HILLS & HOPS - Filming on Montara, Part 2

It's hard to believe that we hadn't tackled one of the most fog-haunted and scenic hills on The Circle circuit in 13 months. So what's the harm in hiking this breathtaking oceanside beauty two weeks in a row?

After getting the film crew familiar with the ways of The Circle last weekend on the steady slopes of Montara Mountain, we continue filming for the debut episode of our upcoming weekly TV series, Hills & Hops, in the same location on Sunday.

As we embark on our mission to spread the word about the Bay Area's world-class regional and state parks to a wider audience, we'll wrap up the filming for our inaugural show on the same mountain on which my 2015 memoir, "Climb. Descend. Repeat." begins and ends. Read the first three chapters here.

Before RSVPing, please be aware that everyone on filmed hikes will have to sign a release allowing Brirish Productions to use your image in the show. But fear not; this is going to be big fun. After getting acclimated, you won't even know that the cameras are there.

If you find yourself on our Waiting List, read this to pass the time.

THE STATS

LENGTH: 6.8 miles (round trip)

VERTICAL GAIN: 1,774 feet.

TYPE OF HIKE: Out-and-back, with the preponderance of the trail on fire roads. This hike is totally exposed to the elements.

PLANNED STOPS: The camera will introduce a new element to the hike, so we may be stopping to film stand-ups at various locations. But we'll do everything in our power not to slow down the pace. Our planned stop is for a 25-minute lunch near the peak (pictured above from our mid-year 2013 Montara hike).

TIME ESTIMATE (WITH STOPS): 3.75 hours.

THE DRIVE

From the north: From Highway 280 in San Francisco/Daly City, exit at Highway 1, drive through Pacifica and through the recently opened Devil's Slide Tunnel. The 30-car parking lot will be on the left after emerging from the tunnel:

From the south: From Highway 92 on the Peninsula, turn right at Highway 1 in Half Moon Bay and drive 9 miles - through HMB, El Granada, Moss Beach and Montara. The 30-car parking lot will be on your right. NOTE: This is not Montara State Beach (which you'll pass).

THE HIKE

Montara Mountain rises above breathtaking Gray Whale Cove and the dramatic stretch of ocean between Pacifica and Moss Beach. It's just south of California's newest feat of engineering -- the 4,200-foot Devil's Slide Tunnel, which opened in March 2013 after six years of construction.

Our hike climbs steadily above the Pacific, at first on a crumbling, easy-grade ranch road, then, when the mountain reaches its steepest stretch, along a wide fire road that's perfect for walking astride your fellow Trustees. It’s here that you’ll be encountered, up-close and personal, by hawks, seabirds and the occasional condor -- many of them seemingly motionless in Montara's competing crosswinds.

But Montara's trademark is fog, dramatic and swift, moving at speeds that can be disconcerting and exhilarating -- making hikers feel as if they've taken wing. It's entirely possible to start the hike in glistening sun, be overrun by renegade, pea-soup fog in mid-mountain and then be basting in the sun's rays again at the top. It gives Montara a personality unique among Bay Area hikes.

The entire route consists of jaw-dropping ocean views ... although the peak, straddled by a fenced power plant, is a bit anti-climatic. No matter. It'll probably be shrouded in fog.

THE BEER

In The Circle of Trust & Beer, we seek two things: awesome locations and awesome beer. And The Half Moon Bay Brewing Company scores an A+ in both categories.

So, despite the fact that we hit HMBBC last month after our Purisma hike, we could think of no better place to kick off the beer segment on our debut episode of Hills & Hops, our weekly TV series featuring the best of Bay Area hikes and post-hike watering holes.

Go ahead. Start salivating about that beer now.

Who's In?

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  • Drew

    Good times. Coulda used a helping hand getting outta bed this morning ;-)

    4 · August 11

    • Atina

      A few of us migrated to the bar and danced until the band stopped (9pm) ...

      1 · August 11

    • Eric Mongo R.

      We basically added 2 dancing miles to our 8 hiking miles and thus are way cooler than you ;)

      August 12

  • Kelly

    I had a great time!

    1 · August 11

  • Eric Mongo R.

    I can't feel my legs

    2 · August 10

  • Dan B.

    Good; nice hike; good pace; good company

    4 · August 10

  • Soubhik

    I just got confirmation for the hike (from the waiting list). Can anyone share the GPS coordinates of the trailhead? Thanks

    August 10

    • Randy P.

      We park and meet in the Gray Whale Cove parking lot on hiway 1. This is where you'll find the trailhead. Look for a big group of people with backpacks. Just as an FYI for anyone heading south on Hiway 1, there is construction near Linda Mar (before tunnel), so allow an extra 10 minutes for traffic delays.

      August 10

    • Soubhik

      Hi Randy. I see that you live in San Bruno as well. Can I carpool with you if you have space in your car that is? Thanks

      August 10

  • Eric Mongo R.

    carpool? coming from the Caldecott Tunnel-Oakland-Berkeley area[masked]

    August 6

    • Kelly

      I'm about a minute away

      August 10

    • Sissy

      Cool ;)

      August 10

  • Cyndi

    not feeling well this eve... hate to miss out on the celebration, but better take a pass.

    August 9

    • Ben

      I hope to see you in a future hike. I'm sorry the lapse in communication about the carpool.

      August 10

  • Lauren R.

    Coming from Dublin/Pleasanton area if anyone wants to carpool! If I don't get takers by 0900 then I'll assume no

    August 10

  • Brian H.

