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Burleigh Murray Ranch Trail



2.1 mile 3.3 kilometer point to point
98% Runnable


Ascent: 266' 81 m
Descent: -61' -19 m
High: 444' 135 m
Low: 224' 68 m


Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 8% (5°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by David Hitchcock

A trail up to Burleigh H. Murray Ranch, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

David Hitchcock

Features Birding · River/Creek

The park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset year round.

Runner Notes

Since the first mile or so of the trail follows the old road, the trail is easy to follow and good for running. Once the trail passes the barn, the trail narrows into a singletrack that is not well maintained. Vines and briars encroach on the trail, make them a trip hazard.


The Burleigh Murray Ranch Trail follows an old ranch road that leads up to the Mills Barn and surrounding buildings before narrowing and leading up to wooden water tanks that supply water for the park residence. To access the trail, follow the Higgins Purisima Road for about a mile from Highway 1. Burleigh Murray Ranch State Park sits on the left hand side of the road. There is a parking lot with room for about 20 cars.

After parking your car, pass through a gate that blocks the road and follow the gravel road as it climbs along Mills Creek. Enjoy the shade of giant eucalyptus trees that were planted for lumber and to create wind breaks. The trail rolls gently for about a mile as you make your way along Mills Creek. There are a couple small bridges that the road uses to cross the creek. About one mile along the trail, the running trail breaks off to the left. If you go straight ahead, you'll enter an area used as a gun range for park service members to practice. The trail transforms into a dirt and grass path at this point, although still roughly as wide as the road has been up to this point. After descending slightly, the trail breaks off to the left again as the trail straight ahead leads to a park residence that is used by staff members. In the winter, you can see the barn on the left through the branches of the trees.

You have now arrived at the Mills Barn, where hundreds of cattle were fed and milked on the bottom level and hay was stored in the upper level. Take a few minutes to run around the barn and peer in the doors and windows. You can see old farm implements, including a McCormick-Deering mower and a hay rake, that were used to help harvest food for the cattle. After learning more about the farm and what life was like here in the late 1800s and early 1900s, you can either follow the road back to your car, or you can continue exploring deeper into the park.

As you approached the barn, a narrow singletrack trail breaks off to the right under a fallen tree and continues up the narrow valley between chaparral covered hills. The trail at this point is less maintained and is very narrow as mother nature continues reclaiming the area. It follows the creek until it reaches the two mile mark, where two large, wooden water tanks that service the park residence sit. Once you have reached the the water tanks, the trail dissipates and your only real option is to turn around and return to your vehicle.

Flora & Fauna

Birds can be seen flying among the trees. Rabbits can be seen along the trail in the morning and evening.

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