Hike Gray Whale Cove Trail

San Francisco Gray Whale Cove Trailhead

Added by Xavier Salgado

This is an easy hike for the whole family, with an abundance of wildflowers in the spring and spectacular coastal views while being dog-friendly.

Gray whale cove trail is a splendid, short, and easy hike for the entire family with beautiful ocean views. The starting point is conveniently located near a parking lot that accesses Montara State Beach. From the south end of the parking lot, follow the trail up through the coastal scrub. Within minutes the trail will take you in the direction of the ocean, you'll have views of the beach below you as well as the WWII military triangulation station that sits on a promontory over to the north.

The level trail continues to wind along the edge of the mountain, parallel to highway 1, before arriving to a small resting point with two wooden benches that overlook Montara State Beach. This is a perfect spot to Whale watch as well as to relax and enjoy the coastal views ( this is also about the halfway point to the entire hike).

Going forward the trail crosses paths with the Old Pedro Mountain trail on the left ( stay straight ). The path will start to descend as it approaches an old dirt road. Just before reaching the dirt road turn to the right and walk through the cypress forest toward highway 1. Once you've reached this point you pretty much have two options, cross the road and walk down to Montara State Beach, or go back the same way you came from.

If you're a coffee enthusiast like myself you'll want to make sure to stop by P-Town cafe ( 152 Reina Del Mar Ave, Pacifica, CA. 94044) which is an old train car transformed into the coolest coffee shop you'll ever see. Great coffee, hot chocolate for children at only a dollar, and the most amazing bagel sandwiches.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Doggy bags
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Chillin, Fitness, Hiking, Running

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



2.3 Miles

Elev. Gain:

265 Feet




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How to Get There

about 2 months ago


There are beautiful views of the ocean the whole way. I sat and watched the water for a while and saw several pods of whales. Bring a hat or sunscreen, if the sun is out there is little shade.

about 2 months ago


Such a nice walk! You get a great view of the ocean the whole walk.

8 months ago

Added by Xavier Salgado

It's not about seeing the obvious. It's about seeing the unseen!

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