    I'm leaving from Alameda/Downtown Oakland area and have plenty of room -- but I have to be there 90 minutes early for taping (you can hang out on the beach at Gray Whale Cove). If you don't mind leaving at 9:45, I'll be happy to drive. (510)[masked]

    1 · August 8

    • Johnno

      Jesus juice a-plenty

      August 8

    • Lauren R.

      Johnno I can meet you in San Jose you're on my way if you don't want to leave 90mon early. [masked]

      August 10

  • Ben

    Is anyone interested in carpooling from del Norte or Richmond area?

    August 7

    • Ben

      Cyndi, I'm sorry I missed your message today. I was out all day in a hike

      August 10

    • Ben

      Kevin, yes. I'll give you a call tomorrow morning

      August 10

  • David

    I'm sorry I have to bow out. I'm still not well yet :/

    August 9

  • Owen E

    Anyone driving from the peninsula able to car pool? I'm looking for a ride. [masked]

    August 8

    • Dan B.

      Cool. Thanks Emily.

      August 9

    • Owen E

      Thanks Emily, see you guys tomorrow.

      August 9

  • Laura D.

    OOPs - need to head to SF after hiking - so will not be able to car pool. See you at the trail head

    August 9

  • Laura D.

    Jen- can you bring the sunglasses I left at Brian's on July 4? thanks!!

    August 9

  • Laura D.

    Hi - just saw that I moved from wait to going and looking for Car pooling from Oakland. Just left a comment for Eric

    August 9

  • Lisa

    Bummer…some things have come up and I will not be able to make the hike tomorrow. Enjoy everyone, it looks like a gorgeous spot!

    August 9

  • Cyndi

    anybody coming from Marin?? carpool??
    or SF??

    August 4

    • Cyndi

      Where r u in sf??

      August 8

    • Lili J.

      I'm on Russian Hill. We ca n meet somewhere that works for you but we should avoid GG park\19th because of the festival.

      August 9

  • Michael P.

    Are any of you fine specimens passing through (or, near) the Menlo Park area on the way to Montara and open to carpooling?

    August 8

  • Phoenix

    I'm giving up my space so others can get in. I've been on TV before and I wanna give chance to others so they can be discovered & have their 15 minutes of fame.

    August 7

  • Lauren R.

    Just got bumped up from the wait list! *fist pump into the air*

    1 · August 3

  • Stephanie

    Came across a ticket to Outside Lands that I can't pass up. Hope to make the next hike.

    August 3

  • B M.

    We are heading back from Arnold and we will just show up at the HMB Brewery.

    August 3

  • SK

    Ooooh!
    I missed today's hike. I should check my personl email more often.
    Happy hiking everyone!

    August 2

  • Phoenix

    I'm ready for my shoot LOL =) This is like, "The Hills"!!!

    August 1

  • Drew

    Might have to take Hwy 280 route for my "virgin excursion" through the tunnel. Ha.

    July 31

31 went

  • Brian H.
    81-HIKE VETERAN/24 Semi-Circles, Organizer
    Event Host
  • Harshal
    19-HIKE VETERAN/4 Semi-Circles (PBR: 22)
  • Jen
    22-HIKE VETERAN/4 Semi-Circles (PBR: 20)
  • Jordan D.
    FOUR-RUNNER
  • Atina
    14-HIKE VETERAN/5 Semi-Circles (PBR: 37)
  • Randy P.
    41-HIKE VETERAN/13 Semi-Circles (PBR: 3)
  • Laura D.
    MASTER OF SIX/1 Semi-Circle (PBR: 84)
  • kevin j.
    THREE-PEATER/2 Semi-Circles (2015: 2 Hikes/2 Semis)
  • Lauren R.
    HIGH-FIVER/1 Semi-Circle (PBR: 94)
  • SK
    HIGH-FIVER/2 Semi-Circles (PBR: 92)
  • Katie S.
    ONE-HIKE WONDER
  • Michael P.
    11-HIKE VETERAN/1 SEMI-CIRCLE (PBR: 53)
  • Carl
    MASTER OF SIX/1 SEMI-CIRCLE (PBR: 83)
  • Lili J.
    SEVEN-UPPER (PBR: 87)
  • Soubhik
    ONE-HIKE WONDER
  • Jorge
    20-HIKE VETERAN/8 Semi-Circles (PBR: 21)
  • Emily
    11-HIKE VETERAN/3 SEMI-CIRCLES (PBR: 59)
  • James
    29-HIKE VETERAN/10 Semi-Circles (PBR: 6)
  • Owen E
    16-HIKE VETERAN/5 Semi-Circles (PBR: 36)
  • Johnno
    24-HIKE VETERAN/6 Semi-Circles (PBR: 16)
  • Janet
    20-HIKE VETERAN/4 SEMI-CIRCLES (PBR: 25)
  • Calen J.
    FOUR-RUNNER
  • Drew
    26-HIKE VETERAN/9 Semi-Circles (PBR: 13)
  • diane
    29-HIKE VETERAN/6 Semi-Circles (PBR: 7)
  • Kelly
    DIVINE-NINER/2 Semi-Circles (PBR: 62)
  • Eric Mongo R.
    ONE-HIKE WONDER
  • Sissy
    DIVINE-NINER/3 Semi-Circles (PBR: 60)
  • Dan B.
    GRRR-EIGHT!/4 Semi-Circles (PBR: 67)
  • Michael G.
    THREE-PEATER
  • Mariah R.
    THREE-PEATER
  • Ben
    44-HIKE VETERAN /16 Semi-Circles (PBR: 1)

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