Ontario Ridge to Shell Beach Bluff Trail Loop

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Avila Beach, California

Ontario Ridge to Shell Beach Bluff Trail Loop is a 2.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Avila Beach, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length2.8 miElevation gain744 ftRoute typeLoop
Dogs on leashKid friendlyHikingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingRunningBeachPartially pavedViewsWildflowersWildlifeRockyScramble
Description
Waypoints (1)

Best views around. You get ocean, vineyard, and hill views! It's a hard climb to begin and then it can be rocky, especially on the climb down, requiring a lot of attention of your feet. But the views are worth it!

Weather
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Reviews (209)
Photos (632)
Activities (177)
Completed (979)
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Sonia Singhal
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HikingRocky

extremely steep is one issue. but the trail is made of loose gravel. there were places I sat down and slid to come down. not sure if it's worth the views. the whole valley is lovely enough to see from other places. I think this is a dangerous hike.

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Hannah Tenney
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Hiking

This is an extremely difficult steep hike!!! There should be a danger warning!!!! I started by shell beach and went down off the ridge near pirates cove. Beware of tons of loose gravel. I’ve never seen a drop off on a hiking trail so steep in my entire life. You’d be better off skiing this slope!! I was not prepared for the sudden practically vertical drop and ended up falling super bad coming down the hill. I sprained my ankle and my elbows are extremely scraped up. I will never be hiking this trail ever again. Like yeah... it’s pretty... but absolutely not worth the intense inclines!!! I do not recommend at all!! But if you do go, be extra careful and take it slow! I’m still traumatized from this hike

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Melissa Fowlks
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Hiking

This trail definitely had beautiful scenic vista outlooks. We did the reverse of the trail as the original is very very very steep. Even on the reverse it was steep as well, but in comparison a more gradual continuous incline. Quite a few rock scrambles. It was a gorgeous day and folx were nice on trail lots of dogs as companions. I would not grade this an easy hike, more like moderate with some strenuous pushes here and there

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Shannon Montague
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Hiking

Grew up here, used to play out back when there were horses on the hill. Still beautiful, but its popularity has greatly increased the level of trash :(

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David Duff
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Hiking

The trail is great, but there are certain spots that are difficult. We carried our 1.5 year old in a carrier backpack and it was challenging. The initial incline is very steep and there is some loose gravel which makes it hard. The descent is steep, narrow and has loose gravel as well. Great views, good workout, and fun hike. But , if you struggle with steep hills and loose terrain, then consider another trail.

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Eileen Navarrette
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Hiking

Very good hike

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Andrew McDaniel
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HikingGreat!

The first hill is no joke. After that a few steep sections with phenomenal views as your reward. The second half is tame and partially paved. Took our 5 and 7yo: the climbs were a bit tough but overall it can be done with kids.

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Stephanie Slayton
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Hiking

Very beautiful views but it was a very narrow trail so lots of people going in both directions was tricky

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Kristy Torres
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Hiking

Love this trail.

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Suguey Hernandez
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HikingGreat!

I love this trail! Starting out by pirates cove going up the hill is so intense! I have to take it one step at a time but after that it’s so beautiful!! Really glad this place exists

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Raymond Puettmann
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Hiking

Great trail. Good for a work out. Not a lot of cover, and the initial trail up is very steep. Levels out and nice up and down for the first half and then a very nice finish level to the parking lot.. Great views of the ocean and the surrounding hills.

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Shawn Seamans
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Hiking
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Hannah Hood
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Hiking

we started on the huge incline and it was very difficult. my mom fell on the trail and it was almost all up hill.

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Dave Bertagno
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Hiking

definitely start going right. there's a straight shot up nearly 700 ft with no switchbacks of you start going left. could be rather dangerous. amazing ocean views.

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MD Yang
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beautiful view . There is homeless everywhere at the beginning trial however we didn't start their and detour. FYI start the trail hike backwards it will be easier again it will be easier. I read some review start mention that but didn't consider it until after the whole hike and realize we should've took the reviews seriously. Once you are on top ot the mountain can such much but Breath-taking.

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Jasmine King
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HikingGreat!Muddy

Fantastic views! Really nice little hike. We went right starting the hike with going through a beachfront neighborhood and then got some elevation gain on the trail to the top of the mountain. There are swings up along the ridge, which was fun. The way down was a little steep but manageable.

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Elaine Eselun
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Hiking

Awesome hike!

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S V
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Hiking
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Cecily Furlong
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HikingGreat!

Loved it! Amazing 360 views for most of the hike; the ocean view is incredible. And the difficulty of the full loop is not very high; we did the full loop with our two kiddos and they did great.

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zack cuddy
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On a cool December late morning, it was a perfect hike with spectacular views. I would recommend going left first, up the huge hill which is harder coming down. Then make your way out onto the Ridge trail until it ends, before turning around and coming back via the ridge trail and then the paved streets where the rich folks live. There is a nice sidewalk route and then you connect back up with the trail leading to the parking lot. Bring good shoes as the downhills can be steep.

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Laura Alemán
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Hiking

Amazing hike! Steep beginning, yet it has a few spots to catch your breath. Highly recommend it. Amazing views

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Justin Ryan Houck
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HikingGreat!

Fun trail with a bit of everything! Def intermediate plus. Parked by the 101 in the dirt lot. A few very steep inclines up. Not for beginners or elderly. Once up on the ridge the views are amazing. The way down is dirt and slippery: just take it slow! It is steep!! Leads to the pirate area and the cave. Some real sketchy crackheads there, so we didn’t stay. We walked back through the neighborhood with lovely ocean front homes. Total length was over 3.0miles and took us 1:40 with lots of picture stops. I did the hike w my basenji and he loved it too! Highly recommend if you can handle the few steep parts!!

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shaun s
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first of all, we went in october so views were out of the question but we just wanted some excercise. the parking lot for this place is kinda sketchy, abandoned cars and a few tweakers milling about. we even questioned if we should leave our car for fear of someone breaking into it. there are even people living in campers up here. not camping, living. anyway, we started the hike but decided to change course and went down the beach trail to a cave. easy little trail. Tons of liter. I guess the views must be insane during clear weather because the tranisents alone were enough for us to not really like it.

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Elizabeth Dorian
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Hiking

Gorgeous views, moderately trafficked depending time of day, great hike

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Kristin Moreira
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Hiking

Best views around. You get ocean, vineyard, and hill views. This direction is definitely the way to go, believe it or not. The downhill would be sketch the other direction.

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Laura Nathlich
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Hiking

Hard hard climb to begin and then first half is rocky and requires lots of attention of your feet. Not my favorite hike - views were great though. Liked the last 1/2 the best!

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Kelly Carpenter
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Hiking

I love this trail. This is the one that started it all for me six months ago when I first got back into hiking again after several years hardly doing any hikes at all. The last time I did this trail I started at the east end right off the freeway at the Avila Beach exit. I started from the little parking lot there and then went up the ridge to the top and then went back down the way I came. This time I started at the dirt parking lot at Pirate’s Cove and went up the hard part first and then back down around the shell beach loop. The first eighth of a mile or so give or take kicked my ass because it’s basically straight uphill. But once I got that over with the rest of the hike was pretty mellow. This hike was pretty short and easy compared to the ones I’ve been doing lately. But it’s still a great trail with an awesome view at the top.

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Willy Diaz
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Hiking

Awesome trail definitely coming back!

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Julie Elkin
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Hiking

I loved the trail. My dog will stay home next time. A bit to hot and steep for her little legs.

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