Milagra Ridge Full Moon Hike


Milagra Ridge Full Moon Hike

06.21.12

From the issue All the Light Moves

Moon Over Milagra

You won’t need fairy dust to enjoy a moonlit stroll loaded with ocean and city views; you’ll need a fairy trail! Good thing there’s the 1.5-mile loop at Pacifica’s Milagra Ridge—a bluffside beauty delivering a storybook setting. At 239 acres, this secluded open space traverses pavement, dirt paths and wooden steps through an island ecosystem where endangered plant and animal species thrive. Though the park feels small, the views are mighty—stretching from Mount Tam to Montara Mountain and lending the sense that you’re scaling the edge of the earth. Start the hike about a half-hour before sunset. Pass the yellow gate and make your way along the gently inclining paved trail, keeping an eye out for the endangered Mission butterfly with its orange and azure wings. When you reach a three-pronged fork about 0.5 miles in, veer up the Milagra Summit trail just in time to catch the amber sun dipping beneath the Pacific. The trail seems to end at this point, but cross over what appears to be the cliff's edge and go down a set of stairs surrounded by silver lupine and mustard clusters. It feels like you’re descending straight into the horizon, but instead you’ll end up back on pavement that will lead you to a World War II gun battery on the right, offering one of the best ocean viewpoints in the Bay Area. Retrace your steps up the paved path until it branches right to a dirt trail, keeping along the bluff's edge and winding by a lone cypress silhouetted against the blushing sky. As night falls and the moon rises, keep right to crest at a third vista highlighting the city of Pacifica as the nearby waves sparkle. Follow the trail down a final set of wooden steps to return to the trailhead. Full moon trifecta!

Milagra Ridge is located off Sharp Park Rd. in Pacifica off Highway 35, just 15 minutes southwest of San Francisco. Free parking is available on College Dr. just outside the gate. For driving directions and more information, visit Milagra Ridge's Web site. Here's a map of the park. Note: a mountain lion and coyotes have also been known to enjoy the view, so be aware, and try to hike with a pal if you’re going at dusk. Dog-friendly!

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