Between Pedro Point and Rockaway Point, Pacifica State Beach, often called Linda Mar Beach, is popular with surfers and dog owners. The beach itself is largely inaccessible, but if you want a challenging climb and thrilling ride, you can pick up the Coastal Trail here and head north along the coast to Rockaway Beach and beyond. If you’re ambitious, you can travel the entire seven miles of this trail segment, past Mori Point to Sharp Park Beach and the Pacifica Municipal Pier.
see access criteria for definitions
Trailhead: Pacifica State Beach, off Hwy. 1
Length: 2-4 total miles
Typical Width: 4 ft. & above
Typical Grade: Mostly level or gentle but a section at Rockaway Point climbs a steep switchback.
From the northern end of the Pacifica State Beach parking lot, the trail is level for .75 miles, then ascends to Rockaway Point. A sign indicates steep grades (8.3 percent), but I easily made it in my power chair. When you reach the top you’re treated to fresh ocean breezes and bird’s-eye views, first of central Pacifica, then of the Rockaway Beach district. Stop to catch your breath and watch the surfers; you may also see pelicans skimming the waves. Whiz downhill through a series of switchbacks to Rockaway Beach, traveling past the parking lot at the end of Old Country Road, and cross a pedestrian bridge to Nick Gust Way.
From here the sidewalk leads to a concrete platform where you can view breakers and surfers. Then travel along Rockaway Beach boardwalk, ending at the parking lot. From the northeast corner of the parking lot, the paved .75-mile Calera Creek Trail runs through restored wetlands to a memorial for victims of the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center. This was our turnaround spot, but the trail continues past the wetlands, along busy Hwy. 1 to Mori Point Road, where you can follow the sidewalk a short distance to connect to trails in Mori Point and Sharp Park.
The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
Accessible Parking: Yes
There are plentiful accessible spots at Pacifica State Beach and several in Rockaway Beach, in lots at the end of Old County Rd. and at the end of San Marlo Way. The small lot on Reina del Mar, near the entrance to the Calera Creek Water Recycling Plant, has one accessible space.
Accessible Restroom: Yes
At Pacifica State Beach and in the parking lot at the south end of Old County Rd.
Other Things of Interest
A quick .25-mile roll south from the Pacifica State Beach parking lot (pick up the trail south of the Taco Bell) brings you to a patch of restored wetland along San Pedro Creek. The trail ends here at the beach, but eventually an accessible .9-mile addition is expected to climb from the creek up to Highway 1 just north of the stretch of road famous as Devil’s Slide. The Slide itself, now closed to automobile traffic, is being converted to a pedestrian and bicycle trail.
Hours: Pacifica State Beach: Daily, 5 am-10:30 pm (March-Nov.); 5 am-7 pm (Nov.-March)
Dogs: On a leash
Public Transportation: SamTrans