When I was little, my family spent a few years living in Pacifica, a beach town located just a few miles south of San Francisco. Once a week, my mom would drive me south for swimming lessons at La Petite Baleen. Normally, down Highway 1 was easy and only took a few minutes, however, after a rainstorm, we often had to take a long detour. Mudslides were common along a stretch of freeway ominously nicknamed Devil’s Slide. When a mudslide hit, Highway 1 was closed, sometimes for weeks on end.
In 2013, a pair of tunnels was completed, allowing cars to pass through Devil’s Slide. No longer were mudslides a problem. Instead of closing off the former freeway, San Mateo County turned it into a gorgeous, multi-use trail.
Parking is plentiful and the signage is fabulous. Apart from a steep hill on the Half Moon Bay side, the trail is fairly flat and to keep you occupied, there are informative signs along the route which will you in on the history of the area.
… but the best part of the experience? THE VIEWS! I didn’t intend to stop every five feet to gawk at the ocean below, but I did. It was a (typically) foggy day, but it didn’t matter. The cliffs, the pounding surf, and the horizon will blow your mind.
I was surprised to learn that the area was previously used for military purposes. Abandoned bunkers (now closed off) still exist in the cliffs and there are dilapidated base end stations at the beginning of the trail. A little creepy and reminiscent of “The Ring,” but they were also eerily beautiful and add to the ambiance.
I definitely recommend a trip to the area, if for nothing else than the view.