Butano State Park


What? : A large state park that protects second growth redwoods forest in Little Bunato Creek basin, San Mateo County. The Park was severely damaged by the 2020 CZU summer fire and it was close for long time, recently a small section of this large park was reopened to the public.

Where? : Park entrance is located on Cloverdale Rd not so far south from the town of Pescadero, at ocean side of San Mateo County.

Google Map Link


When? : Year round, winter is preferred.


Nearby parks and attractions-points, blog posts:



Due note 1: Visitor Center is currently close


Due note 2: Dogs are not allowed on park trails.


Due note 3: For your safety, please stay out of closed areas.


My thoughts: First time I visit here was few years back, before the CZU 2020 fire, I went to a very long hike all the way to the high mountains at the park east section. Unfortunately, the fire severely damage Butano forest and currently, Jan 2022, the majority of the park is still close.

I hiked he at a nice winter day afternoon. I enjoy the hike through the redwood forest, you can see the fire damage, but you can also see how the redwoods resilience to fire and how the forest starts slowly to recover.


The visit:


Butano State Park is probably among the most overlooked and less visited redwood parks in Northern California.

His location, not so far the ocean, where highway 1 is the main tourist attraction and the “competition” it has from more "attractive/famous" Redwoods parks nearby, did not help to its popularity.

Due to the CZU Fire, many sections of Butano State Park will remain closed.


The Park protect from future logging a second growth redwood forest growing at Little unto creek.


The Park Ben Ries Campground provides 21 drive-in campsites, 18 walk-in campsites, is closed from December 1st to March 31st. Reservations for April 1st through November 30th are available by clicking the online reservation tab above or by calling 1-800-444-7275.


The fire:

During a dry, windy day in August 2020 a fire sparked by lightning strikes started in few places along the coastal mountain ridge.

It took the California fire fighters together with park and forest cures 37 days to contain the CZU fires that covered over 86,500 acres in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties.

The CZU fires burned at different intensities across the landscape. In some places it may even have a long-term positive impact on the ecosystem, burning grassland without creating major fire damage to the trees. In others places the fire burned much hotter completely burning the tall trees and create major damage to the vegetation and soil.

The large and most famous redwood park, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, located south of Butano suffered from out-of-control flames that burned completely the tall redwoods and destroyed all park building and trails. Here at Butano the fire burned slower and cooler creating a lot less damage, today you can walk in forest sections where only close to the ground vegetation was burned and many trees stays intact.


The fire did destroy the park’s trails, a campground, the water system, power lines and other features and will cost the public million dollars for partial recovery.


The Hike:

About 6 miles of the park’s 16 miles of trails have reopened inside the 4,700-acre park, including the popular Año Nuevo Trail, with a scenic lookout.


I decided to hike the longest loop trail that is open starting just at the park pay station.

If you can’t find parking spot near the front gate pay station there is another parking lot not far down the road, on your right.

This is a 5 miles loop trail, but you can make a shorter hike in few places.

I will recommend doing this hike clockwise, starting the other direction is a major climb up the mountain.


The Jackson Flats Trail start right behind the close visitor center. The trail climbs moderately and start to follow the creek direction. Here you will pass few redwood groves and as it looks like this section of the forest was not hit by the fire at all.

Make sure not to turn and get into trails that are close to hikers.

The trail will follow the creek at the same level for almost a mile and from this point a turn to the right and a short but steep downhill section will take you down to the creek below. When I visit here, Feb 2022, there are running water in the creek and there is a small bridge to cross it, here you will connect to the main park road.

Here you can keep doing the large loop, but you can also hike back along the creek and the lush forest to the parking lot.

Once reaching the road, on your right you will see the start of Olmo Fire Trail near the water tank.

Get into the road and immediately look for a trail on your left, take left into Six Bridge Trail, cross the small bridge and hike for another 0.5 miles.

Already at this section of the hike you will start to see the fire damage to the forest in some sections although most of the tall redwoods, even if burned at the lower sections, are not major burned by the fire.

After passing the park small amphitheater on your left you will reconnect to the road, hike on the road into the campground and turn left on the first road.

Once reaching the large woodshed, you will see a small sign that indicate the trailhead, here is the start of the trail that is leading up the mountain. It small sign indicate you should follow the red ribbons that mark the trail in this fire damage section.

From here the trail climb all the way to the ridge top, this 1.6-mile trail section was hit by the fire, in some sections you will see major damage to the vegetation and in others they were less affected. At the end of this trail section, you will reach the main dirt road, Olmo Fire Trail.

Keep hiking on the fire road for short hike, just before the point that the road start to turn right and descend into the valley you will see a small trail post named Ano-Nuevo Trail on your left.

Ano-Nuevo Trail will take across the ridge line forest and all the way down to the main park entrance. At this section that was hit by the fire, park employees did extensive recovery operation, collecting a lot of the unburned woods into piles and cleaning the forest floor and protecting it from future major fires.

Ano-Nuevo Trail is 1.5 mile long where the second part is a steep long hike down the mountain slop all the way to the creek, therefore it is less recommend doing this hike in the uphill direction.

Once you will reach the creek level you will see a small bridge crossing the river to your left, this will take you back to the park entrance, if you keep hiking you can reach to the small parking lot down the road.







The below link is an old park brochure map before the fire, many trails are close now, please see park website for Up To Date information





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