Hike Pillar Point Bluff

San Francisco Jean Lauer Trailhead

Added by Michael Gabbert

Enjoy breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean on this easy 1 ¼ hike. Pillar Point Bluff is located roughly 30 minutes driving from San Francisco.

Sitting on a 140 acre bluff top, the Pillar Point Bluffs are a simple, easy hike with breathtaking views throughout. The bluffs are 22 miles from San Francisco – a 30 minute drive depending on the traffic. There is a small 10 car or so parking lot off of Airport Blvd, but there are two additional trail head entrances in the Seal Cove neighborhood at Ocean Blvd & Bernal Ave. or Alvardo Ave & Bernal Ave.

Once on the trail, there are a myriad of different paths you can take. The trails twist and turn throughout the abundance of plants in which the trails are cut through. Overall, there is minimal elevation changes which make the hike quite easy for all ages.

Gracing you at almost every step of the hike is the Pacific Ocean to the West. To the south of the trail, and jetting into the Pacific, is the Pillar Point Air Force Tracking Station. With its domed, almost water tower-esqe looking structure amongst some large satellites, it’s nearly impossible to miss. Off from the point where the station sits , you’ll be able to see Mavericks surfing area about a ½ mile off the shore. Huge waves crest here and during the right time of the year are fascinating to behold.

The bluffs have about 1 ¼ of actual trails but foot trails off the beaten path can lead to additional length if you so choose. If you want to extend your adventure, you can either go north a ½ mile into the Cypress Tree Tunnels at Moss Beach or go just south of the bluffs a hike Maverick’s beach.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Binoculars (if you want to view the surfers)
  • Hiking Shoes (if trail is soggy)
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Chillin, Hiking, Photography, Running

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



1.5 Miles

Elev. Gain:

50 Feet



Adult Beverages
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

4 months ago

A Sunday Morning Favorite

Great spot to walk the dog on a weekend morning. Great even on a cool, foggy day. Great bird watching. I've also seen rabbits, dolphins and lots of seals.

4 months ago

4 months ago

Fun For Kids!

An easy hike for kids. Beautiful picture opportunities!

4 months ago

Added by Michael Gabbert

Minnesotan living in Seattle. Email: mjgabbert@gmail.com

More Adventures Nearby

Backpack to Mississippi Lake

San Francisco / Henry W. Coe SP Headquarters

If you're tired of trying and failing to get reservations for backcountry camping around the bay area, then Henry Coe State Park is the perfect place to visit.

Saif Choudhary
5 Saves

Run Sawyer Camp Trail

San Francisco / Sawyer Camp Trail

The Sawyer Camp Trail is a popular paved trail that stretches alongside the Crystal Springs Reservoir all the way to Hillcrest Blvd.

Rachel Davidson
13 Saves

Hike Bolinas Ridge

San Francisco / Cross Marin Trailhead

Nestled in the Samuel P. Taylor State Park this ten miler was a perfect escape from the chaos of the city. Hikers are able to pay a $10.

Heidi M
5 Saves