San Mateo County Parks,
San Mateo County
This 1.2 mile loop is an easy excursion along a bluff, then dropping to a beach with very good tidepooling.
Distance, category, and difficulty:
This 1.2 mile loop hike is easy. There is minimal elevation change in this narrow park which is comprised of shoreline and bluff. However, be cautious on steep, erosive paths leading down to the ocean, and on the slippery rocks of the tidal reef.
A few pockets of shade, otherwise completely exposed.
Dirt trail and rocky coastline.
1 hour or less.
Nice any time.
From CA 1 in Moss Beach (San Mateo County), turn west onto California Avenue (on the north side of town). Drive west on California to the end of the road, about 0.2 mile. Turn right onto Lake and almost immediately, turn right into the parking lot.
Get driving or public transit directions from Transit and Trails:
GPS Coordinates* for Trailhead:
(* based on Google Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)
Gas, food, and lodging:
Pay phone, gas, stores, and restaurants back in Moss Beach. No camping.
No parking or entrance fees. Paved lot with parking for about 38 vehicles. Restrooms on site. No designated handicapped parking, and trails are not wheelchair accessible. SamTrans bus #17 stops within walking distance of the trailhead.
Reserve hours vary seasonally, but in general it is open from 8 a.m. to sunset. No dogs or bikes.
The Official Story:
SMCP's Fitzgerald page
Park office 650-728-3584
Map Choices/More Info:
Use AAA's San Francisco Bay Region map to get there.
Trails of the Coastside and Northern Peninsula (map) is a great guide (available from Pease Press).
Map from SMCP and this one as well
Half Moon Bay Tide Table
Peninsula Trails, by Jean Rusmore, has a simple map and trail descriptions (order this book from Amazon.com).
101 Great Hikes of the San Francisco Bay Area, by Ann Marie Brown (order this book from Amazon.com) has a simple map and featured hike.
Friends of Fitzgerald Marine Reserve
View photos from this hike (old; trail improvements aren't shown here)
Go to Bay Area Hiker Home page
Marine Reserve boasts some of the best tidepools in the bay
area. You won't get much of a hike here (even though trudging through
sand can be exhausting), but there's a path along the bluff and, combined
with a stroll on the beach, you can create a mile long loop, with out
and back extensions through the sand to the north or south. Families will
probably want to stick to the sandy beach and rocky reefs, where tide
pools emerge twice a day at low tides. If you visit when the tide is high,
the pools are not accessible, but this is still a pretty and quiet beach,
and armed with binoculars you might see harbor seals and even whales.
Bring sport sandals if you plan on exploring the tide pools, and remember
that collecting is prohibited in the reserve.