Trail Run Project Logo

Montara Mountain from Gray Whale Cove



9.9 mile 16.0 kilometer out and back
86% Runnable


Ascent: 1,758' 536 m
Descent: -1,758' -536 m
High: 1,886' 575 m
Low: 167' 51 m


Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 26% (14°)


Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Miguel Vieira

A sea-to-summit run of Montara Mountain.

Miguel Vieira

Features Views


An incredible sea-to-summit run with non-stop ocean views.

Need to Know

Look out for poison oak, which is abundant on the Gray Whale Cove Trail.


This route to the summit of Montara Mountain is a longer, more scenic alternative to the direct route on North Peak Access Road Trail. There is also much more parking at the Gray Whale Cove trailhead.

At the Gray Whale Cove parking area, find the Gray Whale Cove Trail at the southeast end of the lot. Begin the climb up a scenic valley among dense coastal scrub. Soon, you're walking above the ocean bluffs with great views up and down the coast. Keep your eyes on the ocean for pelicans, whales, and seals.

You pass some benches overlooking the ocean on your right, and a short while later you reach an intersection. Turn left to leave the Gray Whale Cove Trail and to connect to Old San Pedro Mountain Road. When you reach the road, turn left again.

Old San Pedro Mountain Road winds through coastal scrub and some groves of trees, then merges with North Peak Access Road Trail. Turn left and continue uphill.

After a few turns, Old San Pedro Mountain Road splits away from North Peak Access Road Trail, and you bear right to continue toward the summit. On a clear day, you'll get views of Point Reyes, Mount Tamalpais, and San Francisco to the north, and Pillar Point and Half Moon Bay to the south.

Reverse the route to get back.

Flora & Fauna

As you gain elevation, look for the lush cloud-forest like coast scrub near the summit.

Run this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Runner Notes, History & Background

Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow runners know what's here.


Rate This Run

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Run

Check In


Sep 20, 2019
David Sum
Jun 19, 2019
Amy Buechler
Jun 7, 2019
First views of the Pacific - epic! 9.9mi — 1h 20m
Aug 25, 2018
Steven Beeler
quick run up to the top and back. 9.9mi
Jun 9, 2018
Katherine Lai
Awesome run w/ great views! Gradual incline for the majority of the run. Paved for first couple of miles, dirt fire road for the remaining. Exposed. 9.4mi — 2h 09m
May 16, 2018
Travis McDevitt-Galles
God was this an amazing run 9.9mi
Dec 11, 2017
HMB Suzuki
Oct 6, 2017
Ariel Laguilles
Great find and an incredible run. Highly recommend! 9.6mi — 1h 18m

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 20 votes


  4.5 from 20 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Run Rankings


in California


208 Views Last Month
9,025 Since Dec 24, 2016



Near the top of Pt. Montara.
Nov 9, 2015 near Montara, CA
View of the water.
Nov 10, 2015 near Montara, CA
Sunset from the junction of where the North Peak Access Road Trail breaks off from the Old San Pedro Mountain Road.
Nov 9, 2015 near Montara, CA
Grey Whale Cove, rocks and waves
Mar 13, 2019 near Montara, CA
Awesome view of Pacific Ocean
Dec 29, 2018 near Montara, CA
Grey Whale Cove and Look-Out Point from south end of beach.
Mar 13, 2019 near Montara, CA


Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running