Feeling a little salty from walking the same old paw path every day? The Gray Whale Cove Trail outside of Montara might be the solution for your pack! This scenic 1-mile out-and-back trail will captivate even the most seasoned hiker but is easy enough that a sofa spud can breeze through it! The diverse landscape caters to many species of plant and animal life. It is not unusual for the hillside to be covered with vibrant wildflowers such as the Douglas iris. True to its name, this cove is an excellent spot for watching whales (and seals!) splash around in the bay, and the trail will give your pack a front row seat for their impromptu shows!
We suggest parking at the lot marked Montara State Beach/McNee Ranch, located on the east side of Highway 1. There are a few additional spaces at the trailhead about a mile south, but it only accommodates four vehicles. Parking at the western trailhead is not advised because you will need to cross the highway to reach the trail. Be sure to bring plenty of water and poo bags for your pack. Keep the trails beautiful by doing your part to keep it clean!
The walkway runs parallel to Highway 1, so you will have some noise pollution during your walk, but this won't faze Fido and Fifi one bit! They will be too concerned with all the intriguing sounds and fragrant smells that come along with such a lively habitat! Gray Whale Cove is a very pawpular spot, so expect to encounter other trail-goers on your walk -- try coming on weekday mornings to minimize the chances of trail congestion. If this short trail isn't enough adventure for your pack, there are several spur trails along your way that are sure to keep the good times rolling! What are you waiting on? Get off your beach bums and go sniff it out!
Poison oak is common along the trail; wear long pants and close-toed shoes to prevent possible contact! Weather can change dramatically along the ridge, turning sunny to high winds and pelting rain in an instant. Dressing in layers is encouraged! Gray Whale Cove Beach is a nude beach, so be prepared to see people in the buff!