Sweeping Beauty

Hike to a Bench Overlooking the Pacific on the San Mateo Coast

If you like edgy, windswept, impossibly romantic coastal vistas, then do the short hike on Wilbur’s Watch Trail near Pescadero. The goal: Find the lone bench at the end of the continent.

Hawks glide overhead, and a few Douglas firs add variety to the surrounding grassland. When you reach that sweet seat at the end, break out the bubbles, cheese, and the … engagement ring? (Just sayin’.).

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Devour the coastal scenery: To the north is the lighthouse at Pigeon Point; to the south the outline of Año Nuevo State Reserve looks penciled onto the horizon. Autumn is a lovely time to be here, when late afternoon sunlight gives the Pacific a Technicolor blue hue. Keep an eye out for whales, too.

Wilbur's Watch trail on the San Mateo Coast

BONUS FOOD & DRINK: Head to downtown Pescadero for a meal at Duarte’s Tavern, a James Beard Award–winning restaurant that is famous for its artichoke soup, locally caught seafood, and Portuguese specialties. Then head over to Bob’s Pumpkin Patch in Half Moon Bay, about 12 miles north of the Pescadero downtown, to pick out your Halloween pumpkins.

Bob's Pumpkin Patch in Half Moon Bay

Wilbur’s Watch Trail is open from sunrise to sunset daily, free of charge. No restroom facilities. Take Hwy. 1 to Pigeon Point Rd. Driving south from Half Moon Bay, turn left onto Pigeon Point Rd. immediately across from Pigeon Point Lighthouse. (Pigeon Point Rd. curves to the right and then reconnects with Hwy. 1 about one mile south.) Drive slowly on Pigeon Point Rd. and keep your eyes peeled to locate an unmarked ramp at the end of road (right before it reconnects to Hwy. 1) that leads to the parking area for the trail. No dogs.

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