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Bates Road Railroad & Rincon Tidepools

Bates Road Railroad & Rincon Tidepools

From the same parking lot, you can hover high above the ocean with the paragliders where trains whiz past, or you can crouch close to a sea anemone and watch its tentacles flail about and suddenly contract when unsuspecting prey happens along.

The short footpath (about a quarter mile) from the north end of the upper parking lot follows the edge of the cliff with non-stop sweeping beach views until it ends at the train tracks. There isn’t a crossing nearby, so beware of fast-moving trains and stay clear of the tracks. You’re likely to see lots of skittish bunny rabbits and lizards near your feet, but look up once in a while, since you’re under a paragliding launch spot!

Rincon Point is our favorite place for tidepooling when the tide is out and we can take a peek at all of the sea anemones, muscles, shells and other life. Make sure you reach the point at least 30 minutes before that day’s low tide. Water shoes are advisable to protect your feet from tar and sharp shells – but they won’t make the rocks any less slippery!


From the freeway underpass, turn right to the upper parking lot to reach the train footpath. If the many spots up there are taken, backtrack to the parking lot on the left from the underpass.