Alta Vista and Montara Mountain Loop is a 5.3 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Pacifica, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

5.3 miles
1,804 feet



nature trips

trail running




wild flowers



no dogs

The best way to approach this trail is to park at Montara State Beach or the McNee Ranch Gate off of Highway 1. It starts off on a dirt road (Old San Pedro Mountain Road), then crosses a bridge and heads through a ranch. After about 0.5 miles, you turn left and head straight up a steep hill towards the mountain. This leads to a little flat area where a mess of rutted dirt roads descend into the trees. Stay generally right/south and look for a steep trail which leads off to the left after a tenth of a mile or so. You are aiming for the water tanks up on Alta Vista Rd. Once there, head left on the road which ends and turns into a good singletrack trail at the Rancho Corral de Tierra sign. This is the start of the Alta Vista Trail. This trail is about 1.5 miles to the top of the peak on steep (up to 40%) grades. The trail wastes no time starting the climb; the first really steep section is about 0.4 miles in, but your way is made a little easier by a series of short switchbacks. Continue climbing, and you'll reach the next very steep section about a mile into the trail. After reaching the top, there is a very short descent to the junction with North Peak Access Road Trail. The trail surface is generally good and is mostly dirt but can be rocky at times. There are many new steps in places which help with the steepness. There are amazing views of the mountains and ocean and you can even see San Francisco from the top.

11 days ago

Please don't be that person with the Bluetooth speaker.

This trail is steep with lots of crumbling rock and dirt and does meander off the main path.

Even with a map and GPS location on I wandered off the trail a few times.

It's a good workout though.

1 month ago

Did the reverse route (clockwise), which I highly do not recommend. While the northern part of the loop (North Peak access road) is well developed (trucks drive it), the southern part (Cave trail) is much less developed and extremely steep and slippery (loose gravel/dirt)

Protect your knees and follow the guide's recommendation to go counter-clockwise. Trekking poles additionally recommended.

Additionally, if you go counter-clockwise, you can cut the descent grade by taking Old San Pedro Mountain Road rather than Fly Amanita at about 820'.

1 month ago

Great views. Very challenging steep route. Hard to find if not tracking with gps, we missed the trail a couple of times

3 months ago

It’s aight

4 months ago

Some of the trails are not marked will read it if you times to find the right one but the views are very nice hike today

4 months ago

Pretty tough trail, we did a modified version with an extra excursion onto the Crack trail which has some nice rock scrambling; the descents can be tough so wear good shoes

7 months ago

A great trail with incredible ocean views and the shortest (and steepest) way to the top of Montara Mountain.

Just FYI, the Alta Vista portion of this loop is closed to bikes.

4 months ago

4 months ago

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