Pillar Point Bluffs Hike

Half Moon Bay

San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California

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Pillar Point Bluffs Hike


  • The yellow gates mark the beginning of the Point Bluffs Hike.- Pillar Point Bluffs Hike
  • Momentary rainbow along the Point Bluffs Trail.- Pillar Point Bluffs Hike
  • View looking north from the Point Bluffs Trail.- Pillar Point Bluffs Hike
  • The waves can be huge below Pillar Point.- Pillar Point Bluffs Hike
  • Sparse vegetation along the bluff.- Pillar Point Bluffs Hike
  • Looking south to Pillar Point and Half Moon Bay.- Pillar Point Bluffs Hike
  • Once up the hill, the trail is flat.- Pillar Point Bluffs Hike
  • Walking above Mavericks Beach.- Pillar Point Bluffs Hike
  • Pillar Point Harbor from the bluff.- Pillar Point Bluffs Hike
Overview + Weather
Short and easy hike. Great coastal views.
Parking can be hard to find.
San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, CA
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
120.00 ft (36.58 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Biking
Total Distance: 
1.20 mi (1.93 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
10.00 ft (3.05 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

The Pillar Point area north of Half Moon Bay is a popular destination for many. The huge waves of Mavericks are world-famous, and the Pillar Point Harbor offers many short hikes and walks. To get away from the crowds a bit, hiking the trails along Pillar Point Bluff means relative solitude as well as great views of the coastline, Pillar Point, and the waves of Mavericks Beach.

The parking area for Pillar Point is often full, even on weekdays. This is especially true when big waves are breaking. However, patience will usually yield a parking space because people come and go frequently. From the parking lot the trail to the bluff begins across the road at the yellow gates. Hop these gates and walk up the road until a well-defined path forks off to the left and up the bluff. Once at the top, the trail goes along the edge for a half-mile or so. There are several other trails on the bluff that are easy to follow due to the lack of high vegetation, making several possible loops to walk. Portions of the trail along the bluff are eroded away, so pay attention to trail closure signs to avoid these areas.

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Field Guide

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Location + Directions

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(17 within a 30 mile radius)

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(104 within a 30 mile radius)

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