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About Cowell-Purisima Trail in Half Moon Bay, California

The Cowell-Purisima Trail is a 3.6 mile long public hiking and cycling trail along the high bluffs south of Half Moon Bay. It’s part of the cross-state hiking and biking route known as the California Coastal Trail. The land is protected through a land swap with the land owners (Cowell Ranch and Purisima Farms) and the state.

This wide safe gravel trail has several bridges and only one section that isn’t wheelchair accessible. The views are exceptional of the beaches and bluffs but also of the farms and inland hills. Seal Rock is below the southern overlook and Eel Rock is visible below the trail as you head north.

Unfortunately there are no safe access routes to the beaches below the trail due to the steepness of the bluffs and even if they were they’re closed to humans to preserve harbor seal habitat (beaches are known as Seal Beach).

If you reach the north end of the trail, there is a stairwell down to Cowell Ranch Beach which is open to the public. You can park and begin your hike on the Cowell-Purisima Trail from there as well.

Note that dogs and horses are not allowed on this trail.

Cabrillo Highway
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Park Name
California Coastal Trail
Other Names
Seal Beach
Pet Details
No dogs allowed on the trail
No fee for parking
Hiking, Mountain Biking, Birdwatching, Wildlife Watching
Trails, Accessible Features, Restrooms
Half Moon Bay, US
7:16 am, March 20, 2023
temperature icon 48°F
L: 47° H: 52°
Feels like 46.45 °F overcast clouds
Wind gusts: 2 m/s
UV Index: 0
Precipitation: 0 inch
Visibility: 10 km
Sunrise: 7:13 am
Sunset: 7:20 pm
Humidity 94 %
Pressure1014 mb
Wind 2 m/s

Nearby Beaches

Martins Beach

1.3 miles away

Martins Beach is open again! Recently the US Supreme Court decided not to hear the case of Martins Beach...

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Cowell Ranch Beach

1.7 miles away

Cowell Ranch Beach south of Half Moon Bay is a public beach that was protected in 1987 by Peninsula...

View beach

Pelican Point Beach

2.3 miles away

Pelican Point Beach is located near the end of Miramontes Point Road in Half Moon Bay, CA. The beach...

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Nearby Attractions

Nearby Lodging


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