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Cowell-Purisima Trail

Easy/Intermediate
 4.3 (12)

An easy, multi-use trail overlooking pristine beaches from atop coastal bluffs.


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Map Key

3.6

Miles

5.8

KM

Point to Point

176' 54 m

High

71' 22 m

Low

209' 64 m

Up

167' 51 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

13%

Max Grade (8°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Description

From the northern trailhead, the Cowell-Purisima Trail heads straight west toward the ocean. There is a farm on the south side of the trail and a golf course on the north side. Beyond the golf course is the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay. After a half mile, the trail reaches the coastal bluffs. One side trail heads to an overlook and another - a staircase - leads down to Cowell Ranch Beach. It's the only accessible beach on the Cowell-Purisima Trail.

The trail then turns south along the bluffs. The path is generally level and follows the contours of the coastline, only descending and ascending steeply to cross Purisima Creek near the middle of the trail.

At the southern end of the trail, there is a short spur trail to an overlook of Seal Rock, where you can usually see harbor seals.

Flora & Fauna

Look for harbor seals and cormorants on the rocks below. You can sometimes see whales in the distance.

Contacts

Shared By:

Miguel Vieira with improvements by Joan Pendleton

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 12 votes

#6297

Overall
  4.3 from 12 votes
5 Star
42%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
8%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#507

in California

#6,297

Overall
15 Views Last Month
3,378 Since Feb 18, 2017
Easy/Intermediate

69%
8%
23%
0%
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0%

Photos

Looking north with Montara Mountain in the distance
Jan 2, 2018 near Half Mo…, CA
Fields of Wintercress
Jan 2, 2018 near Half Mo…, CA
Sandstone cliffs drop to the Pacific Ocean near Half Moon Bay, seen from the bluffs of Cowell-Purisima Trail.
Jan 30, 2021 near Half Mo…, CA
Cliffs silhouetted, and ocean shimmering in the afternoon, to the south of Cowell-Purisima Trail.
Jan 30, 2021 near Half Mo…, CA
Enjoy the sweet view from the stairs down to Cowell Ranch Beach.
Feb 18, 2017 near Half Mo…, CA
Foot bridge
Jul 14, 2019 near Half Mo…, CA

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Check-Ins

Jan 30, 2021
Joan Pendleton
Aug 1, 2020
Sungwoo Cha
Jan 25, 2020
A Mom
Went from the north parking lot to Purisima Creek and returned. Stopped to watch the herons. 5mi — 1h 54m
Feb 18, 2019
Bibi Engels
6.6mi
Jul 4, 2018
David Wright
Nice breezy day!
Jun 10, 2018
Kristen Yawitz
Jun 10, 2018
Sara Foster
3.6mi
Jan 20, 2018
KeVin Lim
Beautifully maintained trail