Half Moon Bay has miles of unspoiled State Parks and Open Spaces. From redwood preserves to marshes to sandy bluffs and dunes, Half Moon Bay has plenty of areas for day hikes, bike paths and open spaces to unplug and take-in the scenery.
Half Moon Bay State Parks, Beaches and Nature Preserves
New Year’s Creek Road, off Hwy 1 Pescadero, CA 650-879-0227
This 4,000 acre Reserve is a major gathering area for northern elephant seals, which may be seen year-around. The males battle for mates on the beaches. The females give birth to their young on the dunes.
Rancho Del Oso at Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Hwy 1 831-338-8860
One of our favorite short hikes – around 1 ½ hours!
Located 25 miles south of Half Moon Bay on Hwy. 1, the park has miles of trails, which serves hikers and equestrians, links Big Basin to Castle Rock State Park and the eastern reaches of the Santa Cruz range. Maps >>
21600 Big Basin Way, Boulder Creek, CA (831) 338-8860
The park has over 80 miles of trails. Be sure and pick up a map at park headquarters before your hike and take a look at the multimedia kiosk in the Sempervirens Room (next to park headquarters). There you will find great information, photos, and video of some of the most popular trails.
At the coast end of the park, is one of our favorite short hikes – around 1 ½ hours!
Butano State Park — Campgrounds
1500 Cloverdale Rd., Pescadero, CA (650) 879-2040
A 2,200-acre redwood park in the Half Moon Bay Mountains, featuring excellent hiking through the redwood groves. Only three miles from the Pacific coast, the park’s trails offer views of the Pacific Ocean and the Año Nuevo islands.
Directions: The park is on the San Mateo Coast, off Highway One. Three miles northeast of the Gazos Creek Coastal Access Point by way of Gazos Creek Road, and about 4.5 miles southeast of Pescadero by way of the Pescadero and Cloverdale Roads.
Half Moon Bay State Beach 95 Kelly Avenue, Half Moon Bay, CA (650) 726-8819
The Half Moon Bay Coastside Trail runs along the eastern boundary of the four Half Moon Bay area beaches providing close to three miles of multi-use trails to walk, jog or ride bikes. The trail continues north to Pillar Point Harbor.
PO BOX 451, Moss Beach, CA (650) 728-3584 Reservation line (650) 363-4021
The Reserve is set aside to protect this complex but fragile community for us and future generations. Within the reserve, most marine life is protected. The Reserve is popular with school and community groups for its educational value.
Directions: Take California Ave. off of Hwy 1 in Moss Beach.
A Web site dedicated to the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve–focusing on the plants and animals adapted to live at the edge of the ocean.
Heritage Grove Redwood Preserve ─ San Mateo County Park
Alpine Road, Pescadero, CA (650) 363-4021
A magnificent old-growth Redwood forest on Alpine Creek, adjacent to Pescadero Creek Park provides a network of trails through the towering giants.
Memorial Park ─ San Mateo County Park
9500 Pescadero Rd., Pescadero, CA (650) 363-4021
The park is made up of 499 acres and provides an opportunity to view old-growth redwoods. It has a picnic area, visitor center, camp store, a creek swimming area, and campfire programs.
The park is known for its family camping and the Tan Oak and Mt. Ellen Nature Trails.
Hwy 1, across from Montara State Beach.
Located on the west face of Montara Mountain, the McNee Ranch is a 625-acre State Park with sweeping vistas of the Pacific Coast, San Francisco Bay, and the rugged coastal hills. Montara State Beach and Gray Whale Cove beach are within walking distance of the State Park.
152 Poplar St, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
The beach is operated by the city of Half Moon Bay. It is located west of Hwy 1 at the end of Poplar Street.
Pescadero Creek County Park ─ San Mateo County Park
Pescadero, CA (650) 363-4021
The park has 8,020 acres and is comprised of San McDonald, Memorial, and Heritage Grove parks.
Highway 1 & Pescadero Rd., Pescadero, CA 650-879-2170
Across the highway form the Pescadero State Beach is the Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve, a popular spot for bird watchers and other naturalists. The Reserve is a refuge for blue heron, kites, deer, raccoons, foxes and skunks.
Directions: The beach is located 14.5 miles south of Half Moon Bay on Highway One.
Directions: off of Hwy 1, take Capistrano Rd. to Pillar Point Harbor. Travel past the harbor entrance and turn left on Prospect Way. Turn right on Broadway and then turn left on Harvard. Travel to the end of Harvard and then turn right on West Point Ave. until you reach the Pillar Point Marsh parking lot (.05 mile).
The park has a rugged, natural basin forested with coast redwoods, Douglas fir and live oak. Eighteen miles of trails crisscross the canyon and its two streams, Peters Creek and Pescadero Creek.
Half Moon Bay, CA (650) 949-5500
The 3,120-acre preserve is located on the western slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking Half Moon Bay. The preserve was established with a gift of $2 million from the Save-the-Redwoods League.
The centerpiece of the Preserve is Purissima Creek Canyon, with its towering redwoods, creek, ferns, berries, and wildflowers. Coastal scrub, tanoak, madrone, and Douglas fir border the canyon. The coast and Half Moon Bay are visible from the northern part of the preserve.