Walkabout California

Hiking Inn to Inn

Walking San Francisco to Half-moon Bay

A week from Wed, April 15, I'm planning on starting this walk. 

I'm looking for anybody who has done this walk since Devils Slide trail has opened how they covered this section.

Since Tom wrote the book, the new Devil's Slide trail has opened. I see 3 ways of covering this section. (1) Follow the book's trail that goes around the back of the mountain, missing the new DS trail. (2) Get to DS trail (from the North) by walking on shoulder of Hiway 1 where the last 1/2 mile is through mountain pass which, using Google Earth, shows the shoulder being very narrow. (3) Following the book's path until 1/2 mile into Peralta Rd. At that point taking Shamrock Ranch Rd west, under the new Hiway 1 bridges to connect with trail to Devil's Slide.

My question: Has anybody taken route #2, that is, Hiway 1 shoulder and have an opinion on how safe it is? (It's significantly shorter). Or know anything about Shamrock Ranch Rd. Using Google Earth it appears the road goes through some ranch property. Any trustpassing issues?

Also: Any other thoughts/observations on any part of this walk from SF to Half-Moon Bay walk?

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I studied this section (Pacifica to Devils Slide) some more and emailed a contact at the Pedro Point Headland Stewardship Project, which takes care of the trails of the Headlands just west of Hiway 1. First, from what I read, Pedro Point is worth a diversion. The www.everytrail.com website says "Off in the distance on a very clear day it can be possible to make out San Francisco's Cliff House and the unmistakable Golden Gate Bridge."

Per the Headlands contact, the only "legal" way to access Devil's Slide trail from the north by walking is to walk on the shoulder of Hiway 1. In Tom's book, he has you turning inland at San Pedro Creek to go around the mountain, missing Devils Slide. At that point, instead, to get to DS, continue on Hiway 1 for 2/3 mile where the exit ramp to Devils Slide is. I studied Google's Street View of this section of Hiway 1. The shoulder is narrow for about 1/2 mile of it, but with vigilance it looks doable.

If you want to take in Pedro Point, look for the green gate just before the Devils Slide exit. Its the trail head for walk to Pedro Point.

For the record, I looked at 2 alternatives to get to DS. First is to take Grand Ave, which gets you closest to the Middle Ridge Trail. But per Headlands contact you have to go across unfriendly private property. I also looked at taking Shamrock Ranch Road (Google Map it). Its also private property.

I finished my SF to Half-Moon Bay walk this last Friday (4/17/15). It was a beautiful experience. I'm preparing to detail many aspects of the walk - shoes, pacing, where I stayed & ate, how things have changed in the years since the book was written (what I ended up doing getting to Devil's Slide), etc.


I'm glad you had a great time on the San Francisco to Half Moon Bay walkabout.  Thanks for sharing the latest information on hiking Devil's Slide.  Thanks for writing about your hike.  It will be useful and inspiring for folks who are considering this hike now and in the future.


I did the walk. Its been a week since I completed it and I have to say the experience is growing on me. That is, it was a beautiful 3 days and I enjoyed it so much I'm even considering re-doing it in the near future.

Here are some thoughts:

The afternoon before beginning the walk I took the train/BART into SF (I live in Sacramento), then the #38 bus to the closest low price motel near the beach. That was the Geary Park Motel, about 2 miles east of the Cliff House. The motel was a great value; old but recently refurbished, so very clean and fresh. Next morning I took the #38 to end of line and walked to Louis for breakfast then began my walk. Hi tide was 9:30. All went per Tom's book till Fort Funston. Just north of FF the waves were breaking against rocks so I had to hike up to highway and follow road for about 3/4 mile to FF entrance. It was a worthwhile stop. FF turns out to be the dog walker's park for SF. Must have been a dozen walkers & 100 dogs!

I won't say more about the first day - see book, except to say is was just a peaceful and beautiful joy. Take time out to walk the Pacifica Pier, a grungy place enjoyed by crab fishermen. That night I stayed at the Pacifica Motor Inn which has several places to eat nearby: Wine bar has happy hour. I also tried the famous crab sandwich at Nick's. It was good but $23!!

Next morning I grabbed a coffee to go at breakfast place across the street and walked the bike path to the other end of Pacifica State Beach, about a mile. It was another enjoyable mile. Had breakfast at Hi Tide Cafe at south end of beach....an average breakfast. Next time I'll try Kerri's across the street.

The big change along this walk is the opening of the Devils Trail. Choice: follow book's San Pedro trail going around back of mountain or DT. DT is a treat but dicey for a walker to get to and from. I explored ways of doing it - see my other notes. What I ended up doing was following Hiway 1. I didn't like it - narrow shoulders. Within a 1/5 of mile I saw a trail that I climbed to. I followed it to Pedro Point trail head, which comes out to hi way just at entrance to Devils Trail. It was a nice change of pace. walking in forest. DS was grand! After DS you have to follow hi way for less than mile to Gray Whale Cove beach. Again the shoulder is narrow for a few hundred feet. I recommend walking on east side facing traffic. The reward is connecting with the Gray Whale Cove trail which starts in parking lot. This trail stays on the ocean side of the hills and takes you to Montara Beach and offers spectacular views. About half way is a bench on a bluff, a great place to rest and take it all in.

Another great find is the High Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel. What a setting! Stay in a dorm for $24 or a private room  for $79. For a decent dinner you'll need to walk back north for about a mile to the La Costaners restaurant or 1/2 to a sandwich shop. I choose the restaurant, had a excellent happy hour meal with a couple of Pesco Sours, a classic So. American drink and watched the sunset...a satisfying end to a another spectacular day.

The grounds of the hostel are a delight. They even have their own cove beach. 

Next morning I walked up the road to the Here Comes the Sun Coffee House, which is limited to coffer and bake goods.

After a leisurely morning I took the short hike to Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. Both the beach and the Bluff trail are inviting. It was high tide so no tide pool exploring. But I came back that afternoon to partake.

The end of my trek was at the Moss Beach Distillery, where I met my wife for a leisurely lunch, then explore the tide pools and ride home.

All in all this was a magical experience. It has to be among the most spectacular coastal walks in the world and yet so close to civilization but so far in spirit. I want to do it again.

We did this walk last week(4/23) and loved it. Absolutely spectacular. We ended up taking the route in the book which was around the mountain. It was beautiful but long. We considered walking along Highway 1 but felt it was just too risky.

One point of concern was getting off the beach at Mussel Rock. We did not see any other way up except climbing up a cliff which had a sign at the top that said "eroding cliff" and which was not very safe. The book says clamber up large rocks nearby, but they were inaccessible.

Did anybody else encounter this? We loved the walk but hesitate to recommend it wholeheartedly because of this section getting off the beach.
About 200 yards before you get to the erosion at Mussel Rock is the north end of a rocky barrier. I climbed up it, about 20 feet high, at the very north end. This led to path up to parking lot.
As to Devils Slide access via hiway, I agree it's risky but if you are willing to go about a 1000 feet you'll see 3 or 4 metal fence posts 10 feet up the hill and beyond that a trail. Chamber up to that trail and follow it south. The reward is cutting off a couple of miles and the views from Devils Slide trail and from the Gray Whale Cove trail, which I found to be even more spectacular.


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