Superb in the Burbs

Hike Pillar Point Bluff on the Peninsula

Tucked behind a suburb on the Peninsula, Pillar Point Bluff County Park is a slice of coastal paradise, with its 220 acres of ocean-bluff beauty. Hike the 1.4-mile Jean Lauer Trail loop for some sweet coastal views. From the trailhead on Alvarado Avenue, hike the dirt path through windswept prairie.

Bird lovers will appreciate the dense shrubs, including coyote bush, which provide habitat for western meadowlarks and California towhees. Birds chirp as you continue along the path, and in the distance you can detect the sound of surf. Soon the trail turns to the left and then immediately to the right.

Gallery image 1 of 4
Gallery image 2 of 4
Gallery image 3 of 4
Gallery image 4 of 4

Looking east, there’s the Half Moon Bay airport and a patchwork of farmlands sheltered by Montara Mountain. The sounds of waves breaking become more audible until suddenly a gorgeous ocean viewpoint greets you.Take a seat on the wooden bench, perfectly set for the scenery. A lush ravine descends to the protected Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. As the trail continues, the path becomes paved and panoramas begin to change. You can make out the Princeton harbor to the southeast and to the southwest the Air Force Tracking Station perched on Pillar Point Bluff.

BONUS: Make a quick detour (20-minute walk or 3-minute drive) to the Moss Beach Distillery. This historic monument appears unassuming from the exterior, but inside it’s a cool restaurant with romantic ambience. Both the dining room and the dog-friendly outdoor patio offer beautiful ocean vistas. Another option for delicious seafood meals is Pillar Point Harbor (less than a 10-minute drive). Local favorites are Barbara’s Fishtrap and Sam’s Chowder House.

Pillar Point Bluff County Park is open from sunrise until sunset, free of charge. Note about directions: The park has two entrances. The main entrance, with a parking lot and restrooms, is at 840 Airport St. (Google Maps will take you here). However, for the Jean Lauer Trail, you will use the 1 Alvarado St. entrance (and park in the residential neighborhood). To arrive here from Hwy. 1 (coming from San Francisco), take a right on Cypress Ave. (which turns left and becomes Airport St.). Next, turn right on Los Banos Ave., left on Park Ave., right on La Grande Ave., left on San Ramon Ave., right on San Lucas Ave. (which becomes Ocean Blvd.), left on Precita, and right onto Alvarado Ave. Dog-friendly!

__

Trending Stories Northern CA

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story

    Tam Slam!

    This 8-mile (round-trip) hike is a pure classic, with redwoods, water-flows, and soaring views of the coastline. Oh yeah, and that ladder!

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    Easiest Best Hike in the World

    Choose the easiest and most view-rewarding hike in Yosemite. Okay, we’ll go first: the combination of hiking to Sentinel Dome and Taft Point. Both of these lookouts are within a couple miles of each other on Glacier Point Road

    View
  3. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    Road Trip Ahead: Oregon Outback

    Remote open spaces, camping under true Dark Skies, hiking and biking trails galore, wildlife refuges, and hot springs! Plan your road trip to the Oregon Outback this summer.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story

    Nice Ring to It

    This tiny but mighty open space preserve on the Tiburon Peninsula can often exhibit a wide range of wildflowers late into the season, not to mention one of the most jaw-dropping views of the bay.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story

    Bouquet of Waterfalls

    Like a good love letter, some of the best hiking trails are short and sweet. Cue the hike to Bouquet Falls in Santa Clarita Valley’s Bouquet Canyon.

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    New Rules of the Trail

    As some parks around California begin to re-open, we came up with tips for being responsible on your outdoor adventures. Let’s do our part so we can all keep enjoying the parks.

    View
  3. Image that represents the story

    Big Time Hike

    This is the largest grove of giant sequoias in Yosemite. We recommend this grand tour hike at 7.5 miles which includes a spectacular overlook.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    All Roads Lead to Rogue

    Idea for your next road trip: Go Rogue! The Rogue Valley in beautiful Southern Oregon has some of the state’s best hiking, swim holes, and wineries, and the charming historic towns of Ashland, Medford, and Jacksonville.

    View