Trinidad California - Elk Head & College Cove Trailhead


What? :

College Cove is located at the northernmost section of Trinidad State Beach.

This is a popular relatively protected beach with rocks and tidepools to explore. Here you can also hike along the plateau all the way to it end viewing over the ocean.



Where? :

Take the Trinidad exit into town, then turn right onto Stagecoach Road in approx. 1/4 mile. Follow the narrow road for about 1/2 mile and after passing one lane bridge you will see the parking area entrance on your left.

Google Map Link


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When? :

Year round.



Due note 1: When I visit here during March 2024 few of the trails were under construction and close to the public. Looks like work will end before summer 2024.


Due note 2: There is no restroom at the parking lot and it is free access. Fire and camping are not allowed.



My thoughts:

I visit here when the beach was close, but I enjoy the sunset view from the cliff end.



The visit:

Overall including the hike down to the cove and to the end of the cliff this is short and easy trail, overall 1.5-mile loop trail.


It is only a short hike from the parking lot, through the woods, until you reach the trail going down to the beach (steep drops of about 120 feet).

Low tide is the best time to visit. when I visit here the trail leading down to the beach was close.

If you keep hiking on the main trail you will pass through tall vegetation, if you steek to the left you can see the cove and the ocean below you.

After short walk the Elk Head trail goes under a tree tunnel toward a “strange” wooden gate. After the gate the landscape opens to the view of the ocean near the cliff edge. 

The trail ends at un-stable wooden staircase, leading down to lower rock opening. 

This is a high vantage point so you can see gray whales during their migration from here.

When I visit here, during winter storm the wave crash high into the air.

I enjoy the sunset at this point and later went back to the parking lot.





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