Just south of Pillar Point Harbor and Surfers’ Beach in Half Moon Bay, there is a gorgeous, undeveloped 15-acre bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Walk, stroll or jog along the California Coastal Trail, a multi-purpose path that runs the length of the bluff top, and you will see surfers catching waves, families frolicking on the beach and some of the many species of birds that call this area home. Bicyclists and equestrians are welcome — and bring your pup, too! Dogs are allowed on all Mirada Surf trails, as long as they remain on leash.
Highway 1 splits Mirada Surf which continues to the east with an additional 34 acres and a trail that connects to Quarry Park. Quarry Park is another San Mateo County Park located in the community of El Granada.
Mirada Surf is a scenic and relaxing place to visit. Benches for sea-gazing are scattered along the trail and there are a few picnic tables for those looking to share a meal with a spectacular view. A public restroom and bike fix-it station are located at Magellan Avenue.
The Mirada Surf bluff top features coastal scrub wetlands and grasslands that provide an ideal habitat for all sorts of birds and other wildlife.
Mirada Surf was once known as the east and west El Granada parcels which came into being in 1906 with the Burnham Plan for the town-site of El Granada. El Granada is the only city or town in the United States that saw famed urban planner Daniel Burnham’s dream of a unique street design become reality.
The Burnham Plan of 1906 shows the east El Granada parcel as railroad serving and then in 1910 as being reserved for a car shop and power house. For about a decade, the route of the Ocean Shore Railroad split the parcels, but the portion of the railway between El Granada and Swanton (north of Santa Cruz) was never completed and by 1920 this troubled railroad was losing thousands of dollars annually and was put out of service.
The main road, Mirada Road, ran along the bluffs until the late 1960s when part of it fell into the Pacific Ocean as a result of shoreline erosion. The east and west El Granada parcels were split again in 1949 when Highway 1 was developed.
For years, these parcels were used for cattle grazing and then farming of hay, red oats and artichokes. The Mid-Coast Community Plan designated the land as a park in 1978, but that did not stop a series of proposals threatening to develop this scenic open space corridor. In 1990, the Mirada Surf Conceptual Plan proposed 86 homes and a motel with a restaurant, shops and a parking lot for 250 cars on the site. A second plan called for turning the parcels into an RV park with a restaurant, store, driving range and parking lot. Neither plan made it out of the San Mateo County Planning Commission as coastal residents were not keen on seeing this undeveloped bluff-top with gorgeous views developed with intense uses.
In 2003, a San Mateo County Parks Foundation-secured grant of $1.6 million funds acquisition and planning of Mirada Surf as a county park.