From San Francisco’s Cliff House, Ocean Beach beckons. Broad and flat, it stretches as far as you can see, disappearing into the mist. Stride out on 9 miles of uninterrupted beach to start this 30-mile, 4-day walkabout. Urban life fades as you hike a coast that is extraordinarily wild.
Hike miles of solitary beaches, the flanks of coastal mountains, and bluff trails above the wild Pacific. Enjoy interesting inns and delightful coastal villages along the way.
What joy to hike for hours along the immense and powerful Pacific. Day 1 (13.6 miles) ends in the coastal hamlet, Pacifica. Perhaps you’ll take a swim and then savor a fresh catch-of-the-day at a restaurant overlooking the sea.
Day 2 (7.8 miles) journeys up the side of Montara Mountain. Views open to the narrow channel of the Golden Gate and the steep, forested hills of the Marin Headlands. The vast Pacific stretches out below you, the horizon only interrupted on a clear day by the Farallon Islands, ancient mountain peaks jutting out of the sea 27 miles offshore.
Walk the bluffs and cypress forests above Fitzgerald Marine Reserve on Day 3 (4.0 miles). Take a path to the shore and explore the intricate web of tide pools alive with green anemone, orange sea stars, and scurrying crabs. Harbor seals, pelicans, egrets, cormorants, grebes, and countless shorebirds feed on the reefs and offshore waters. End the day in Pillar Point Harbor, a seaside village of inns, restaurants, and taverns with live music.
Enjoy another long beach stroll on Day 4 (4.6 miles). You may want to walk barefoot and connect deeply with sand and surf. You will soon return to the urban ramble, but now you can savor hiking inn-to-inn from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay.
This is one of the most popular Northern California inn-to-inn hikes. Read about the ideas and adventures from the Walkabout Community on the Forum.
The San Francisco to Half Moon Bay Walkabout is one of a dozen inn-to-inn hikes found in “Walkabout Northern California: Hiking Inn to Inn”. It can also be purchased as an individual guide.