Hike Date: July 16, 2009
Distance: ~ 7 miles
Trail(s): Mori Ridge Trail, Sweeney Ridge Trail
Where’s it at? Pacifica, CA. Can park at Shelldance Nursery


The Sweeney Ridge can be reached from a few trailheads. On my adventure I parked at the Shelldance Nursery and hiked the Mori Ridge Trail til it met the Sweeney Ridge Trail, and then hiked the Sweeney Ridge Trail to the Portola Gate which is as far as you can take it without reservations.

The trail starts out pretty steep and wide open to the sun. I’d suggest going on a cooler day as it can get pretty hot and dusty in the summer months, though coastal breezes can also be common. Bring layers. The trail flattens out quite a bit at the top.

The views are great at the summit, with no trees blocking the view you can see much of the San Francisco Bay and coastline of Pacifica, Daly City, and San Francisco. You can see San Bruno Mountain, Mt. Diablo, and Mt. Tamalpais when it’s clear. The only peninsula view that is greater, in my personal opinion, is Mount Montara which is also viewable from Sweeney Ridge, at a higher elevation.

Along the trail you pass by some old Nike Missile Sites which are fairly interesting, and when I visited they were wide open in the sense that you could explore inside the buildings. It does appear to have served as a homeless shelter somewhere along the way.

Further still you come across a monument titled the “Bay Area Discovery Site” which is apparently where the San Francisco was first discovered by explorers.

Definitely bring your own water and note that the place has no bathrooms or spigots, or really much of any technology other than the missile sites and monument. There is a fair amount of poison oak visible, and again, you should wear layers depending on what time of year you visit.

Photos from Sweeney Ridge (click to enlarge)

Hiking on Sweeney Ridge in Pacifica CA Hiking on Sweeney Ridge in Pacifica CA Hiking on Sweeney Ridge in Pacifica CA
Hiking on Sweeney Ridge in Pacifica CA Hiking on Sweeney Ridge in Pacifica CA Hiking on Sweeney Ridge in Pacifica CA
Hiking on Sweeney Ridge in Pacifica CA Hiking on Sweeney Ridge in Pacifica CA Hiking on Sweeney Ridge in Pacifica CA
Hiking on Sweeney Ridge in Pacifica CA Hiking on Sweeney Ridge in Pacifica CA Hiking on Sweeney Ridge in Pacifica CA
Hiking on Sweeney Ridge in Pacifica CA Hiking on Sweeney Ridge in Pacifica CA Hiking on Sweeney Ridge in Pacifica CA

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