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California State Parks

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USA Parks
San Francisco Bay Area Region
Thornton Beach State Park
Valley Quail ©
Valley Quail
Picnic Table ©
It is always a great day for a picnic in the park.
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Thornton Beach State Park is a serene, picturesque coastal park offering stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. It features rugged cliffs and sandy beaches perfect for hiking, picnicking or simply enjoying nature's beauty. The area also boasts diverse wildlife including various bird species making it an ideal spot for birdwatching enthusiasts. Despite its closure due to landslides years ago, visitors can still access parts of this beautiful location through nearby parks like Fort Funston and Daly City's Thornton State Beach.

History of the Area
Located in Daly City, California, this park was once a popular seaside destination. It opened to the public around 1955. The area is named after Stephen Thornton who owned much of the land there.

In 1983, due to unstable cliffs and landslides that made it unsafe for visitors, most parts were closed off by authorities. However some areas remained accessible like hiking trails leading down towards beachfronts.

The site has been managed under different entities over time including San Mateo County Parks Department and State Coastal Conservancy before being taken over by California's state parks system.

Today it remains largely undeveloped but still offers stunning views along its rugged coastline with limited access points available for hikers or nature enthusiasts seeking solitude amidst natural beauty.

- Thornton Beach Overlook Trail: A short 0.2-mile trail offering panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding landscapes.

- Coastal Bluff Loop: This is a moderate, 1.5-mile loop that takes hikers through coastal scrub vegetation with ocean vistas.

- Daisaku Ikeda Canyon Trail: An easy half mile walk along an old road bed in a deep canyon filled with lush ferns and towering eucalyptus trees.

- San Andreas Fault Interpretive Loop: A one mile round trip hike on flat terrain providing information about the geology of the area including signs explaining seismic activity related to this fault line.

-Thornton State Beach Horse Trails : These are multi-use trails open for horseback riding as well as hiking; length varies depending upon chosen route but can extend up to three miles long.

-Northridge City View Point Pathway : Roughly two miles out-and-back path leading towards stunning cityscape view points from atop Northridge Hill within park boundaries

-South Ridge Scenic Drive Walkway : Paved pathway stretching approximately four miles alongside South Ridge scenic drive, suitable for casual walks or runs while enjoying sweeping sea views

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Area Campgrounds
Candlestick RV Park
650 Gilman Avenue
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco RV Resort
700 Palmetto Avenue
Pacifica, CA
Nearby Hotels

In Daly City, at the end of Thornton Beach Road. Follow John Daly Boulevard west from Interstate 280 across Skyline Boulevard into Thornton State Beach. From Skyline Boulevard, turn west at the intersection with John Daly Boulevard into Thornton State Beach. From the parking area or the stables, proceed to the dunes on old Thornton Beach Road. The Bay Area Ridge Trail begins where the road meets the dunes.

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California State Parks