This community of around 3,000 people looks & feels like what you would expect from a small, beautiful, remote coastal town. It was founded around the turn of the 20th century on a portion El Rancho Corral de Tierra, an old land grant, by Harr Wagner, a San Francisco publisher. It’s only a 20-mile commute south of San Francisco, and especially since the Devil’s Slide tunnel has been completed, Montara is much more convenient for residents who work to the north.
Point Montara Light House
To the south of town is a stunning old light house and several small beaches. This rugged and dramatic setting now serves as the Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel. Here, you can walk around the historic lighthouse grounds, established in 1875 after more than 90 vessels had run aground. Take some time to investigate the small hidden beach cove below, with its interesting rock pools. Enjoy some time sitting on the bluff bench overlooking the ocean. During the right time of year, from around December through May, you may even see whales offshore as they migrate from the Arctic to Baja and back.
Montara State Beach
Just to the north of town is a lovely state beach. Dogs are allowed on leash, and there are volleyball nets for beach volleyball games. At the south end of the beac,h you can climb up a steep narrow path to an area where you can enjoy the beautiful natural beauty of the coast. Whale Cove State Beach is about a mile further north of Montara. Across the highway from this beach is Gray Whale Cove Trail, one of the best short hikes on the coast, as it offers a wonderful vantage point for whale watching. If you’re in for a longer hike, you can start at the parking lot to take the spectacular 8-mile round trip Montara Mountain Hike to the summit as well. This mountain boasts several rare and endangered plant species, and spectacular views as far as San Fransisco on clear days. On the north side of town at the north end of LeConte Ave is a trail head entering the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and McNee Ranch State Park a little further north. Montara is a great place for hiking and enjoying the outdoors.