California State Parks,
San Mateo County
1.2 mile out and back across a bluff to an ocean viewpoint.
Distance, category, and difficulty:
This is a very easy 1.2 mile out and back hike.The single trail is nearly flat. Steps descend to the beach (optional).
Dirt fire road and steps to sandy beach.
Under an hour.
Nice any time.
From CA 1 in Half Moon Bay (San Mateo County), drive 0.5 mile south of Miramonte Point Road, then turn right into the park.
Get driving or public transit directions from Transit and Trails:
GPS Coordinates* for Trailhead:
(* based on Google Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)
Gas, food, and lodging:
Gas, pay phones, stores, and restaurants north in Half Moon Bay. No camping here; nearest coastal camping at Half Moon Bay State Beach.
No parking or entrance fees. Small dirt parking lot, with room for about 12 vehicles. There are 2 designated handicapped parking spots, and wheelchairs should be able to navigate the single dirt and gravel trail, conditions permitting. No maps or drinking water, but there is a portable toilet at the trailhead, and another near the end of the trail. There is no direct public transportation to this trailhead. SamTrans buses stop in Half Moon Bay weekdays only, but it's a prohibitive distance to this trailhead.
Park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset. Hikers and horses are permitted on the trail. No dogs.
The Official Story:
There is no information about Cowell Ranch Beach on the state's website yet .
Map Choices/More Info:
Use AAA's San Francisco Bay Region map to get there.
Trails of the Coastside and Northern Peninsula (map) is a great guide (available from Pease Press).
Peninsula Trails, by Jean Rusmore, (order this book from Amazon.com) has a simple map and descriptions of the park.
Cowell Ranch Beach in a nutshell -- a printable, text-only guide to the hike.
View photos from this hike.
bay area is blessed with miles of publicly held coastline, and
sand and surf lovers can walk for hours on dozens of state beaches in
Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Cruz Counties. With
the exception of the Point Reyes Peninsula, where there are quite a few
long hikes to beaches, most of our coastline access is just steps from
paved parking lots. Easy access delights tourists, elderly folks, and
families with little kids, but what do you do if you want some solitude?
Where do you go when you want to walk to the beach? Well, if you
happen to be on the San Mateo County coast, you can go to Cowell Ranch