An incredible sea-to-summit run with non-stop ocean views.
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.
As you gain elevation, look for the lush cloud-forest like coast scrub near the summit.