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Spine Trail



2.3 mile 3.6 kilometer point to point
84% Runnable


Ascent: 900' 274 m
Descent: -25' -7 m
High: 1,338' 408 m
Low: 439' 134 m


Avg Grade: 8% (4°)
Max Grade: 17% (10°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Lee Watts

Sunny, moderately difficult trail in remote area with views and plenty of wildflowers in the spring and early summer.

Lee Watts

Features Views · Wildflowers

Need to Know

Parking issues are discussed in the description for the Farmers Daughter Trail.

Runner Notes

There is no water on any of the nearby trails, and once you leave the Eucalyptus grove near the Farmers Daughter Trail, there is no shade on the Spine Trail or on any of the trails that can be followed from the upper end of the Spine Trail.


The Spine Trail starts from the high point of the Farmers Daughter Trail. There is a sign pointing to it about 10 feet up in a tree, but the sign is not easy to see. The tail runs along the top of the ridge that separates the San Vicente and Denniston Creek valleys. Although there are a few downhill spots, it mostly just climbs up the ridge to Scarper Road. The climbs increase from gentle at first, to moderately steep in the middle, to quite steep over the last part. Just before Scarper Road there is a short section which is so steep that footing is difficult.

The trail is sunny and open with views in all directions, including Montara Mountain, the canyons on both sides, and the ocean from Ano Nuevo to Moss Beach. A wide variety of chaparral wildflowers can be seen in the spring and early summer.

From the junction with Scarper Road, the left fork leads to an extremely steep climb up South Peak and on to Montara Mountain. The right fork has very steep ups and downs as it crosses several gullies until it finally climbs up to Deer Creek Trail.

When I first climbed this trail in 2012, it was so overgrown that it was sometimes difficult to tell whether or not you were on the trail. Then a few years ago a Pacifica cycling club cut a narrow trail through the brush. Within the last year, rangers from the Golden Gate National Recreation area have cut a wide path up the ridge.

Flora & Fauna

A wide variety of chaparral wildflowers and grasses. Deer, bobcats, coyotes, and mountain lions live in the area, but they are seldom seen.

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25 Views Last Month
198 Since Mar 2, 2019



Spine Trail is on the ridge that goes from the left to the Eucalyptus trees in the center. Pillar Point and harbor in the distance and San Vicente Farms in the center
Mar 3, 2019 near Montara, CA
Farm on San Vicente Creek and Montara Mountain from the lower Spine Trail
Mar 3, 2019 near Moss Beach, CA


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