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Devils Slide Trail

San Mateo County

San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California

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Devils Slide Trail

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  • Devils Slide Trail and San Pedro Rock.- Devils Slide Trail
  • San Pedro Rock seen from Devils Slide.- Devils Slide Trail
  • Pacific Ocean seen from Devils Slide.- Devils Slide Trail
  • Devils Slide Tunnel, the new route of Highway 1.- Devils Slide Trail
  • Rock slide notice at Devils Slide.- Devils Slide Trail
  • Devils Slide Trail from the north trailhead.- Devils Slide Trail
  • Overlook at Devils Slide.- Devils Slide Trail
  • Overlook at Devils Slide and San Pedro Rock.- Devils Slide Trail
  • Sedimentary rock cliffs of Devils Slide.- Devils Slide Trail
  • Sedimentary rock cliffs of Devils Slide.- Devils Slide Trail
  • Devils Slide geology.- Devils Slide Trail
  • Birds of Devils Slide.- Devils Slide Trail
  • Red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis).- Devils Slide Trail
  • Granite rocks at Devils Slide.- Devils Slide Trail
  • Overlook at the southern trailhead.- Devils Slide Trail
  • Cars queuing at Devils Slide southern parking lot.- Devils Slide Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
ADA Accessible. Scenic overlooks. Dogs allowed.
Cons: 
Crowded. Very limited parking. Completely paved.
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Region:
San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, CA
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
240.00 ft (73.15 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Biking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
2.60 mi (4.18 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
373.00 ft (113.69 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

Devils Slide Trail lies a mile south of Pacifica at the base of Pedro Point Headlands. The 1.3-mile trail is entirely paved and strewn with the industrial trappings of safety and necessity. Wire netting fights the forces of gravity that give the rock-slide prone area its name. Fencing and cement barricades keep visitors at a safe distance from potentially crumbling cliffs. If the broad, paved trail gives you the eerie feeling that you’re walking down the middle of an abandoned highway, it’s because you are.

Devils Slide Trail is a decommissioned section of Highway 1, closed in 2013 after the completion of tunnels to reroute traffic around the eroding hillside. Landslides plagued the area for decades and subsequently cutoff costal access on Highway 1. 

The Bay Area coastline roughly follows the boundary between the North American and Pacific Plates. Along the trail, beautiful striations can be seen in the sedimentary rock heaved upward by plate tectonics. It is the collision of this rock with Montara Mountain's granite, in combination with the constant pounding of the Pacific Ocean, that contributes to the area's notorious erosion. 

The dramatic geology and gorgeous ocean views that previously tempted drivers to peek away from the road can now be enjoyed at a slower pace. Walkers and bikers make the 2.6-mile round trip stopping off at overlooks furnished with benches and sea view telescopes. The trail is ADA accessible and suitable for all ability levels; however, the northbound segment is a bit steep. 

Signage indicates that the trail is open to equestrians, but the logistics of getting a horse to the site are challenging. Each end of the trail has limited parking and will not comfortably accommodate a horse trailer. Riding a horse along Highway 1 to either entrance is not advisable. 

Water and restrooms are located at each trailhead, and dogs are allowed on leash. A free weekend shuttle is available from Pacifica. Visit cityofpacifica.org for schedules.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(7 within a 30 mile radius)

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(99 within a 30 mile radius)

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