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Montara Mountain North Peak Loop

Located In:
Moss Beach (eight miles north of Half Moon Bay).

7.4-mile loop.

Photo by @sertanusanmaz


Difficulty Level:

Know Before You Go:
This trail has minimal shade, so bring protective clothing, sunblock, and plenty of water; with some loose sections along the route, shoes with traction and hiking poles are recommended. This area is popular for mountain biking, so keep your eyes up! Bathrooms can be found at Francis Beach Campground. As always, leave no trace.

Photo by @sertanusanmaz


Why We Love It:
With beautiful views of the coast and enough elevation to get your heart pumping, this Bay Area hike is a gem when you’re seeking a snow-free, scenic escape.

Fuel Up:
If Peruvian-style paella, fresh cebiche (Peru’s national dish), and a good pisco sour are your jam, head to La Costanera ( in nearby El Granada. Authentic Latin American cuisine from a Michelin star chef with beautiful coastal views…what more can you ask for?

Photo courtesy of La Costanera


Whale Watching

Migrating from their summer feeding grounds in the Arctic down to warmer waters along the Baja California coast, gray whales can be seen along the coast near Half Moon Bay and San Francisco between December and March. On their quest for warmer waters to mate and nurse their young, they can easily be spotted from Montara to Pigeon Point in Half Moon Bay. Look for spouts of water on a calm day.

Whale watching


The humpback whale can be seen as well, typically traveling in pods of three to four. For those looking to spot some humpbacks, March through April—when they move closer to the coast—is a prime time to do so. 

The blue whale can also be seen, but plan on searching for them in summer and fall.

While orcas prefer deeper water and don’t typically come close to the shores near Half Moon Bay, there have been sightings between January and March.

by Ryan Martinez
Photo © slowmotiongli -