Former stretch of coastal highway to reopen as San Mateo County park 

A 1.3-mile stretch of coastal highway formerly known for its harrowing curves and weather-related closures is about to open as San Mateo County’s newest public park.

Devil’s Slide Coastal Trail, which runs hundreds of feet above the Pacific Ocean from the southern end of Pacifica to Montara, is scheduled to open to the public at 1 p.m. Thursday, according to the San Mateo County Parks Department.

The abandoned piece of state Highway 1 — made obsolete when the Tom Lantos Memorial Tunnels opened to traffic last year — was given a $2 million makeover over the past year to accommodate hikers, bikers, equestrians and birdwatchers along a remote and undeveloped stretch of the California coast.

The roadway was resurfaced and three scenic overlooks with observation scopes were installed, along with informational placards that describe some of the rich bird life, marine life, geology and historical points of interest in the park.

San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley, whose district includes Devil’s Slide, called the cliff-side trail “breathtaking” and said its location offers Bay Area residents unique foot access to a formerly treacherous bit of roadway.

“This is a great opportunity for people to come out and explore the trail and take in the views that drivers in the past wish they could have glimpsed but didn’t dare,” Horsley said.

Parking at the trail is limited, and visitors are encouraged to carpool.

A 17-space parking lot on the northern end of trail closest to Pacifica can only be entered from southbound Highway 1. A 24-space lot on the southern end near Montara is accessible from north- and southbound Highway 1. Both lots have toilets. No motorized vehicles of any kind are allowed on the trail. Dogs are permitted when on a 6-foot leash.

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