Mellow Mavericks

Sunset Hike Near Mavericks in Half Moon Bay

Hike the bluffs at Pillar Point

It’s a site famous for the Mavericks surfing competition, but even without the massive swells, Pillar Point still has plenty to get excited about. That includes the striking sunsets that paint the sky in mesmerizing pastel hues.

Head out on iconic Highway 1 and follow the ocean to Half Moon Bay, setting your sights on Pillar Point Harbor. Plan to arrive an hour before sunset. When the tide is low you can explore the tide pools of this protected beach for spiky sea urchin and colorful starfish.

After you’ve had your fill of sea life, head to the cliffs via the Ross’ Cove Trail for a 2-mile (round-trip) hike along Pillar Point’s bluffs. Walking along the rugged cliffside, you’ll hear Mavericks crashing in the distance as the sun dips below the horizon. Ross’ Cove Trail connects with several other paths, but it’s best to time your walk to ensure you’re not walking on the bluffs after dark (not a good idea!)

Pillar Point bluff hike Half Moon Bay

Beverage Bonus: Get a drink and some easy eats at historic Moss Beach Distillery. Try for a seat next to a fire pit on the outdoor heated patio and toast the day’s wanderings.

Park in the Pillar Point Marsh parking lot. Beach access is available from the parking lot. The Ross’ Cove trailhead is across the street from the parking lot. Dog-friendly!

Trending Stories Northern CA

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    Get Outdoors In Sonoma County This Fall

    Sonoma County's great outdoors includes hike-in beaches, hidden redwoods, and a new zipline-to-treehouse stay. Here are 5 of the best ways to explore outdoors in Sonoma County.

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    Ride and Seek

    Oceanside breezes, beautiful beaches, a car-free pathway for biking, and beer at the end: You’re on a roll! The San Mateo Coast was made for beach hopping and beer tasting …

    View
  3. Image that represents the story

    Redwoods, Beach, Banner View!

    Explore among the redwoods in Henry Cowell State Park on this magical 5-mile hike featuring the big trees, a beach, and a beautiful view from an observation deck.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story

    Slide On Over

    It’s easy to drive right by one of coastal Marin’s most magnificent places without even realizing it. That’s because Slide Ranch, located in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, has a very popular neighbor in the Muir Beach overlook. But don’t overlook—or underestimate—Slide…

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story

    Shakespeare Bridge + Secret Garden

    Romeo, Romeo, we all know how this goes, but do you know how to go to the Shakespeare Bridge and secret gardens? We’ve got the online do-it-yourself hiking route for you.

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    GOAT Coastal Hike + Sunset

    GOAT (greatest of all time) Sonoma Coast experience? Hike the Kortum Trail, wine taste on a patio overlooking the Russian River, and catch a sensational sunset at, yep, Goat Rock Beach.

    View
  3. Image that represents the story

    Malibu Hike, Canyon, Beach

    Get a highlight reel of the Malibu coastline on a 2.25-mile hike through Leo Carrillo State Park, featuring a canyon climb, Pacific panorama, and a beautiful beach.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    The Highway of Waterfalls

    Ready for a totally refreshing road trip? Hit the Highway of Waterfalls! This stretch of road in Southern Oregon travels alongside the wild and scenic section of the North Umpqua River—and more than a dozen waterfalls.

    View