Beach, birds, ice plant popping purple flowers: That's a hiking slam dunk.
Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve has fully reopened its Sequoia Audubon Trail after a levee repair, so flock to it—there's a feathered frenzy to celebrate.
This two-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.
Take the Sequoia Audubon Trail for a peaceful ramble along diverse marshland. More than 200 bird species have appeared here 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.
No-cost guided marsh walking tours happen every first Sunday of the month at 10am and the third Sunday at 1pm (weather permitting).
Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve is on Highway 1, 15 miles south of Highway 92. The Sequoia Audubon Trail is accessed from the central Pescadero State Beach parking lot. Follow signs to the pedestrian walkway over the Highway 1 bridge and take the stairs to the beach. Walk under the bridge from the beach and find the trail sign. No dogs are allowed, sorry.
Bonus: Eat & Drink
East of the marsh lies Pescadero, a coastal farming community that's emerged as artisan while maintaining its down-to-earth roots. Stage Road is lined with craft shops stocking pottery, jewelry, and beautiful woodworks, as well as 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. It's is best known for its 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….
This article originally appeared on Weekend Sherpa.