Pacifica Hike – Montara Mountain North Peak

The Montara Mountain North Peak Hike at McNee Ranch has become one of my absolute favorite hikes in the Bay Area, and I’m going to share all the deets with you! It’s about 7 miles out and back, and takes about 2-2.5 hours roundtrip depending on your speed and skill level (this is a moderate hike FYI). Begin at the Grey Whale Cove Trail, and right from the start, you’re greeted with a refreshing coastal breeze and gorgeous views of the ocean. Yesssssss, give me nature!  While enjoying the scenery, you’ll quickly realize that you’re basically climbing one very large mountain, which can get quite steep at some points. Bring on the increased heart rate! When you finally make it to the top, you are rewarded with a 360 degree view of the entire Bay. I’m talking San Mateo Bridge, Oakland, SF city skyline, Sutro Tower, Pacifica beaches all the way to Half Moon Bay… you’re gonna see it all at the top. Hello beautiful! And on the way down, get ready to burn them legs because some parts can get quite steep. Engage the core.  All around, this is a great workout. Like, you’re guaranteed-to-sweat-kind-of-workout. And don’t forget, definitely bring a large water bottle with you. Optional: put the water in your super-hip fanny pack and get made fun of the entire time by your fiance. Or don’t… totally up to you.

Oh, and I almost forgot!! The best part after the hike… FISH BURRITOS. I’m not kidding you, the best fish burrito I have ever had in my life is at El Toro Loco in Pacifica. You earned it!

McNee Ranch Directions:

Photo: Google Earth

On the San Francisco Peninsula in San Mateo County, Montara State Park is approximately 20 miles south of San Francisco. There’s a large parking lot situated along the CA-1 Cabrillo Highway. We like to start at the Grey Whale Cove Trail next to the Grey Whale Cove Beach, as there is a larger parking lot, and smaller trail to start from. You’ll only be on the Grey Whale Cove Trail for about 200 yards, or about 5 minutes, because you’ll want to take the first left up the mountain heading east. This left turn is unmarked and informal (keep your eyes peeled!) but be sure to take it because it climbs directly up the mountain. This informal path is much steeper but it does shorten the total time to North Peak. The informal path meets up with a larger path, and it’s pretty straight forward to the top of the hill.

(And in  case you wanted to see what it looks like when I see a good burrito…)

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