Hazelnut Trail, San Pedro Valley Park,
San Mateo County Parks,
San Mateo County
In brief:
This 4.2 mile loop is the longest hike within the park, and is a good tour through San Pedro's varied vegetation.

Distance, category, and difficulty
:
This 4.3 mile loop hike is easy, with about 900 feet in elevation change. Trailhead elevation is about 200 feet, and the high point is about 1030 feet.

Exposure:
Mix of sun and shade.

Trail traffic:
Light.

Trail surfaces:
Dirt trails and fire roads.

Hiking time:
2 hours.

Season:
Nice any time; lovely in spring.

Getting there:
From CA 1 in Pacifica (San Mateo County), turn east at Linda Mar Boulevard. Drive east on Linda Mar about 2 miles to the end of the road, then turn right on Oddstad and almost immediately make a left into the park.

Get driving or public transit directions from Transit and Trails:
http://www.transitandtrails.org/trailheads/399

GPS Coordinates* for Trailhead:
Latitude 3734'44.05"N
Longitude
12228'28.02"W
(* based on Google Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)

Gas, food, and lodging:
Gas, pay phone, restaurants, and stores back near CA 1 on Linda Mar. No camping.

Trailhead details:
Once past the entrance kiosk, bear right and park in the lot. $6 entrance fee (self-register is kiosk is unattended). Maps available at the trailhead information signboard. Wheelchair accessible restrooms and drinking water at edge of parking lot. Several designated handicapped parking spots, and some trails are wheelchair accessible. SamTrans bus #14 stops at Linda Mar and Oddstad, and you can walk into the park from there visit the Transit Info website for details..

Rules:
Bikes are permitted on only one trail. Some trails are designated hiking only, and a few allow equestrians. No dogs. Park is open from 8 a.m. to about sunset (hours vary seasonally).

The Official Story
:
CSMP's San Pedro page.
Park headquarters 650-355-8289

Map Choices/More Info:
• Use AAA's San Francisco Bay Region map to get there
Hiking, Bicycling, and Equestrian Trail Map of Pacifica and Trails of the Coastside and Northern Peninsula are the best map guides to the park (available from Pease Press).
Map from CSMP
A hike through San Pedro to the top of Montara Mountain is mapped and described in 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: San Francisco, by Jane Huber (yup, that's me, the creator of this website). Order this book from Amazon.com.
Peninsula Trails, by Jean Rusmore, has a simple map and trail descriptions (order this book from Amazon.com).
• Tom Taber's The Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Book has a simple map and park descriptions (order this book from Amazon.com).
Read more about other Bay Area Hiker loops at San Pedro.

View photos from this hike.




Go to Bay Area Hiker Home page


Hazelnut Trail, at 3.3 miles, Parking lot is the longest path in San Pedro Valley Park. Designed with plenty of switchbacks, the aptly named trail climbs through chaparral and permits sweeping views of the rest of the park, Sweeney Ridge, the ocean, and Montara Mountain. The hiking and equestrian trail makes a nice, easy loop when combined with Weiler Ranch Road and Plaskon Nature Trail.
      Start at the information signboard near the start of Plaskon Nature Trail. Cross the bridge and walk about 90 feet on Plaskon Ridge Trail, then turn right at the signed junction with Hazelnut Trail.
     The hiking and equestrian trail begins under cover of a particularly large and lovely coast live oak. In spring, you may see trillium and forget-me-nots. Hazelnut Trail soon leaves the woods and begins an ascent through grassy chaparral. Hazelnut TrailPoison oak is everywhere, and is particularly obvious in autumn and early spring, when the leaves are red-tinged. A few madrones and coast live oak persist, but gradually the trail makes a transition into more shrubby vegetation. Creambush, coyote brush, huckleberry, hazelnut, ceanothus, chinquapin, toyon, California coffeeberry, elderberry, and manzanita line the narrow path. You might see vetch and hound's tongue in early spring. As you climb you'll have views, initially of Weiler Ranch Road and the valley, then followed by glimpses of Sweeney Ridge and Montara Mountain. Cow parsnip crowds the trail in spring, and hedge nettle, hound's tongue, starflower, iris, false Solomon's seal, and trillium bloom in the shady spots.Blue witch nightshade, thimbleberry, currant, yerba santa, and pitcher sage also make occasional appearances. A view back down Hazelnut TrailHazelnut Trail passes through a eucalyptus grove, resumes a climb through chaparral, bisects a second eucalyptus forest, and again emerges in chaparral. You might see mission bells in early spring, in bloom along with thimbleberry, and ceanothus. Manzanitas, which start flowering at San Pedro around Christmas, will already have berries developing by winter's end. The trail is rutted and tough to walk in some stretches. A series of switchbacks will lead you to a bench with a view back down to Hazelnut Trail, and up to Montara Mountain. Thick hedges of huckleberry tower over the trail on the right, and on the right you might see the last blossoms on currant bushes in early spring. As Hazelnut Trail heads east, Sweeney Ridge is visible on a clear day.The trail starts to descend on switchbacks, with the same familiar chaparral plants lining the trail. View to Weiler Ranch RoadPoison oak, which had abated for a while, returns with a vengeance. Hazelnut shrubs are common, although you might not notice them in the winter when they ditch their leaves. Weiler Ranch Road comes back into view. On a hot day, a bench under some chinquapin is a perfectly shaded rest spot. You may see milkmaids, paintbrush, and manroot blooming in spring. At 3.37 miles, Hazelnut Trail ends at Weiler Ranch Road. Turn left.
      Flat Weiler Ranch Road, open to hikers, equestrians, and cyclists, runs along the Middle Fork of San Pedro Creek. This wide trail is popular with parents pushing strollers and kids learning to ride bicycles. Dogwood thrives near the waterway. After crossing a bridge, Weiler Ranch Road follows the contour of the valley floor, where deer are commonly spotted. At 3.62 miles, Weiler Ranch Road meets Valley View Trail at a signed junction. Continue straight on Weiler Ranch Road.Weiler Ranch Road
      As you draw near the park's border, Weiler Ranch Road splits. Either leg is a option, I took the path to the left (if you stay to the right, you'll pass the other end of Valley View Trail; turn left and head roughly west). After crossing the creek again, you'll pass two reservable group picnic areas and some restrooms. Weiler Ranch Road ends at the edge of the parking lot, at 4.16 miles. Turn left and walk on the sidewalk a few feet, then turn left on Plaskon Nature Trail.
      A bridge crosses the South Fork of San Pedro Creek, where salmon may be spotted spawning after heavy winter rains. Willow, and dogwood, as well as coast live oak, shade the path. At 4.24 miles, you'll reach a previously encountered junction with Hazelnut Trail. Continue on Plaskon Nature Trail to the trailhead.

Total distance: 4.26 miles
Last hiked: Tuesday, November 11, 2003