Rockaway Beach via Calera Creek Path, Pacifica, California
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Location: Calera Creek parking lot near Calera Creek Water Recycling facility, Vallemar area of Pacifica, to Rockaway Beach overview area above parking lot at end of Old County Road.
Starting Point: Calera Creek parking lot, west side of Cabrillo Hwy/Highway1, intersection with Reina Del Mar Ave., Vallemar area of Pacifica
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Measured as a straight shot down Highway1, this is less than a mile, but with the twists and turns in the pathway along Caleras Creek to the Rockaway Beach front, this is maybe a little over 1.2 miles one way, making for approximately a 2.5 mile loop.
• Bathrooms are not available at the Calera Creek parking area off Reina Del Mar Ave.
• There are bathrooms at the parking lot by Rockaway Beach.
• The Calera Creek pathway is a popular dog walking area, often off leash.
• The Calera Creek parking lot has limited parking. When that end is full, we continue down Highway1 and start our walk from the Rockaway Beach area parking lot, doing a reverse loop.
• Though full of natural scenery, this walk has more of a suburban/town feel than most of the hikes noted in hikingautism.com.
This quirky little patchwork walk is one of our favorite nearby destinations when we want to get out and see a variety of scenery, but don’t have the energy for a long drive or a challenging hike.
Starting at the Calera Creek parking area west of the intersection of Highway 1 and Reina Del Mar Ave., a metal gate opens onto a paved path that meanders past a community garden along the creek. The path, frequented by bicyclists and dog walkers as well as people just out for a stroll, has a wide open field on one side, with rolling mountains in view across the highway.
Cliffs rise up on the ocean side, and the path ends at a parking lot by Pacifica Beach View Park. The view to the south is dramatic, often including surfers catching waves on cove-like Rockaway Beach. Rockaway Beach Trail is a paved path with the ocean on one side, and the Rockaway business area of Pacifica on the other side.
A walk through a long parking lot leads toward Rockaway Beach proper. We often climb the short drop down to the beach over the rocks at the end of the parking lot, but there is also a little pedestrian bridge a little further in.
There is a bathroom facility at the far end of the beach area parking lot. Looking up the hill, there is a zigzag/switchback paved path frequented by walkers, runners, bikers, and people pushing baby strollers. Benches dot each tier level and make for great viewing spots looking north.
You can return by the same path, but we usually cut back through the business section, taking Nick Gust Way which becomes Dondee Street. Take a left turn on San Marlo Way, and then a right back to the Calera Creek path toward the origin point.
Rather than take the paved path on the way back, though, we often veer right into the fields and paths which cut through high grass. White tufted plants blow in the wind, a view of the mountains to the east. Head north on the grassy paths to return to the parking lot starting point.
The only word of warning when taking the back fields back is that during rainy season, you may find yourself ankle deep in water and mud.
(Rockaway Beach via Calera Creek Path Hike Notes were originally paired with the “Close Comfort” Insights post.)
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