Pillar Point Bluff

When visiting San Mateo County Parks, please follow California State COVID-19 safety guidelines.

View from Pillar Point Bluff
View from Pillar Point Bluff
Relax and enjoy the view from Pillar Point Bluff
Pillar Point Bluff Trail Head
Relax and enjoy the view from Pillar Point Bluff
Relax and enjoy the view from Pillar Point Bluff
Pillar Point Air Force Tracking Station

Pillar Point Bluff offers hikers, joggers, bicyclists, and dog-walkers a chance to take in the breathtaking sights and sounds of the Pacific Ocean. The 220-acre bluff top includes a section of the California Coastal Trail and offers views of Half Moon Bay and Pillar Point Harbor, agricultural lands and the world famous Mavericks surf break. The surf break is located approximately half a mile off shore due west from the Pillar Point Air Force Tracking station and is best viewed with binoculars. Ross’s Cove, the beach below the bluff, is part of the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve Fitzgerald and is located within the Montara State Marine Reserve. It has been designated as a Marine Protected Area which is the highest level of protection. Take a self-guided tour »

Please note: There is no viewing or spectating allowed from Pillar Point Bluff during the Mavericks Surf Competition.

While dogs are permitted on leash on trails atop the bluff, dogs are not permitted on the beach. Learn more about dogs in SMC Parks »

Jean Lauer Trail

Jean Lauer Trail wanders the windswept heights of Pillar Point Bluff. It is an ADA accessible dirt-packed trail which connects the Pillar Point Bluff parking lot and Bernal Ave and is open to hikers, joggers, bicyclists, equestrians, and dogs on leash.


Pillar Point Bluff has a 10-car parking lot located on Airport Street. The lot has 1 ADA parking stall and a single stall ADA restroom. Trash/ recycling containers and a kiosk with a park map are also located at the parking lot. Two additional trail heads to this property are located in the Seal Cove neighborhood at Ocean and Bernal, and Alvarado and Bernal.


The bluff property was historically used for grazing. When the San Mateo County adopted the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve Master Plan in 2004 it had identified these lands for acquisition. Peninsula Open Space Trust subsequently secured the parcels in the area and made initial public access improvements including building a parking lot, restroom, and the Jean Lauer Trail. San Mateo County Parks Department acquired Pillar Point Bluff with a grant from the Wildlife Conservation Board as an addition to Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in 2011.

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