Discover the Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail: Unparalleled Beauty & Adventure Await

Imagine having breathtaking coastal cliffs, picturesque beaches, and miles of beautiful shorelines all along your trail route. That’s exactly what you’ll find at the Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail in Half Moon Bay, California. This trail offers an incredible outdoor experience, where beauty meets adventure, literally.

As a professional photographer, I love the incredible Pacific Ocean vistas along the coastal trail. And as a dad of three kids, I appreciate that it’s paved and stroller friendly!

Here’s a video that I made about the trail:

Stunning views and diverse landscapes

With beautiful cliffs and amazing sceneries, the Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail runs 11.5 miles along the California coast. The southern end of the trail starts in Poplar Beach, home to a fantastic beach with picturesque sand and eye-catching bluffs.

As you continue on the trail, you’ll find an abundance of natural beauty greeting you, from rugged cliffs to gorgeous shorelines that never fail to take your breath away. The natural beauty is ever-present and creates fantastic photo opportunities around every corner.

It’s a lot like the cliff walk at the Ritz Half Moon Bay, but a bit more secluded and open.

A perfect walk for everyone, including your pets

The Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail isn’t just for those looking for adventure on foot; it’s suitable for everyone! Since the entire path is paved, it’s perfect for a leisurely walk with a stroller or for anyone who wants to cycle without the challenges of off-road biking.

But that’s not all. This trail is also open to horses, making it a perfect horseback riding destination. And if you’re worried about leaving your furry friend behind, don’t be! You can bring your dog along for the journey, as long as they are well-behaved and kept on a leash.

Plan your hike: out-and-back trail and parking

The Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail is an out-and-back trail, meaning you’ll hike to a point, then turn around and retrace your steps. This makes for a perfect day hike; however, it’s essential to remember to only hike as far as you’re comfortable turning around and covering the distance back to your starting point.

Picnic tables at Poplar Beach

When you’re ready to set out on your adventure, I recommend parking in the Poplar Beach section. The area offers convenient parking and lovely picnic facilities to enhance your hiking experience. You could also grab a bite to eat first at a nearby restaurant.

A word of caution: Stay safe around the cliffs

Though the cliffs are undeniably beautiful, it’s important to remember that they are unstable. Supervise your children carefully and never approach the cliffs while walking along the trail.

Make sure to keep dogs on-leash at all times. Even if there’s no one around, there’s still a risk that they could get too close to the cliffs.

Experience the California coast like never before

The Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail offers a truly unique and unforgettable way to explore California’s coastline. From awe-inspiring cliffs to tranquil beaches, this trail is perfect for adventurers of all ages and paces. So grab your family, friends, or furry companions, and embark on the scenic journey that the Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail has to offer.

Key Takeaways

  • The Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail is an 11.5 mile trail along the California Coast.
  • The trail is paved, open to horses and dogs (on a leash) and is perfect for a day hike.
  • Park in the Poplar Beach section and enjoy the picnic facilities.
  • The cliffs are beautiful, but they are also unstable so make sure to supervise children and do not approach them.

Video Transcript

The Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail is an absolutely stunning trail that goes right along the coastline in Half Moon Bay, California. You can see it’s got these beautiful cliff views. This is right by Poplar Beach towards the southern end of the trail, and it actually travels 11 and a half miles up the California coast. You’ve got beaches, beautiful shorelines, and these rugged natural cliffs.

The entire path is paved, so it’s a perfect walk for a stroller or anyone who wants to bike without going off-road. It’s also open to horses, and you can bring your dog as long as they are well-behaved and on a leash.

Remember, the trail is an out-and-back trail, so it makes a perfect day hike. However, only hike as far as you’re comfortable turning and covering on the way back. I recommend parking in the Poplar Beach section. It’s got nice picnic facilities walking up the coast.

And remember, though the cliffs are beautiful, they are unstable, so make sure to supervise your children well and never approach the cliffs as you’re walking.

Otherwise, it’s a beautiful trail and a wonderful way to see the California coast.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.
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