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Nothing says summer like going to the beach and nothing is as relaxing as watching the sun set over the ocean. Plus, even if it’s a scorcher in Palo Alto, it’s always cool and breezy in Half Moon Bay. This summer, escape the hustle and bustle of life “over the hill” with a weekend excursion to the Coastside. POST’s new hiking guide features several hikes on POST-protected lands that all have fantastic ocean views. If you time your hike right, you might even see some migrating whales. Remember to post photos of your adventures on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #POSTingOutdoors!
Pillar Point Bluff County Park: Moss Beach, San Mateo County
The 1.4 mile Jean Lauer Trail was created in honor of Jean Lauer, who was a POST staffer in the 2000’s. The trail is flat and wheelchair-accessible, so it’s perfect for groups of all kinds. Look for views of Mavericks, seals, pelicans, gulls, and the endangered San Francisco garter snake. You can find more details about the hike here.
Cloverdale Coastal Ranches (POST-owned land that has a publically accessible trail on it): Pescadero, San Mateo County
The perpetual ocean breeze makes this a perfect two-mile summer stroll. The trail is dedicated to Colburn Wilbur, who was executive director of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation from 1976 to 1999. The Packard Foundation has been a POST partner for many years, including being one of the main supporters for our Saving the Endangered Coast Campaign, which permanently protected many of our local beaches and coastal bluffs. Keep an eye out for migrating whales, California poppies and views of Pigeon Point Lighthouse. You can find more details about the hike here.
Cowell Ranch State Beach: Half Moon Bay, San Mateo County
This 3.6-mile section of the California Coastal Trail, which is best done as a 7.2-mile out-and-back has it all: stunning Pacific vistas on one side, working farmland on the other and secluded beaches at both ends. Look for harbor seals, dolphins, hawks, pelicans, migrating whales, and deer as you walk or bike down the path. The working farmland on the east side of the trail is also POST-protected, and a great way to see our local food system in action. You can find more details about the hike here.
Año Nuevo State Park: Pescadero, San Mateo County
Año Nuevo is the perfect spot to see 10,000-pound elephant seals in their natural habitat. This 4.1-mile hike circles the preserve, which is home to some of the biggest local populations of both sea lions and harbor seals. POST protected the land in 1986, and it is now one of the most popular parks on the coast. You can find route details for the hike here.
What are your favorite hikes along the coast? Let us know in the comments, and read about even more hikes on POST-protected properties in our new guide to our favorite local hikes here.
Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects and cares for open space, farms and parkland in and around Silicon Valley. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 75,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.