The Pelican Bluffs Preserve Trail is the newest addition to the Coastal Trail that is being developed along California's 1200-mile long Pacific coastline. This 73-acre preserve is home to the endangered Point Arena Mountain Beaver and numerous rare plants, and host to a loop/lollipop trail that stretches from its trailhead on Shoreline Highway (SR 1) to the high limestone bluffs over the ocean's rocky coast and back. Parking and the trail can be accessed at Shoreline Highway and Warren Drive.
Family- and dog-friendly, this trail extends from the southwest corner of the loop south along the bluffs on an out-and-back track. At one point, the bluffs lean back to provide a gradual incline to the beach below, and while this isn't an official beach access route, it does make ocean accessible to you and your fur-pup.
The loop part of the trail traverses sunny fields and meadows replete with wildflowers nestled in the grass, and you'll find wooden stairs that make the hike easier, both to the cliff's edge and back up the gentle hill. Benches dot the path beckoning hikers to rest and contemplate the magnificent vistas. Whales can sometimes be spotted breaching beyond the breakers, and the air is alive with raptors and songbirds.
The upper part of the trail near the trailhead leads you through a Bishop pine forest that provides welcome shade and glimpses of the ocean through the trees. A picnic area found here is pawrfect for a snack or lunch. A small creek gurgles its way down to deposit itself into the Pacific and many small mammals and water-loving creatures may be seen in the wetlands surrounding the creek. There is no drinking water available, but creek water can be filtered if need be, or bring plenty of bottled water along for yourself and Fido.
The Central Coast Area is well-known for its furtastic scenery in places like Big Sur and others, but the Pelican Bluffs Preserve and its woofderful trail is the latest gem in the Coastal Highway crown!
This trail winds close to high limestone bluffs. Stay on the trail to avoid falling.