Re: San Francisco to Half Moon Bay

I have the 2011 printing of Walkabout California and want to plan the walk from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay. In the nine years since the printing are there any drastic (or non-drastic) changes to the route or places to stay? We plan to go this next early fall-September/October, 2019

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  • I love this walk. I did the full walk alone about 3 years ago and have done sections of it several times since with family and friends. The one part I'd do differently is on Day 2 where you take the San Pedro trail that takes you behind the mountain away from the coast. By doing so you miss Devil's Slide and the Gray Whale Cove trail, both having spectacular high-up coastal views. I'm sure Tom choose the San Pedro route as getting to Devil's Slide on foot is not easy or safe. There are 2 ways I found to get to Devil's Slide from the north on foot: (1) Walk the shoulder of Highway 1 for about a mile between the Linda Mar and Devil's Slide. Problem is there isn't much of a shoulder for about 1/2 mile of windy road. I know, as I did it and wouldn't do it again - too close to cars buzzing by.. (2) Take the Devil's Slide Shuttle from the Park & Ride lot of the Linda Mar Shopping Center. It's a 10 minute ride. It goes roughly every 90 minutes. Just one little hitch. It only runs on weekends. Like I said getting to Devil's Slide on foot isn't easy but I highly recommend making the effort.

    • Thanks for your reply about Devil's Slide.  We'd love to see it, but not this time.

  • We are a group of 5 women planning this trip in mid May.  Just received the new edition!!  We have made only one alteration from the book and that is to start the trip at the east end of Golden Gate Park.  This adds 3 miles to the trip total but allows us to enjoy walking thru the park.  Because of the added mileage, our first night is spent near the San Francisco Zoo.  Here is our itinerary:

    Day 1: 

    Fly into San Francisco and take Lyft to hotel.

    Spend the night at Chateau Tivoli or Metro Hotel

    Day 2: 

    Breakfast near hotel. Pick up lunch supplies.

    Hike through Golden Gate Park to Ocean Beach, then south on the beach to Mirage Inn & Suites 

    7 miles 

    Day 3 : 

    Breakfast near hotel. Pick up lunch supplies.

    Hike from Mirage Inn and Suites


    Pacifica Beach Hotel

    11.7 miles

    Day 4 :

    Breakfast near hotel. Pick up lunch supplies.

    Hike along coast from Pacifica Beach Hotel 


    Seal Cove Inn

    6.6 miles

    Day 5:

    Breakfast near hotel. Pick up lunch supplies.

    Hike along coast from Seal Cove Inn


    Half Moon Bay Inn

    6.6 miles

    Day 6:

    Breakfast near hotel.

    Take Lfyt to airport

    • About your Day 4: Restaurants are few near Seal Cove Inn. However there are 2. The Moss Beach Distillery is about 8 walking minutes south. Build in the 20's during Prohibition as a shipping dock & warehouse to take booze from ships and truck into San Francisco, its now a funky restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating, decent food and a great 180 degree view of the ocean. Great place at sunset with drink in hand. The other is La Costanera, 2 miles north of the Seal Cove Inn. Its food is excellent and it, too, has a great coastal setting. You'll pass it on your way down to Seal Cove Inn. If early enough it could be a lunch or happy hour stop.

      Enjoy the walk. I did it alone about 3 years ago and loved it. And have taken family and friends for segments of it several times since. 

    • Sally,

      Your itinerary looks wonderful.  I think you will have a fun walkabout.

      Happy Hiking,


  • Helen and Colleen,

    There have been lots of changes in the eight years since the 2011 edition of Walkabout Northern California: Hiking Inn to Inn.   Fortunately, a new 2019 edition has just been released!  There is also a new guide for the San Francisco to Half Moon Bay Walkabout.  There are new restaurants and inns and old ones have changed hands or closed.  The trails leaving Pacifica and Montara have changed in small ways.  The most important item that I didn't emphasize enough in the first edition is that the approach to Mussel Rock beach can be blocked by high tides.  This comes at the end of Ocean Beach as you approach Pacifica.  Plan to arrive at this section at least a few hours before or after high tide.  

    The inn-to-inn hike from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay is beautiful and extraordinarily wild for being so close to urban centers. Enjoy your walkabout.


    • Very excited about this walk. Question: I bought the digital San Fran to Half Moon Bay late dec 2018 and can't find an edition year, but assume this relates to the 2011 edition? Please confirm the updated digital version is what I want.

      • Colleen,

        You just missed the new version.  I'll send it to you.


    • Thank you so much, Tom. I'll get the new book. 


  • Have you done these walks before? That first section is too far for us so are considering starting at some place near the Environment center after the beach 

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