July 3, 2010

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

Our next hike of the holiday weekend was a short one at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. The reserve is located on the San Mateo County coast in Moss Beach, California. It was established in 1969 to protect the marine plant and animal species in the area. There is a small visitor center and a parking lot at the reserve. No entrance or parking fee. From the parking lot you can walk down to the beach and tidepools area or you can head a few feet south to the Coastal Trail, which is a cliff-top dirt trail that follows the coastline. At lowtide you can enjoy the tidepools or walk 2.5 miles along the beach down to Pillar Point in Half Moon Bay. The Coastal trail takes you about half a mile to another beach access point. We happened to be at the reserve at near high tide so we decided to skip the tide pools this time and enjoy the coastline views instead. The trail was fairly flat and the views did not disappoint. We were able to get great coastal views and saw the sea lions well from above. We realized that the beach itself had areas that were roped off so that people would keep their distance from the sea lions so had we wanted to we would not have been able to complete the 2.5 mile hike to Pillar Point along the beach. The traffic on the trail was moderate. We saw some amazingly colorful flowers and even some bees at work! We spent about 45 minutes on the one mile roundtrip hike before heading down to the beach to relax before ending the day.