Moss Beach


Where? : Moss Beach is a small town just north of Half Moon Bay.

Google Map Link


What? : Visiting Moss Beach can offer several activities and places to visit. From rock and ocean tide pool, unique Cypress trees grove and open spec hikes.


When? : Year round.


My thoughts: I visit Moss Beach many times, both at winter and at summer and it was always fun. I really like the Cypress trees grove hill, the beaches nearby and the large Pillar Point open space preserve.


The visit:

Visit to the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve and Seal Cove and Cypress Tree Tunnel, north of Half Moon Bay. You can combine this visit with a hike to Pillar Point open space, beautiful blooms at late winter or spring season, and Mavericks Beach (can be visit separately).


After a short drive north from Half Moon Bay on hwy 1, pass the surf beach, boat harbor and the local airport turn left into California Ave. Keep going slowly in the neighborhood until you reach the Fitzgerald Marine ranger station parking lot on your right.

At low tide when there are no waves you can go down to the rocky beach and tour the ocean tide pools, fan and learning activity for kids and grownups.


The Hike:

The hike to Cypress Tree Hill starts from the parking lot, the entrance is slightly to your left (if the ocean path is on your right). After crossing the bridge turn right, the trail starts at the north side of the hill with an open viewpoint overlooking the ocean. The trail enters a grove of old and large Cypress trees forming a beautiful canopy trail (similar place the Point Reyes Tree Tunnel).

You can walk around the grove, enjoying the covered trails. At the southern end of the grove you can go down the stairs to the small Seal Cove beach.

From the grove the trip continues south on the cliff road, passing through Moss Beach Distillery and continuing south on Ocean Blvd.

At the south section of Moss Beach starts Pillar Point Bluff, a large open space ridge above the ocean with few easy hike options.

You can go all the way south and connect to Half Moon Bay Mavericks beach.

In the southern part of the ridge there is an Air-Force base with the huge “golf ball” antenna, on the left side there is a path that descends to the Mavericks Beach parking lot.

From here you need to turn around hike back to your car. If you are coming with 2 cars you can park one at Mavericks beach Tide Pools Parking Lot; it will save you the hike back.


HI-Point Montara Lighthouse:

At the north point of Moss Beach, you can find the HI-Point Montara Lighthouse. When going north on hwy 1 turn left into the hotel road (no official road sign, make sure you do not miss the left turn), park outside.

This is a family owned and operated hotel with a small, but nice, lighthouse. The lighthouse is not open, but you can walk around. Great place to seat and enjoy the beautiful views of the ocean below and the coastline to the north.