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.

Hiker sitting on bench overlooking the Pacific on Mori Point Loop in Pacifica

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.

Mori Point at Pacifica

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.

labyrinth rocks on Mori Point Loop in Pacifica

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.

Sunset at Mori Point in Pacifica

Sunset at Mori Point in Pacifica

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

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Sebastopol Food & Wine Roll

    One apple farm, three charming towns, multiple wineries, and infinite natural beauty. Savor a perfect autumn day in Sonoma County by biking the West County Regional Trail from Sebastopol to Forestville via Graton. It’s a 17-mile (round-trip) adventure. 

    View
  2. Hiker taking a photo of sunset at Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve

    Sunshine and Skyline

    Head to Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve for a 4-mile out-and-back hike on the Bay Area Ridge Trail that offers a front-row seat to spectacular sunsets.

    View
  3. Hike Los Trancos Open Space Preserve in the Santa Cruz Mountains

    Light of Los Trancos

    In autumn, Los Trancos Open Space Preserve lights up with orange-red maples, yellow hazelnut, and deciduous oaks, making this 2.5-mile hike in the Santa Cruz mountains a wonder-fall destination.

    View
  4. Sponsored

    Center of Attention

    Central Oregon is home to the craft beer capital of the US, the Deschutes River, and trails for every kind of outdoor adventure: hiking, skiing, paddling, biking, and—of course—relaxing at fire pits.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Secret Stair Master!

    Step up to a wonderful 2-mile, nearly 1000-step workout in peaceful Pasadena that is part leg labor, part suburban stroll, and all serene secret.

    View
  2. Hiker at Dos Picos County Park in San Diego County

    Dos Picos

    The 1.4-mile loop around Dos Picos County Park is a small yet mighty gem in northern San Diego County. It's gentle and packs a bunch of scenery.

    View
  3. U-pick and Hike

    Some of the most delicious anywhere grow on trees high up in the San Bernardino Mountains in the town of Oak Glen, where Los Rios Rancho, So Cal’s largest historic apple ranch, grows 32 varieties, all completely organic, and available as u-picks.

    View
  4. Hike to an epic vista in the San Gabriels via the Colby Trail in Glendora

    Do It for a Donut!

    Why bust your legs on this 2.25-mile hike in the San Gabriels? Two words: Donuts. Donuts. Okay, you’ll also get great views and a fine workout, but we guarantee that the treat alone merits the trek.

    View