October 15, 2019

Pacifica: Take a scenic hike on Highway 1, Devil's Slide Coastal Trail; things to do


1 South

Take a scenic hike on Highway 1

sign at north end of Devil's Slide Trail in Pacifica, California
sign at north end of Devil's Slide Trail in Pacifica, California

Devil's Slide Coastal Trail  Off Hwy. 1, between Pacifica and Montara, (650) 355-8289.  Free.  Dogs on leash ok.  Two small parking lots (10-15 cars each) available at north and south ends; from 8am, closing time varies; free; note that the south lot is accessible from both north- and southbound lanes of Hwy. 1; the north lot is accessible only from the southbound lane.

signs at north end of Devil's Slide Trail in Pacifica, California
signs at north end of Devil's Slide Trail in Pacifica, California

Devil’s Slide Trail was converted from a former segment of Highway 1 that was prone to slides and breaking pavement.  In 2014, this infamous section was bypassed by the new Tom Lantos Tunnels and became a 1.3-mile paved segment of the California Coastal Trail.  Situated high above the Pacific Ocean, it provides spectacular views for hikers, runners, bicyclists, and equestrians.  Overlooks with benches and a few observation scopes provide the opportunity to rest while enjoying the view and soaking up the sound of waves crashing on the rocks far below.  Interpretive signs along the way describe the area’s history, geography, and wildlife.  Restrooms, drinking fountains, bike racks, and pet waste stations are available at both ends of the trail.

observation scope on Devil's Slide Trail in Pacifica, California
observation scope on Devil's Slide Trail in Pacifica, California

interpretive sign on Devil's Slide Trail in Pacifica, California
interpretive sign on Devil's Slide Trail in Pacifica, California

Beginning from the south, the trail is mostly flat. About 2/3 of the way north it features steeper up and down grades.  For quickest access to ocean views, begin your walk at the south end of the trail, where views are encountered immediately and the grade is most gradual.

scenic stretch on Devil's Slide Trail in Pacifica, California
scenic stretch on Devil's Slide Trail in Pacifica, California

A recommendation for those with mobility problems:  Plan to park in the south lot.  You can easily walk about 2/3 of the trail, then turn around and go back.  The steepest part is the north 1/3 of the trail.  My group was split in abilities.  Two who were able and liked the challenge of steeper grades continued on and turned around later to rejoin us. 

undulating scenic stretch on Devil's Slide Trail in Pacifica, California
undulating scenic stretch on Devil's Slide Trail in Pacifica, California

You might also meet some memorable characters along the trail.  We encountered an 82-year-old docent.  Before he moved ahead of us at a good clip, he described himself as “retired but not expired,” and he definitely “inspired” me!

scenic stretch on Devil's Slide Trail in Pacifica, California
scenic stretch on Devil's Slide Trail in Pacifica, California

On the day I visited the wind was blowing fiercely.  I did wonder a few times if it could blow me right into the sea.  It is a good to pack along a hat with ties, or do as I did and use a neck scarf to tie down your hat.  A hoodie also works to restrain hats.  And you might want to pack along water.

neck scarf holds on lady's hat on scenic stretch on Devil's Slide Trail in Pacifica, California
neck scarf holds on lady's hat on scenic stretch on Devil's Slide Trail in Pacifica, California

The perfect lunch to tie in with a morning hike here is down the coast in Half Moon Bay at Sam's Chowder House.



More things to do in Pacifica.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

images c2019 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


5 comments:

  1. I’ve hiked around Pacifica and loved it! We were lucky enough to be there when the California poppies were in bloom.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I really enjoyed reading about the trail. I especially like that people with mobility issues can enjoy it too. Thank you for the advice to start at the south parking lot. Excellent article and photos!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Pacifica looks lovely. I'm not a big hiker but would love a motorcycle ride there. The wind might deter me a bit, but l bet it would be great. I miss San Francisco.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can't motorcycle the trail, but you can motorcycle Hwy. 1 and bypass the trail through the new tunnel.

      Delete
  4. The California coast is so lovely - the trail in Pacifica looks like a good place to slow down and enjoy it!

    ReplyDelete