Monday, December 2, 2013


60 Hikes in 60 Miles in 60 Weeks: Week Fourteen
Montara Mountain
Brooks Falls Trail sweeps through coastal scrub in the shadow of Montara Mountain

What it's like:
Start at this Pacifica trailhead and look south -- the mountain peak looming above you is your destination! This balloon hike is just under 7 miles and most of the hiking is pleasantly paced. Montara Mountain Fire Road has some short and steep segments.

Why now:
Manzanitas are beginning to bloom, filling the hillsides with sweet perfumed air. After a few days of heavy rain Brooks Falls cascades down a sheer mountain side and spawning steelhead trout may be spotted in San Pedro Creek (but even if it hasn't rained this is a lovely hike).

If you can't make it this week:
Manzanitas bloom through February most years. Up on the high slopes of the mountain look for solid wildflower displays from late winter to summer, including the rare San Francisco wallflower blooming from late March-early April. I adore Montara Mountain and hike here year round.

Insider tip:
It's easy to shorten this hike by omitting the out and back segment to the mountain top. At the junction with Brooks Falls Trail, turn left and follow the directions from this point.

Montara Mountain is hike number 44 in 60 Hikes in 60 Miles: San Francisco (third edition). Read about this hike on BAHiker.

Alternate choice:
Carson Falls. It's not hard to hike all the major waterfalls (at their watery best) in the bay area, but you've got to pace yourself and  make a plan of attack. Carson Falls, on the slopes of Marin's Pine Mountain, starts running early in our rainy season. The hike to the falls and back is under 3 miles but there are some steep stretches on the initial ascent -- most likely you will feel like you've had a decent hike rather than an easy stroll. Manzanitas and ceanothuses should be starting to bloom this month.

Post your comments and experiences here or on the BAHiker Facebook page.

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