Hiking Inn to Inn
A high point for me on my walk from SF to Half Moon Bay was staying at the Hi Point Montana Lighthouse Hostel. Being a hostel the private room I booked is as basic as they come but the location is so spectacular its a must-see. It is popular, for good reason, so book ahead. In the Pacifica area there are several choices and if you go mid-week you should not have a problem finding a place. However, keep in mind you are walking. If you pick a place and arrive and they just happen to be full you may have to walk back or forward a mile or so to the next choice - nothing by car but might be drudger late in the day after having already going 10+ miles.
I love the idea of spontaneity, but I am afraid you might get shut out of lodging, even in mid-May. Pacifica/Rockaway Beach has the most options, and that might offer the best chance for last minute bookings. Montara, Pillar Point, and even Half Moon Bay have fewer options. I worry that you might be ready to stop, and there won't be a place available. You can expand your choices by using VRBO or Airbnb, but I think even those options will also be limited in Montara and Pillar Point.
What ever you choose, the SF to Half Moon Bay walkabout is spectacular. I think you will have a great time.
I have a copy of the Walkabout book but can't seem to find it, probably loaned it to someone! It seems to me that this SF to Half Moon Bay route used to go along the highway. Has that changed with the new tunnel? Enjoy your hike! I'd be interested in reading a post after you finish.
Most of the walk is on the beach. There are 2, possibly 3 spots where you have to walk around inaccessible parts. The first is just before Pacifica. No shoreline so one must climb the rocks and walk thru the northern end of town.
The second is in the Devil's Slide area. A beautiful view but before the tunnel not really walkable. So Tom laid out a route that went inland, around the hill of the Devil's Slide area. That avoided the dicey areas of walking on the narrow shoulders of Highway One. Now there is a tunnel but it is only for cars. When the tunnel opened the Devil's Slide portion of the old Highway 1 was converted to a bike trail with outstanding views. However, to get to that bike trail you have to walk about a 1/2 mile section on Highway 1 that doesn't have much of a shoulder...somewhat dicey. But there is a bus that gets you through this narrow section that takes you to the entrance of the Devil's Slide bike trail. When I was there it only ran on weekends. I wanted to see Devil's Slide so I walked that dicey area for a bit, but didn't like being on the narrow road so came across a trail that I ended up taking. (see my posting from last year). It worked out and the views from Devil's Slide trail are spectacular. So I think its worth the effort.
In summary, on this section of the walk, you have 2 choices: (1) take Toms original path that bypasses Devil's Slide (and tunnel and no-shoulder part of the highway) by going around the back of the hill or (2) if you want to see the Devil's Slide, take short bus ride on weekend or carefully walk that 1/2 mile of no-shoulder highway to entrance of Devil's Trail.
Look forward to hearing about your experience.
Have a great walkabout adventure. Let us know how it goes.
We got home last night from our 3 day walkabout from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay. Thanks to Ron Byrd's insights and Tom for making this possible. On the trip with me were my mom, whose 62nd birthday was the reason for the trip, and my sister.
We arrived Friday night and took Bart, walked, and the bus (per Ron's review) to Geary Parkway Motel. The motel was nice and we went out for a great Thai meal around the corner.
We woke up late Saturday morning and made the mistake of walking to Cliff House to start the walkabout instead of taking the bus. The 2 miles felt long and added to our already late start. Walking up to Cliff House we were overwhelmed by the beautiful view and ready to get started. The first day was lovely, if a bit tiring walking in the sand. We took it very casual and made many stops. Due to our late start, we were only to Thornton Beach Vista by 5:30pm and decided to call an Uber to get us to Pacifica in time to shower and have dinner. We had a lovely dinner and cocktails at Nick's. If you go, I recommend the basil gimlet and the olive and feta cheese appetizer.
Sunday we had a late start again and walked to the Sunrise Cafe for breakfast. The food was good and then we were on our way. We went according to the book, on the Old San Pedro Mtn Rd. The eucalyptus trees were gorgeous and we were in awe with beautiful scenery for the entire day. We asked for directions from a few passersby as we got deeper into the mountain but finally realized we just needed to stay on the main (mostly paved) path. The plant life and ocean views from the mountains were amazing. Walking out of Mcnee State Park at about 6pm was remarkable. We were looking forward to an Indian and pizza dinner at Fog City (mentioned by Tom in the book) but it sounds like it is permanently closed. We went on ahead to Point Montara Hostel and had pizza and Greek food delivered from Odyssey in Moss Beach. Some of our best photos from the trip were taken from the window of our room in the hostel.
The last day we woke up early to give ourselves time to explore the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. It was beautiful and we saw tons of seals. We walked to Half Moon Bay Brewing but it wasn't open yet so we did some souvenir shopping in the shopping center nearby. After lunch at the brewing co, we walked over to a cool art and jewelry shop called Nasturtium. Sue, the lovely woman working there, was very sweet and helped us find a ride to the airport so we didn't have to deal with the 2 hour bus/Bart to the airport.
It was such a great trip! I can't decide what to do next: this one again or Point Reyes.
Thanks for sharing your adventure. The inn-to-inn hike from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay is truly spectacular, and for the people of the Bay Area, it is right at their doorstep.