More Pacifica trails
San Pedro Valley County Park

Neil Wiley

The Pacifica area just north of Half Moon Bay is a hiker’s paradise. You can see scenic views of ocean, mountains, and valleys. Walk narrow single-tracks or broad roads. Scramble rocky trails through spiky manzanita or down through shaded valleys of tall eucalyptus. Spend an hour on a short, easy trail, or challenge yourself on an all-day mountain climb. Even better, you can hike through several parks, each with a distinct aspect, all in one day.

In January, we reported on three Pacifica-area parks—Pedro Point Headlands, Milagra Ridge, and Devil’s Slide. This month, we feature San Pedro Valley County Park and Pedro Point.

San Pedro Valley County Park’s 1,052 acres in the Pacifica foothills are located north of the Devil’s Slide tunnels and Montara Mountain. In fact, the trail loop I took starts on Montara Mountain Trail.

I found the trailhead across the parking lot a few steps to the left of a bright yellow fire hydrant. Although the trail climbed 640 feet, it was softened by a moderate grade, long switchbacks, plenty of shade, and the comfortable footing of dirt and leaf litter. As I climbed higher, the dense and tall eucalyptus forest gave way to chaparral, ceanothus, and manzanita. It was less shady, but the sun felt good, and the views opened up to reveal nearby mountains and an occasional ocean sighting.

At 1.2 miles, I found a bench overlooking an ocean view, and the signed junction with Brooks Falls Trail. I could have continued on Montara Mountain Trail to McNee Ranch State Park, but I decided to save that for another hike. Instead, I followed Brooks Falls Trail back down to complete the loop. The trail was rougher, marked by erosion, rocks, and tree roots, but it was down hill. At 1.64 miles, a bench suggested that this was the place to watch the waterfalls. Although it had rained a few days before my hike, the 175-foot waterfalls were not falling. It was mildly disappointing, but the views toward Montara Mountain and Sweeny Ridge were still interesting. At the signed 1.97-mile junction I turned right, and on to a quick left to the visitor center.

Next to the visitor center, I walked the short Plaskon Nature Trail to see a small garden of identified plants.

San Pedro Valley County Park’s address is 600 Oddstad Boulevard, Pacifica. To get there, take Highway 280 or Skyline to west Highway 92 to Highway 1. Go north past Half Moon Bay and Devil’s Slide tunnels. Turn east on Linda Mar Boulevard. Turn right on Oddstad Boulevard. Watch for the park entrance on the left. Cost is $6 per car. It’s free for seniors on weekdays. Bicycles are allowed only on Weiler Ranch Road, but dogs aren’t allowed in the park. Woof!