No matter where you start, it is all uphill to reach this ridge! The 360-degree views once you've gained the elevation are worth the effort. Check out the Portola Monument Site where the San Francisco Bay was first viewed. Stop and eat a snack or have lunch here before you head back.
You are exposed to all the elements up on the ridge. Be prepared for wind, fog, sun, and more.
Bring your own water if you are doing the whole ridge loop.
To access this route, you'll head first toward the Baquiano Trail
. Though there isn't a parking area at the trailhead, there is plenty of on-street parking. The Baquiano Trail
is a steady singletrack climb up to the Sweeney Ridge
. Switchbacks make your climb a little easier. Be sure to turn around and look at the ocean from time to time. When you meet up with the Cattle Hill Trail
, you'll notice that a doubletrack branches off to the west. This is a short and pleasant route with a few rollers. Take the out and back for beautiful vistas, or skip this portion to carry on your journey.
Once you meet up with the Sweeney Ridge Trail
, head south. The fork on your right is the Sweeney Horse Trail
, which you'll take. Continue on the Sweeney Horse Trail
until you come to the Sweeney Meadow Trail
. The meadow for which the trail is named is a beautiful mid-way point to enjoy the view before you loop back to the Sweeney Ridge Trail
If heading back to your vehicle via the Sweeney Ridge Trail
and the Baquiano Trail
isn't appealing without a few more miles, continue north past the Baquiano Trail
. You have three options, veer right onto Sneath Lane
and head down the hill, continue a while to the Mori Ridge Trail
and go left or veer right on to the Notch Trail
. All three of these trails add over another mile or two depending how far you want to follow them.
You can reach Sweeney Ridge
off of either of these last three mentioned trails. Plan on working your way up more than another mile or two from their designated parking areas. You can get to the Sneath Lane
and the Notch Trail
trailheads from Highway 35 if you don't want to drive all the way into Pacifica.
All the coastal flora is here, including native grasses and ocean birds.
The Portola Monument Site is located along this route, and marks the spot where the San Francisco Bay was first viewed.