Half Moon Bay State Beach

4.00 Miles
2stars (2.00)1
1star (1.00)
2stars (2.00)
Half Moon Bay
San Mateo
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Half Moon Bay State Beach is not a hiking destination. It's reason for being is access to the Pacific Ocean and that's what most people come for. Nevertheless, the backside of the state beach includes a mixed trail of paved and unpaved sections paralleling the shore but away from the beach itself.

Half Moon Bay's trail as it heads north with the Pacific to the west. Lots of bunnies enjoyed the shelter and safety of the thick foliage.
Half Moon Bay's trail as it heads north with the Pacific to the west. Lots of bunnies enjoyed the shelter and safety of the thick foliage.

Many trails take on an animal theme for those who hike it. For some reason a certain species of animal predominates and becomes associated with the trail itself. For this one that animal would be the ubiquitous bunny. The northern segment of the trail mostly after the pavement ends became bunny central with the small creatures darting into the brush whenever a walker or cyclist would pass by.

A bridge crossing Frenchman's Creek that cuts through the trail was closed. The bridge was constructed of metal and wood. Both materials have shown extensive attack by the elements and one half of the bridge surface had partially collapsed. The powers that be placed water filled barricades on both sides of the bridge to warn visitors away. The creek bed is not very deep, but it is quite thick with vegetation. There's simply no way to avoid using the bridge if you want to continue your hike. So everyone we saw on the trail just walked around the obstacles, walked on the non-collapsed side of the bridge and went on their merry way.

We turned back when the trail ran into the Viking House. This distinctive abode must be seen to be believed. It's got character in spades. The trail beyond this point technically follows the road, continuing for a bit longer before joining another road but it seemed like a logical place to turn around and head back. We had come to walk near the water and beach, not a sidewalk.

From the main parking lot at Half Moon Bay State Beach the trail also continues south for some miles, all the way to Canada Verde Creek. That should double up the mileage that's described and mapped here and giving ample reason for a future visit.

Wind Swept
Looking down the coast from the trail. Note the wind swept trees and shrubs that all lean away from the predominant wind direction. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Viking House
This interesting house stood at our turnaround point. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
The Pacific Ocean
It was an overcast and chilly day on the coast. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Recommended Item
Recommended Item Hiking Northern California: A Guide to the Region's Greatest Hiking Adventures (Regional Hiking Series)
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Hiking Northern California, the revised edition, will be fully revised and updated. Northern California has 80-plus diverse hikes throughout the northern two-thirds of the Golden State, from the Oregon border to the Southern Sierras. This guidebook features more than 600 miles of trails, accurate and up-to-date trail maps, and all the information you need for planning enjoyable outings year-round. Hikes include short, leisurely strolls and demanding days-long excursions, from well-graded trails to rugged, cross-country scrambles.