Sunlight and the Sea
Hike Mori Point Loop for Pacific and Sunset Views
Rugged coastal cliffs, magnificent cloud formations, and sunlight sparkling on the water create beautiful autumn views at Mori Point in Pacifica. Hikers and cyclists can catch a Pacific sunset on the 2.5-mile Mori Point Loop. Go in the afternoon for the hike and finish up in time to watch the last of the day’s sun sink below the Pacific horizon.
Start at the Liberty Garden parking area and head west on the paved bike trail as it winds through the colorful gardens. Originally constructed as a September 11th memorial, the area has grown into an ornate flower display, maintained by local Pacifica residents.
At the intersection, continue straight onto the wide dirt path. Huge clumps of fluffy pampas grass line the trail. Though originally from South America, the eye-catching grasses have become a fixture on the California coast.
Keep left at the next intersection and follow the trail as it curves toward the ocean. Tread carefully as the path narrows and rises sharply up the oceanside bluffs. After about a quarter mile of climbing, the Pacific swims into view, along with a glimpse of Rockaway Beach to the south.
Continue north on the Bluff Trail for half a mile, soaking up sights of the blue-green ocean and cormorants basking on the half-submerged rocks. This rugged section of trail is an adventurer’s delight, featuring steep, oceanside cliff views, a walk through a narrow rock canyon, and whimsical man-made rock swirls.
Turn left on the Mori Headlands Trail to reach the small peninsula of Mori Point. Make use of the free binoculars (be sure to return them!) and enjoy the golden hues of the sun sinking over the Pacific Ocean.
Once you’ve gotten your fill of the views, head back to the intersection, and follow the signs for Lishumsha Trail. (This is the easiest route to navigate at dusk.) Continue until you reach Highway 1. Then turn right to follow either the wooded Timigtac Trail or the paved bicycle path back to the parking lot.
NOTE: Be sure to bring flashlights and headlamps, and aim to head back before darkness sets in … in other words, enjoy the sunset but don’t linger long and try to navigate trails in darkness. The parking area is located just off Hwy. 1 in Pacifica. From Skyline Blvd. (CA-35) turn west onto Sharp Park Rd. At the intersection with Hwy. 1, head south for one mile, then turn right at the intersection with Reina Del Mar Ave. Parking is on the left. Trails are mountain bike friendly. Dog-friendly!
Story and photos by Heather Werner, @heath.er.wer.ner
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