Gray Whale Cove Trail is a short, easy hike that hugs the hillside above Highway 1 between Montara State Beach and Gray Whale Cove. The trail is approximately 1 mile each way with an elevation change of only 130 feet.
Wildflowers and stunning ocean views make Gray Whale Cove Trail worthwhile for hikers of all abilities. Those looking for more challenging terrain will be pleased to find several steep singletrack trails that split off toward Old Pedro Mountain Road, North Peak Access Road, and the top of Montara Mountain.
Trailheads are located on the east side of Highway 1 in two locations. With more ample parking, the Gray Whale Cove lot marked Montara State Beach/McNee Ranch is preferable. An additional trailhead is located a mile south, but it can only accommodate four vehicles. Parking on the west side at Montara State Beach and crossing Highway 1 is not recommended.
The weather varies dramatically along the San Mateo County coast. Be prepared for sun, fog, rain, or high winds on the exposed ridges of McNee Ranch. Poison oak plagues hikers in the area; long pants and boots are necessary for venturing out on the less groomed, secondary trails.
Horses, bikes, and leashed dogs are welcomed on Gray Whale Cove Trail.