Mellow in the Marsh

Hike Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve on the San Mateo Coast

Beach, birds, ice plant popping purple flowers: That’s a hiking slam dunk! Hike about 2 miles at Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve using their fully reopened and well-signed Sequoia Audubon Trail. Great blue herons, red-tailed hawks, great egrets, even turtles use the habitats here, which include a tidal estuary, woodlands, and water marshes.

This 2-mile hike combines the preserve’s tranquil trail system and its sister beach along Highway 1. Starting from the parking area at Pescadero State Beach, follow the route that briefly parallels Highway 1 before a short stairway to Pescadero State Beach winds you underneath the bridge to a lagoon at Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve.

Over 200 bird species have appeared over the years, including cormorants and great blue herons, currently abundant in the area. The trail crosses a few bridges and gradually ascends to a bench overlooking the preserve. Return the way you came, but detour onto North Pond Trail for another nice vista on the other side of the steel bridge.

BONUS: No-cost guided marsh walking tours happen every first Sunday of the month at 10 a.m. and the third Sunday at 1 p.m. (weather permitting).

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EAT & DRINK:East of the marsh lies little Pescadero, a coastal farming community that’s emerged as artisan while maintaining its down-to-earth roots. Stage Road is lined with artisan craft shops from pottery and jewelry to beautiful woodworks, and throwback stores with checkered button-ups so old they’ve come back in style! And of course, don’t skip a chance to eat the signature artichoke soup and drink the tasty cocktails at Duarte’s Tavern.

Duartes Tavern in Pescadero

It’s most famously known for the pies (the boysenberry fresh baked is a Weekend Sherpa favorite), but there’s plenty of other delicious food cooking. Grab a seat at the bar or take a table and order the Burnin’ Up margarita. Just to get you started….

Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve is on Hwy. 1, 15 miles south of Hwy. 92. The Sequoia Audubon Trail is accessed from the central Pescadero State Beach parking lot. Follow signs to the pedestrian walkway over the Hwy. 1 bridge and take the stairs to the beach. Walk under the bridge from the beach and find the trail sign. No dogs.

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