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Rancho Corral de Tierra – Spine Trail Information

This unmistakable landmark along Highway 1 harbors one-of-a-kind flora and fauna on 4,262 acres of steep, rugged terrain.

Watch for:

Threatened, rare and endangered plants and animals, including Hickman's cinquefoil, Montara manzanita, San Francisco garter snakes and the Montara blue bush lupine.

Hiking Details for Rancho Corral de Tierra

Distance: 4 miles round trip

Elevation change: 3,590′

Hiking time: 4 hours

Trail surface: Packed dirt

Best Season: All year

Managing agency: National Park Service

Parking lot location: Click here for directions

Overview: Less than 10 miles from San Francisco, the 4,262-acre Rancho Corral de Tierra offers awe-inspiring ocean views, habitat for several endangered species, vital watersheds, and rich farmland.

There is no designated parking lot for this hike but there is ample parking off the side of the road at the junction of Etheldore Street and Ranch Road. Be sure to park with all four wheels off the street pavement.

From the parking area, climb Ranch Road past the Ember Ridge Equestrian Center. Navigating this section of the trail is notoriously confusing and we suggest following along as best you can with a smartphone or GPS device (see map below for reference). Behind the equestrian buildings, continue onto the ridge and follow the Spine Trail for four miles out-and-back (or further if you’re feeling up to it). With 1,500 feet of elevation, this hike can take you above the fog and on a clear day, you can see POST-protected Pillar Point in Half Moon Bay. Pack a windbreaker and sunscreen as the hike is exposed and can get breezy!

Directions to Rancho Corral de Tierra – Spine Trail

Headed south on Highway 1, turn left on Etheldore Street just south of Moss Beach, CA. Follow Etheldore Street for .2 miles and park on the side of the road close to the junction of Ranch Road.

About the Rancho Corral de Tierra Property

This natural gem was slotted for development into large estate residences until POST intervened.  POST bought the land from 2001 – 2003 and sold almost 4,000 acres to the National Park Service in 2011. The remaining acres continue to be used by a small farm operation. Rancho Corral de Tierra is now the southern gateway to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

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