The Spine Trail starts from the high point of the Farmers Daughter Trail
. There is a sign pointing to it about 10 feet up in a tree, but the sign is not easy to see. The tail runs along the top of the ridge that separates the San Vicente and Denniston Creek valleys. Although there are a few downhill spots, it mostly just climbs up the ridge to Scarper Road
. The climbs increase from gentle at first, to moderately steep in the middle, to quite steep over the last part. Just before Scarper Road
there is a short section which is so steep that footing is difficult.
The trail is sunny and open with views in all directions, including Montara Mountain, the canyons on both sides, and the ocean from Ano Nuevo to Moss Beach. A wide variety of chaparral wildflowers can be seen in the spring and early summer.
From the junction with Scarper Road
, the left fork leads to an extremely steep climb up South Peak and on to Montara Mountain. The right fork has very steep ups and downs as it crosses several gullies until it finally climbs up to Deer Creek Trail
When I first climbed this trail in 2012, it was so overgrown that it was sometimes difficult to tell whether or not you were on the trail. Then a few years ago a Pacifica cycling club cut a narrow trail through the brush. Within the last year, rangers from the Golden Gate National Recreation area have cut a wide path up the ridge.
A wide variety of chaparral wildflowers and grasses. Deer, bobcats, coyotes, and mountain lions live in the area, but they are seldom seen.