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Pedro Point Headlands Loop

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by Transit & Trails


Wildlife Sightings

by iNaturalist


Length: 1.65 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Duration: Halfday
Christina Vallianos
Created by Christina Vallianos

Good for:
  • Birding
  • Views
  • Forests and Woodlands
  • Marine
  • Walk-in Access Only


NOTE: Access to this site is temporarily closed, with projected reopening by July 4, 2013. We'll update this page when it opens again!

The Pedro Point Headlands trails are a little tricky to find and to navigate, so a decent sense of direction is important.  The benefit of this is that you’ll likely have the place to yourself.  Driving south from Pacifica, you’ll come across a small pull off on the left side of the road just before the entrance to the new Tom Lantos tunnels.  Don’t be surprised it you miss it – I did, twice!  A little further south, across the street (currently behind road construction equipment) is a green gate, the entry point for Pedro Point trails.  Parking is an adventure in itself since you may be risking a ticket, but in the hour or so I was exploring the headlands my car was fine.  This loop is comprised of parts of the South Ridge, Bluff, Middle Ridge, and Arroyo trails, in that order.

Once you pass through the green gate keep left at the fork.  You’ll come to a small clearing and if you stay to the right (on the South Ridge trail), you’ll find what appears to be a fire road that begins a quick, tough climbs through coastal scrub.  As you climb, you’ll be treated to views of the coast and of Montara Mountain behind you.  When you reach the top the trail levels out for a few hundred feet before a steep descent toward the coast.  If you wander toward the edge you can peer down and see rocky, inaccessible beaches below.  Look to the north on a clear day and you’ll see the two red towers of the Golden Gate.

On the bluff, the trails become more difficult to follow due to the lack of trail markers and the numerous areas roped off for restoration.   If you stick to the proposed loop you’ll wind up hiking along a ridge parallel to that of the fire trail, back toward the road (Middle Ridge trail).  Be sure to focus your attention on the stunning views to the left of you encompassing the coastal range from Pacifica to Marin.  The trail winds down a narrow path toward the neighboring ridge before meeting up with the Arroyo trail.  Going right will take you back up to the bluff where you came from.  To continue the loop, take a left toward the grove of eucalyptus.  Listen and see if you can identify the sources of musical chirping as you approach the grove.  The temperature drops as the towering woods envelop you.  At the fork, go right so that you can see the road through the trees below you on the left.  Another quick uphill will take you back to the first fork by the green gate.

Parking and general access for the Pedro Point Headlands will see significant improvement in the coming year.  Following the opening of the tunnels there are plans to build a dedicated parking lot for the area and to extend the coastal trail routes.


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