By ,
Former Content Marketing Manager

Hike for Great Birding

Overview: A flat hike along the coastal bluffs of POST’s Wavecrest preserve.

Distance: 1.5 Mile

Elevation change: flat

Difficulty: Easy

Hiking time: 2 hour

Season: All year

Getting there: Wavecrest is located off Highway 1 in Half Moon Bay. From Highway 92 west go south on Highway 1 and drive about 1.5 miles and turn right on Wavecrest Road. You’ll see Cameron’s Pub and the double decker bus on the corner of Wavecrest Rd and Highway 1. (If you see Redondo Beach Road you’ve gone too far south on Highway 1.) Drive to the end of Wavecrest Road and park near the baseball fields.

Parking lot address: Click here for directions

This is the Bird Trail at POST-protected Wavecrest. It’s the perfect perch to study both land and sea birds. Photo: Karl Kroeber


Wavecrest is best know for its impressive display of raptors. However, many birds species call this preserve home; like this California thrasher. Photo: Judy Kramer

Hike Description:

I have to admit, I’m a terrible birder. It just isn’t something that I’ve been able to commit enough time too. It’s not because I’m not interested, just untrained I guess.

That’s starting to change.

I’ve been studying using POST’s Natural Guide to Bay Area Birds and taking trips to our open spaces to hone my skills. Slowly, very slowly, I’m becoming the birder I want to be.

Of all the POST-protected open spaces I’ve visited, Wavecrest is by far my favorite place to exercise my new birding skills. Situated on the coastal bluffs just a few miles south of Half Moon Bay, this preserve has a varied habitat ideal for a wide range of bird species.

After a short walk from the parking lot, you’ll find yourself on a mile stretch of trail paralleling the coast. This is the appropriately named “Bird Trail”.

From this trail you will have sweeping views of the Pacific and can watch brown pelicans dive-bombing for their next meal, double-crested cormorants roosting in nearby trees and sanderlings flocking at the ocean’s edge.

Then, you can look to the land for a similar cornucopia of bird species. Raptors are particularly prevalent here. In fact, Wavecrest is the single most important winter nesting site in San Mateo County for a wide range of raptors. Keep a keen eye for northern harriers, red-tails, red-shouldered hawks, sharp-shinned hawks and even American kestrels.

After my birding exercises I’m always deeply inspired, happy and voraciously hungry. When you’re back to the car, I recommend heading into downtown Half Moon Bay for a warm bite to eat at the San Benito Deli. They have some of the best baked bread on the coast and an amazing garden out back.  It’s worth the stop.

Wavecrest is the most important winter nesting site for raptors in San Mateo County. Photo: Peter LaTourrette


In January 2008, POST entered into a three-year option to purchase and protect 206-acre Wavecrest, an extraordinary natural, recreational and scenic resource for Half Moon Bay and the entire coastside.

More on Our Website

Trees & Plants

Native vs. Nuisance: A Guide to Bay Area Plant Life


Uvas Canyon County Park

Posted on By Rebecca Rountree


Bair Island Volunteer Workday

Posted on By Lucia Marquez


POST Transfers Lakeside Ranch

Posted on By Liz Torczyner

About Post

Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 87,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more

Scroll to top