Butano State Park
Butano State Park was created in 1957 to protect California’s coast redwoods from logging. Today’s visitors to will discover a quiet canyon filled with towering second- and third growth-redwood trees, babbling creeks, and more. Miles of trails wind through the approximately 4,628 acres of canyons and uplands.
Mateo Coast off Highway 1. The park is 3 miles northeast of the Gazos Creek Coastal Access Point by way of Gazos Creek Road, and about 4.5 miles southeast of Pescadero by way of the Pescadero and Cloverdale Roads.
Things to doHiking and Mountain Biking
The park has 40 miles of hiking trails, including some that are mountain-bike friendly.Interpretive programs
Guided nature walks and weekend campfire programs are offered during the summer and on a limited schedule in winter.Bird and plant watching
Learn about native flora and fauna in the Visitor Center.Camping
A variety of camping and backpacking options are offered.
The Butano State Park Visitor Center is located at the park entrance. It features exhibits about local flora and fauna, including taxidermy mammals and birds. The visitor center is open on weekends and accepts donations.
Fees and Passes
Parking is $10 and supports the park. Annual State Parks passes also are available to purchase at the park.
- Drinking water
- Accessibility: The Nature Center is accessible and there is designated accessible parking. The restroom in the campground by site #10 also is accessible, but assistance may be needed to get to the sidewalk from the adjacent parking space.
Ben Ries Campground’s 39 family sites have tables, food lockers and fire rings. The 21 drive-in sites can accommodate various sizes of trailers, campers and motorhomes, up to 24 feet. The 18 tent camping sites are “walk-in” and require carrying gear 20 to 50 yards from the parking area. Restrooms with flush toilets (but no showers) are nearby. All campsites can be reserved by calling 800-444-7275 or going online.
In addition, the park offers eight trail campsites for backpackers. These are 5.5 miles from the park entrance. Reservations can be made by calling 831-338-8861, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pit toilets are available. Bring drinking water. Campfires and dogs are not allowed; please use only gas or backpack stoves.
The Ben Ries Campground is open April 1 to Nov. 30. The Trail camp is open May 1 to Oct. 31.
To volunteer for Butano’s trail crew, call the park at 650-879-2040.
The name Butano probably came from the Spanish name for a drinking cup made from a bull’s horn. The park’s history has been shaped by native people, European explorers and settlers, and, more recently, loggers and preservationists.
- Campgrounds are “Crumb Clean.” Visitors are required to watch this short video about the impact your food has on park wildlife.
- Dogs are permitted in the campground and in paved, developed areas, providing they are controlled with a leash of no more than 6 feet at all times. Dogs are not permitted on the trails.
- All single-track trails at Butano are closed to bikes and horses. Fire roads are open to bicycling.
- For safety and resource protection, games such as ball, horseshoes, badminton and similar activities are not allowed in the park.
- Build fires in the fireplaces provided; do not leave fires unattended. Camp stoves are permitted.
- Quiet time in the campground is 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. daily. Do not operate generators between 8 p.m. and 10 a.m.