The Half Moon Bay Coastside Trail is a popular hiking/nature walking trail that offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding coastline. The well-maintained trail is approximately 3 miles long and is rated as moderate in difficulty, making it a great option for all skill levels.
Stretching from the Ritz Carlton Hotel to Miramar/Surfer’s Beach and the harbor, the trail winds its way along the bluff overlooking the ocean. Hikers will pass by several scenic viewpoints, including the Half Moon Bay Golf Links (at the south end) and the Pillar Point Harbor (on the north). Along the way, visitors can spot a variety of wildlife, including seals, sea lions, whales, various seabirds and raptors (birds of prey).
Along the trail, Francis and Dune beaches have flush toilets; Venice and Roosevelt have vault type; the Poplar parking lot has portapotties. A horse trail parallels the Coastside Trail from Roosevelt Beach to Francis Beach and connects with the Bluff Top Trail that parallels Poplar Beach. (The State Parks restrict horses to the designated horse trail. They are not permitted on state beaches but are allowed on the Poplar Beach.)
The green space along the trail is ideal for bird watching (https://explorer1.com/halfmoonbay/bird-watching/). Large hawks often sit on the split rail fence and park benches — sometimes allowing visitors to come within 6 feet of them.
All of the State Beaches have parking lots ($10 per day) as well as Poplar Beach ($10 per day) and the Ritz’ has a few dedicated spots.
Coastside and Bluff Top Trail Mileage
According to my GPS, I have measured the following approximate distances on the two trails:
- Bluff Top Trail — from Poplar Beach’s Bluff Top trailhead to Francis State Beach’s Coastside trailhead is .75 mile
- Coastside Trail — from the Francis State Beach’s Coastside trailhead to the Venice State Beach Ranger Station is 1.04 miles
- Coastside Trail — from the Venice State Beach Ranger Station to the Dune/Roosevelt State Beach Ranger Station is .65 mile (Note: from the ranger station to the north end of the Roosevelt parking lot is another .3 of a mile.)
- Coastside Trail — from the Dune & Roosevelt State Beach Ranger Station to Miramar Beach is 1.00 mile.
- Coastside Trail — from Miramar Beach to Surfer’s Beach (just south of the harbor) is .5 mile.
- Coastside Trail — from Surfer’s Beach to north of Half Moon Bay harbor is TBD.
Please note that these are approximate distances and may not be completely accurate.
For more information:
Half Moon Bay State Beach
Address: 95 Kelly Avenue, Half Moon Bay, CA
Phone: (650) 726-8819