Swing into Spring

Hike this Half Moon Bay Gem with a Hidden Swing

Swing into this 7.1-mile hike in the hills of Half Moon Bay! It’s got gorgeous views, fields of spring wildflowers, and a hidden rustic tree swing.

The hike begins at the intersection of Etheldore Street and Ranch Road. Head northeast along Ranch Road past nearby horse ranches, with equestrians often sharing the trail. At the Ember Ridge Equestrian Center, follow signs for Spine Trail, leading to the right and around the barns.

Turn left onto Spine Trail to begin the ascent into the forest. Enormous eucalyptus trees give the air a minty freshness, while fields of bright yellow wood sorrel are the first blooms of the spring wildflower season.

At the intersection with Farmer’s Daughter Trail, turn left to stay on Spine Trail as it rises steeply into the chaparral. Here, the route is lined with California coffeeberry, bright red toyon berries, and sagebrush. Finally, 1,300 feet above the trailhead, Spine Trail crosses Scarpers Trail, ending in a rocky overlook. Soak up the stunning scenery, from the dramatic hills to the Pacific Ocean in the distance.

Snap a selfie, enjoy a picnic lunch, then retrace your steps back down Spine Trail; 1.8 miles from the turnaround point, keep your eyes peeled for the swing on the left side of the trail, securely tied to a giant pine tree (and see our map below for the location).

Kick up your feet and enjoy the simple pleasure of swinging through the air while gazing at the ocean 500 feet below.

Retrace the route back down to the trailhead.

The trailhead can be found at the intersection of Ranch Road and Etheldore Street in Moss Beach. Map. Horse, bike, and dog-friendly. (Here is a map with the swing.)

Story and photos by Heather Werner, @heath.er.wer.ner

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