Wander through marshes on this one-of-a-kind easy hike at Pescadero State Beach.
1.5 miles RT; 30 min; easy; cumulative elev. gain 139 ft
Under normal circumstances, it is difficult to call the walk that the Sequoia-Audubon Trail provides a hike. It's not much of a workout, the trail itself is quite short, and there are better places for those seeking a scenic run or a coastal trail. What this trail has to offer is a far richer experience than burnt calories.
This trail, as you may have guessed by its name, skirts a 500-acre marshland that offers as much diversity as any other California habitat. Densely planted ice plants, salt grass, bulrush, lupine, eucalyptus, poison oak and hundreds of other plants hide the stars of this scenic route; over 200 species of birds call this habitat home, and there are even more animals that swim or crawl on tiny little legs. You may spot a few endangered critters, or see a heron land nearby as you break for lunch. Do yourself a favor and stay on the trail, even in winter, as the poison oak surrounds the trail in many places.
Keep an eye out for the stick structures that wood rats create, filled with shiny treasures and rising up to 8 feet tall. Runs and slides created by rabbits, deer, and beaver crisscross the man-made trails, so even if you don't see any wildlife, you can still play Cribs: Animal Version as you trek.
There are endless animals and insects to be discovered, which is what makes the Sequoia-Audubon Trail so special. Ideal for kids with budding interest in the sciences, it's a great way to encourage discussion and exploration in the next generation of hobbyist hikers.
If you live in the area, it's an incredible opportunity to experience the changing seasons in a natural environment. Although the California coast doesn't see a lot of snow, the seasonal changes here are reflected in the ebb and tide of species, the change of the landscape, and the color gradation that flicks between brown and green and greener. Anyone appreciative of the environment of their area had best submerge themselves in this special place, lest we forget the importance of protecting such natural treasures nationally.
by Juliette Spirson
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