Pudding Creek Trestle (dayhike)

Trip Date: 9/11/2015

Location: MacKerricher State Park


Trail maps: parks.ca Brochure 

Directions: On California Highway 1 in Fort Bragg drive a little over three miles north to a left turn onto MacKerricher State Park Rd. After passing the kiosk, turn left onto Mill Creek Dr. and follow the road as it drops down toward the beach. Just past Lake Cleone veer right under the overpass and proceed into the parking area for the Boardwalk.

Synopsis: This hike combines a boardwalk, some cliff walking and scrambling, and a decent stretch along a lengthy beach. The coastal scenery is always beautiful, if sometimes less than sunny, and the Pudding Creek Trestle is a fun destination. 

Trail sequence: Boardwalk (ocean side) / cliff trail, beach, cliff / Pudding Creek Trestle / cliff trail / Trestle / Haul Rd. (paved) / cliff trail / Boardwalk (inland side)

Type: Out and back

Distance: 6.7 miles

Elevation: Min. - 0', Max. - 140'


Rating: Easy-Moderate (factors: beach walking)

Notes: Although this trip is named for the trestle, it does continue along the cliff trails for a bit before reaching the southern trailhead and then returning. Be aware that there is some pavement walking next to resort hotels.


Pudding Creek Trestle - MacKerricher SP


Turn by Turn:

  -- Pick up the trail next to the restrooms at the west end of the parking lot. Soon the boardwalk begins and you reach a spot where it splits. To follow this track, take the right fork along the ocean.

  -- Near the farthest observation deck on the boardwalk there are trails leading away to the south along the cliffs. Take one of these use trails and head out.

  -- About three quarters of a mile along the cliffs there is a nearly mile-long beach. I dropped down and walked this beautiful stretch. At the end of the beach find a path up to the cliffs again and continue south.

  -- Soon the trail, which has passed a house on the inland side here and there, reaches an area with more buildings. At some points the trail travels directly next to these structures, then heads back out to the water. In order to avoid the structures, I returned to the beach for another short stretch before climbing back up and walking along the north bank of Pudding Creek to finally meet the trestle.

  -- After crossing the bridge turn back to the west to follow the cliff trail again. As before, the trail winds out along promontories and back around coves. Upon reaching the southern trailhead, turn around and head back.

  -- On the trip back cross the trestle but continue on the paved path (Haul Rd.) if another beach walk is not desired. Past the long beach it will be possible to rejoin the cliff trails here and there, but there were some detours for restoration at the time of this trip. Eventually you can return to the early part of the trail for a short stretch before hopping back up onto the boardwalk.

  -- This time take the inland side of the boardwalk that winds through cypress trees before turning right onto the return path to the parking lot.