangeli Grocery Co./Norm’s Market before heading over. Bring a blanket or snag one of the benches at Pigeon Point for a snack with a view.

Kimberly Gomes/Sunset Publishing

Butano State Park

Most folks have traversed through the mountainous wonders of Big Basin State Park. Just six miles from Pigeon Point Lighthouse, though, sits Big Basin's quiet cousin, Butano State Park. This shaded forest features redwoods, oaks, and plenty of beloved banana slugs. Hikers of all levels have 4,628 acres of canyons and uplands to explore. Try the Jackson Flats trail for a gradual, 6-mile hike. This mostly-shaded trek offers an end-reward of forest and distant ocean views.

Those interested in a 12-mile loop through the entire park trail can go from Jackson Flats  to the Butano Fire Road, which leads to Olmo Fire Road. This road takes trekkers down to Doe Ridge before reaching Goat Hill Trail. The loop culminates at Little Butano Creek trail and guides guests back to the park's main road. Don't forget to bring $10 for the entrance fee, and pick up a map before exploring.




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