Seal Cove in Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

Seal Cove Fitzgerald Marine Reserve


From the issue Wildlife Coast

Seal's the Deal

There’s no sign pointing to tiny, cliff-backed Seal Cove near Half Moon Bay. You’ve just gotta know where to go. As part of Moss Beach’s Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Seal Cove is a hike-in haven that’s easy to reach. Start your journey at the main reserve, popular for its teeming tidepools that are best seen at low tide. Sea stars, crabs, sponges, anemones, and other creatures make colorful animations in the water. Because the harbor seal likes to lounge on this part of the coast, the main part of the reserve might have restricted access. But jump on the bluff-top trail heading south, and little Seal Cove is less than 15 minutes by foot. The unmarked but well-maintained path passes through an old cypress forest and ends at a wooden staircase that drops down to the cove. Take a seaside stroll and let the water lap at your feet or just bask in the seclusion of this sandy swath backed by 50-foot cliffs. And that thing sticking out from the ocean? It’s a World War II-era warning marker that’s now a favorite roosting ground for cormorants. Signed, sealed, delivered.

The reserve is open during daylight hours. Visit the Friends of Fitzgerald Marine Reserve website for directions. Call their hotline at 650-728-3584 for the day’s low tide. To reach Seal Cove from the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve parking lot, find the unmarked trailhead at the corner of California Ave. and North Lake St. Go across the footbridge and up into the cypress forest. Look for the signed wooden staircase down to Seal Cove. No dogs.

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