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Cave Landing and Pirate's Cove from Shell Beach

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Pismo Beach, California

Cave Landing and Pirate's Cove from Shell Beach is a 2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Pismo Beach, California that features a cave and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and nature trips and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 2.0 mi Elevation gain 252 ft Route type Out & Back
Dog friendly Kid friendly Hiking Nature trips Walking Running Beach Cave Views
Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (157)
Photos (186)
Recordings (101)
Completed (957)
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Breanne Bulahan
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Hiking

Done on 9/10/20 at about 1pm. Very minimal parking at the end (about 6 cars + handicap spot), however I believe people were able to park in the nearby neighborhood and walk. Nice paved walk past some mansions to a gated off steep hill. Great workout! It'll lead you to a sort of sketchy campground that intermittently had clothing strewn about as well as the smell of urine. The pathway leading to the post that splits into the beach or the cave, was littered with trash, masks, clothing, or small dog poop. The cave itself was fine, there was a man sitting on top of it wearing pajamas. The cave had miscellaneous trash in it as well, was unsure if the couple already there had been staying in it. I agree with what others have suggested about the beach. Very jagged steps leading down to the rocks above the sand, there was 2 ways to get down - one with a rope to help guide you down and another was like a step and guess game. Overall, this hike was okay - just be prepared. I don't think I'd do it again.

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Adam Mourad
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 6, 2020
Hiking

a highly recommend this trail if you're looking for a challenge with great views and you end up at the beach at the end this is the trail for you warning at the end is super steep highly recommend bringing proper boots or trail runners so you don't slip

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Alex Harrison
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Hiking

Trail alongside a beach and on a fire road. The beach/water is beautiful but unfortunately there’s a lot of trash from partying

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Maria Ayala
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HikingNo shadeOver grown

Beautiful view. The trail was hard to use because it’s over grown and steep. We have a golden retriever who is good at hiking but he was having such a difficult time. We saw a beach next to the trail and decided to go down and explore. The beach was pretty empty when we went but 1/2 is the college party section and the other 1/2 a nude beach.

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Tresa Protzman
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HikingNo shadePrivate propertyRocky

Beautiful walk, but be careful because there is a lot of crime and partying going on here. There are no restrooms and the parking for this walk is located near the freeway exit to Avila Beach or off Cave Landing Drive. Drug deals, broken bottles everywhere, trash left behind, people peeing in neighborhood yards, vomiting in driveways, and not picking up their dog droppings...it isn't the best on crowded sunny days. Sad, because they are ruining it for everyone. Dog owners beware of broken glass.

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Crystal McKinney
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Hiking

makes for a good night run too!

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Jacqueline K.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 9, 2020
HikingNo shade

This trail begins in a residential area, a ways away from the actual trail. Cement path with great views. Actual trail begins once you get through the neighborhood. Nice and easy hike. No porta potties or restroom areas.

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Debra Early
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Hiking

beautiful easy trail

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Brian Buckley
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Hiking

I think we started in a different parking lot, which involved walking along shore near huge houses. Afterwards was a large hill and we arrived in the parking lot where I believe we were “supposed” to start. Trail is pretty easy through the brush. A few sketchy ppl around with a bunch of garbage around, but no real issues. Walked down through the cave and near the water, which apparently serves as a nude beach, but it was December. Overall, more of a stroll and excuse to get outside than a “hike”

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Jess Mooney
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HikingNo shade

it's a cement path most of the way to the outcropping. though it is a pretty view the whole walk, it's not as good and many other areas along hwy 1. kinda cool to see how the 1% live with a row of $multimillion homes just on the other side of the path. the trail out to the cave and the cove is better, but narrow and on a busy day, you're bumping into someone almost constantly. do these areas on an off day/time. the cave is particular picturesque and you a nice view of the nude beach (and sunbathers) below.

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Vincent Sullivan
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Hiking

Great views and was a very easy hike. Would not recommend kids due to a nude beach being right next to the cove

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Abraham Castaneda
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Hiking

Amazing and great views!

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Mark Gonzales
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Hiking

The views were great but the trail is filled with garbage and the cave was covered with graffiti. Not to mention the parking lot at the trailhead has bags of open garbage and people who seem to have set up “camp” in their vehicles.

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darby baum
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Hiking

Very unsettling to see the trailhead be used as a shantytown with people living broken down vehicles and throwing trash in piles outside.

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Kristi Blowers-Merten
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Hiking

Easy trail, most anyone can do with great scenery. Gorgeous flowers in May , perfect temperature.

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Ashley Hickman
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Hiking

Great trail. Growth is getting a bit tall but still wonderful.

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Cristina Loftis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 22, 2019
Hiking

Nice hike to a cave and also leads to a beach trail. Clothing is optional down by the beach. ❤️

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mickey clement
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Pretty plantings along first part of trail/ then rocks and beach- a little elevation- nice variety, spectacular coastal views. Fun for kids.

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Ricardo Alvarez-Perez
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Hiking

fun trail to do. Parking is very tiny only like 4 spots and one handicap spot. The hike is very nice. You can see the ocean and fields. The incline is a little hard but I did it just fine it's probably about 200 yards or less. I would recommend it to active adults and kids 5+. will do again

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Jennifer Baeza
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Great for kids and dogs. Awesome views!

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Sam@ NationalParksTrails
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Hiking

Park in small lot at end of Cave Landing Road. This is an easy hike which you can make as difficult as you want by going uphill from Pirates Cove. Tide was high so I did not go down onto beach. People were camping inside the cave which is not legal but they did not bother me. There was no wind so it was going to get how there in afternoon. This is a great hike to start out your day. Virtual Treadmill video of this hike can be seen on my YouTube Channel, copy and paste link below to watch it. Thanks. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFO02nxPdM4-CabegFIPlow?view_as=subscriber

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Aaron Mix
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nice walk, half of it is pathed. Dog friendly.

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Rose Jones
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Hiking

Went to visit pismo and looked up a hike to do in the morning. Beautiful views the whole time provided by the ocean, caves, and nearby million dollar houses.

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Jennifer J.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 11, 2018
Hiking

Great hike even for my 11 year old dog and family that don’t hike on a regular basis. Absolutely gorgeous. We began around 10:00am on a Sunday which was perfect before the crowd and heat. This will be our new regular family day hike.

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Kalie Olberding
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Hiking

Beautiful! Loved the cave. I wish people would respect nature and not vandalize it. There is some graffiti on the rocks and in the cave but it was still beautiful being above the ocean on cliffs looking out.

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Michelle Gausepohl
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Easy enough for my 3 & 5 year old, but my husband and I also really enjoyed it. Can’t beat the constant view of the beautiful ocean! My boys loved searching for Pirates treasure :) Just outside the cave to the left you can go down the rocks a bit and you will see a ring in the side of the mountain. We were told this is where the Pirates used to hook their ships. That made it even more fun for my kiddos!

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Benjamin Trinh
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Running
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