A short walk to an ocean panorama
Scenic views often come at a price, but the little Wilbur’s Watch Trail takes you up to an incredible coastal view, a panorama with Pigeon Point lighthouse, Franklin Point, and Año Nuevo peninsula and island, all framed by the waves of the Pacific. It’s only 2.1 miles out and back along a little grassy path, up to a viewpoint complete with big modern benches and a free telescope for whale watching.
Long pleasant switchbacks, a rest-bench about half-way up, and a windmill make the 260-foot climb a breeze, even without shade. As you near the top, the path will intersect with a wider trail. Go left to reach the viewpoint.
Getting there. As you drive up Highway 1 past Año Nuevo and Costanoa, watch for a road sign on the right for Pigeon Point Road. (This road loops around to a second entrance to Highway 1 and to the lighthouse.) If you turn at the first Pigeon Point Road entrance, you’ll find the trailhead access road on the right in a short distance. (It isn’t obvious.) Park in the small gravel lot. There are no entrance or parking fees. No dogs are allowed.
After your hike, you may want to tour the lighthouse. You can’t go up in the tower, but the grounds are interesting. You may also wish to visit the little town of Pescadero. I enjoyed having lunch at Duartes. They are known for their soups, but I like their fruit pies, non-alcoholic ginger beer, and fried prawns, not necessarily in that order. If you have time, drive through town on Stage Road to see the cemetery, continue on a beautiful drive along a tree-lined road, and follow a long rural loop back to Highway 1.