Pillar Point is famous for big wave surfing, but this condensed region of coast-side open space offers big-view hiking too. The ocean-hugging bluff trail starts north of the iconic Mavericks surf break. On the path, scan the sprawling beach below the bluffs, where harbor seals like to lounge on the rocky shore. After a mile the trail merges with a residential street, and from there it’s just a few blocks to the thirst quenchers at Moss Beach Distillery‘s Seal Cove Patio. This staple establishment can get busy on sunny afternoons, but the patio is expansive enough to leave ample elbow-room. If it’s chilly, grab a complimentary wool blanket and sit near one the three large firepits. If it’s warm, a draught beer is as good as the ocean views.
Moss Beach Distillery, 140 Beach Way, Moss Beach; 650-728-5595. To reach the trailhead: Drive 25 miles down Hwy 1, south of San Francisco. Turn right on Capistrano Rd. in Princeton-by-the-Sea. Turn left onto Prospect Way and right onto Broadway. Make an immediate left onto Harvard and follow it through the industrial area. Turn right on West Point Ave. and continue to the Pillar Point dirt parking lot on the left. Begin the hike by going through the yellow gate across from the parking lot. Follow the paved road uphill toward the antenna. Follow a dirt trail on the left when the road curves right. This is the beginning of the bluff trail. The trail ends at Ocean Blvd.; continue walking a few blocks to the distillery. Both the trail and the distillery are dog-friendly!