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Devil's Slide Trail

San Mateo County

January 1st, 2015

2.4 miles
320 vertical feet
Total Time: 1:00

Starting elevation
95 feet
Max elevation
424 feet

Rating: 6/10

Directions: From San Francisco, take Interstate 280 south to Highway 1 south. Follow Highway 1 through Pacifica. The road will start climbing. Just before you enter the tunnel, turn right into the small parking lot. If the lot is full, or you miss it and enter the tunnel, simply continue on through the tunnel and park in the second lot on the right just on the other side of the tunnel.   View Driving Map

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GPX File

The Devil's Slide Trail opened in March of 2014, and I'd been meaning to visit it since then. I finally found the time to do so on the first day of 2015. The trail is a short (just over 1 mile) paved multi-use trail open to hikers, cyclists, and equestrians. It is built on the remnants of the old portion of Highway 1 that was used before the completion of the nearby tunnel.

When we arrived in the afternoon, the northern parking lot was completely full, and cars were circling, waiting for a spot to open up. We drove through the tunnel to reach the southern parking lot, which is slightly larger but was also full. We settled in to wait a couple minutes until someone left, freeing up a spot for us. While it can be annoying trying to find parking, at least it is free (for now). If you don't want to deal with the parking hassle, the city of Pacifica currently operates a free weekend shuttle.

View from the south parking lot

View from the south parking lot

We took in some nice views of the Pacific Ocean from the parking lot before starting up the trail. The trail climbs steadily, steep rocky walls on the right and a steep drop-off to the ocean on the left. If you want privacy, you've come to the wrong place, as it's a popular place. Because of the short length of the trail, I'm guessing you probably won't see many cyclists or equestrians: We only saw one small group of cyclists (two kids and their dad), and no equestrians. But you will find lots of people walking in either direction, enjoying the views.

View looking south along the trail

Looking north along the trail

View to the north

View to the north

After climbing a bit, the grade kicks up to about 9% in one place. In a couple spots there are a set of benches and some pay telescopes. After the largest of these areas, the trail descends down to the northern parking lot. We stopped there briefly before turning around and returning the way we came.

One side for bikes, one side for walkers

View to the north


Striations in the cliffs

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