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

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Taking the Stage: Tyler Ranch

    Hike the recently opened Tyler Ranch Staging Area in Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park, with 18 miles of new trails. This 6.5-mile loop up Sunol Peak is a challenge and rewards with exceptional views of seasonal iridescent hills.

  2. Swing into Spring

    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.

  3. The Carson Show

    Carson Falls is ready for primetime. This three-tiered, 100-foot stunner is hidden back in a canyon outside of Fairfax and reached on a 3.25-mile (round-trip) hike.

  4. woman kneeling and signing peak book at Mount Olympia in Mount Diablo State Park

    Double Up on Diablo

    Set the tone for 2024 with this twofer summit hike at Mount Diablo State Park. Embark on a 7-mile out-and-back up Mount Olympia and Diablo’s lesser-known summit, North Peak.


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Hiker overlooking Bear Gulch Reservoir at Pinnacles National Park near Monterey

    Pinnacles of Spring

    Why hike at Pinnacles National Park? Spring's a beautiful time of year here. And you might spy the magnificent California condor soaring while you gain soaring views from the High Peaks Trail.

  2. Caves in Mojave

    No one expects to see caves when they visit the desert, and that’s part of what makes Mitchell Caverns in the Mojave Desert such an interesting place. Go on a two-hour guided adventure tour through Mitchell Caverns in Providence Mountains State Recreation Area.

  3. Sponsored

    Port of Call

    Nestled by the sea on the majestic Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, Port Townsend is for travelers who treasure small town charm and natural beauty.

  4. Lava Lava

    Once a land of volcanic activity, Mojave National Preserve shares plenty about its past via a quick yet adventurous hike to the Lava Tube in the Cima Dome Volcanic Field.