Hiking Montara Beach
Montara is a small city nestled between Pacifica and Half Moon Bay in Northern California. Just driving through along Highway One affords beautiful ocean cliff side views, but the Montara Beach hike takes that one step further and is definitely worth exploring!
Parking is split between a Northern dirt lot where most visitors park, including surfers when the waves are good, and a Southern lot that’s paved and sits right next to a restaurant. Most of the actual paths and trails are best accessed from the North but both lots connect to the beach itself. Visitors will enjoy walking their dogs, making sand castles or just strolling the 1.5 mile beach. This spot can be very romantic and is always less crowded than other local spots. Since the road sits up on the cliff and is not visible from below you really feel like you’re in nature, on one side you’ve got crashing waves and the other is sheer cliff.
It’s easy to spot dolphins, seals, whales and even sharks here. Be careful when walking directly under the cliff as it is made of sand and sandstone and is slowly eroding. Down at the South end there are a few small caves to explore but the view is the real draw here and sunsets are amazing, as you can see in the video review and images below. Surfers and swimmers be wary, there are gnarly currents here, the beach drops off very steep into the water, sharks may be more present and the waves can be very heavy… I’ve broken a board in half from wave force alone.
- GPS Location:
- Dogs: Yes, with leash
- Open Times: 8am to Sunset
- Parking: Dirt lot with stairs at North, Paved (smaller) at South end
- Restrooms: No, Restaurant at South end
- Distance: 1.5 mile stretch with side dirt trails
- Difficulty: Easy with ~50ft elevation change
- Exposure: Very exposed, can be cold and foggy, windy, dangerous cliffs
- Traffic: Light
- Other Resources: Here
- Linda Mar & Rockaway Trail
- Arastradero Preserve Trail
- Angels Landing Trail
- Mendocino Waterfall Loop Trail