Thanks to the efforts of the Peninsula Open Space Trust, two new recreational areas located between Pigeon Point and Point Montara are providing new public access to the beautiful San Mateo coast.
Cowell-Purisima Coastal Trail
The Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST), together with the California Coastal Conservancy, recently announced the opening of the Cowell-Purisima Coastal Trail, boasting magnificent ocean and mountain views as well as access to bridges, lush farmland, and bluff-top overlooks.
A new addition to the California Coastal Trail, the Cowell-Purisma trail runs for three miles along the San Mateo coast, starting at Cowell Ranch Beach in Half Moon Bay (10 miles south of the Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel), and ending at Purisima Farms (15 miles north of the Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel). The trail is open to cyclists and hikers and, with the exception of a section that passes through the steep banks of Purisima Creek, is wheelchair accessible.
In addition to providing new coastal access to the public, the Cowell-Purisima trail has been designed to minimize interference with farming operations and to avoid damage to sensitive natural areas. The trail is home to a variety of small farms that produce artichokes, Brussels sprouts, and other local crops. As a result, a small portion of the trail on the northern side will be closed to the public on weekdays from June through September, during the peak of the growing and harvest seasons.
Pillar Point Bluff
In related news, San Mateo County has purchased 140 acres from the Peninsula Open Space Trust to expand the James V. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, a spectacular stretch of protected coastline. The new addition includes Pillar Point Bluff, a beautiful area with hiking and nature watching opportunities that overlooks the habitat-rich shore.
Guests at Point Montara Lighthouse can walk directly from the hostel along a bluff-top trail to the main entrance of the reserve, about a mile away.