Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
400.00 ft (121.92 m)
Trail type
2.20 mi (3.54 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Notch Trail begins at Skyline College, a 20-minute drive south of San Francisco, and at first glance it appears to be a very common hike. After just few hundred meters, however, the trail leaves the trees for an impressive vantage point from which to view the Bay Area. The climb up a series of substantial, rolling hills is assisted by steep wooden staircases, rendering the trail unfit for mountain bikes and equestrians. Registering only 1 mile, hikers seeking more mileage often continue on to Mori Ridge and Sweeney Ridge trails.

An abandoned Coast Guard outpost sits atop the exposed ridge of costal scrub and wildflowers, and you'll see mission blue butterfly habitat along the way. This endangered species can only be found in the Bay Area, and it is generally threatened by the preponderance of invasive species that crowd out the plants needed for survival. Mountain lions, coyotes and bobcats are known to frequent the hills above San Bruno, and they are generally not aggressive unless provoked. Remain calm, control your pets, and stand your ground if you encounter wildlife.

There is limited parking reserved for Golden Gate National Recreation Area hikers at Skyline College lot #2. Parking in other lots requires a student permit, although street parking is available across campus in a residential neighborhood.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Close to San Francisco. Joins with additional trails. Coastal views.


Short. No dogs. Residential.

Trailhead Elevation

750.00 ft (228.60 m)


Historically significant
Bird watching
Big vistas


Nearby Adventures

San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California
San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California

Nearby Lodging + Camping

San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California
Half Moon Bay State Park, California
Golden Gate National Recreation Area


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