Tag Archives: Portuguese Bend

Portuguese Bend Reserve: Rim & Grapevine Loop


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Sunset from the Rim Trail

On the Rim Trail

Portuguese Bend Reserve: Rim & Grapevine Loop

  • Location: Palos Verdes Peninsula between Torrance and San Pedro.  From I-110, take the Anaheim St. exit, head west for about 3/4 of a mile to the five-way intersection and bare left on Palos Verdes Drive North.  Go 3.6 miles and take a left on Crenshaw, and follow it to its end (about 2 miles).  Park on the side of the road at Del Cerro Park.  Alternatively, access Crenshaw Blvd. either from I-405 or Pacific Coast Highway and head south to Del Cerro.
  • Agency: Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy/Portuguese Bend Reserve
  • Distance: 2.5 miles (semi-loop)
  • Elevation gain: 600 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: PG
  • Best season: Year round
  • USGS topo maps: Torrance, San Pedro
  • More information: here
  • Rating: 6
This short loop visits the lightly traveled northeastern corner of the Portuguese Bend Reserve.  Best known for its scenic overlook, the Reserve has a wide variety of trails, and this route combines several of them for a brief but aerobic hike.From the end of Crenshaw, follow the Burma Road Trail downhill, as if you were going to the overlook. When you get to the five-way split at the bottom of the hill by the water tank, take the far left fork, the Fire Station Trail, which heads back uphill.

After a quarter mile, you enter the boundary of the reserve and briefly cross into Rolling Hills Estates. Ignore the trail branching off to the left and stay right, on the Rim Trail. This trail lives up to its name, as it carefully navigates the rim of the big canyon below. Here, you get great views of the ocean.

Stay right again at another trail junction, and soon you arrive at the Grapevine Trail, your return route. Bear left and begin a steep descent, arriving at the Ishibashi Trail, 1.2 miles from the start.

Here you have several choices. You can head left on the Ishibashi Trail and explore the lower area of the reserve. You can head right and follow the Ishibashi Trail back to Burma Road. This route, however, head right on the Ishibashi Trail very briefly and then heads right on the Grapevine Trail. The Grapevine Trail heads uphill steeply, making a few switchbacks, rejoining the Rim Trail in half a mile and completing the loop. From here, you head left on the Rim Trail and retrace your steps to the Fire Station Trail, Burma Road and back to Del Cerro Park.

Text and photography copyright 2011 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

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Upper Filiorum Preserve


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Sunset at the Upper Filiorum Reserve

Rolling hills and greenery in the Upper Filiorum Reserve

Upper Filiorum Preserve

    • Location: Rancho Palos Verdes, off Pacifica Drive.  From I-110, take the Pacific Coast Highway exit.  Head west (right if you’re coming from the north, left if from the south) and go 3 miles.  Take a left on Crenshaw, drive 3.4 miles and take a right on Crest.  Go 0.7 miles, take a left on Highridge, and a quick right on Ocean Terrace.  Take a left on Pacifica, and look for the trail leading between the first two houses on the left side of the street.
    • Agency: Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy/Upper Filiorum Reserve
    • Distance: 4 miles
    • Elevation gain: 1,050 feet
    • Difficulty Rating: PG-13 (Trail condition, steepness, elevation gain)
    • Suggested time: 2 hours
    • Best season:  Year round
    • USGS topo map: San Pedro Hills
    • Recommended gear: sun hat; hiking poles
    • More information: here; Everytrail report here
    • Rating: 7

The 191-acre Upper Filiorum Reserve is the newest property overseen by the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy. Located between the popular Portuguese Bend Reserve and the smaller Three Sisters, the Upper Filorium features deep canyons, steep hills and great ocean views. There are a variety of trails that go through the park, so many routes are possible. The trip described here crosses the preserve and also visits Portuguese Bend. The steep ascents and descents make it one of the most challenging–and scenic–hikes on the Peninsula. The description may make it sound complicated, but it’s actually fairly intuitive, especially if you have a map, and remember that it doesn’t have to be followed exactly to be enjoyable. Two caveats: the hike ends with a big (almost 400 feet) climb, so make sure you save your energy, especially if the day is hot, and also keep an eye out for snakes, especially during the warm season. On a recent trip here, the author encountered two different snakes, the second of which was in the process of trying to swallow a small lizard.

From Pacifica, follow the path between the two houses to the McBride Trail.  Head right and almost immediately turn left and make a long, curving descent, during which you’ll get some great ocean views. At the bottom of the hill, bear right and head toward a knoll known as Jack’s Hat.   Head right again, then left to climb the hill, from which you can enjoy some more views.  Head downhill on a steep, loose fire break, and turn left at an intersection and make your way back to the main trail.  This area is overgrown, so as you’re going through, watch your feet–the Palos Verdes Peninsula is known for its snakes (did I mention that there were snakes?)

When you complete the loop, continue east along the main trail.  You’ll cut through three different canyons, and then you arrive at a split.  The left trail is your return route; head right toward the ocean.  The trail reaches the south edge of the preserve and heads east.  Stay straight as you come to a four-way intersection, go in and out of one more canyon, and then make a climb to reach Burma Road and the Portuguese Bend Reserve.

Here, head left and go uphill for a quarter mile to the Peacock Flats Trail. Take it across the field where it reaches Burma Road again at a small clearing, where there’s a portable restroom. Head uphill (left) on the Burma Road Trail, taking in nice ocean views on one side and getting up close to the Peninsula’s characteristic geology on the other.

At the top of the hill, follow Crenshaw Blvd. past Del Cerro Park, and look for a trail branching off to the left. You head downhill, go through the fence, and access the Rattlesnake Trail. A steep descent brings you back to the Upper Filiorum Preserve, where you’ll head right at the next junction and complete the loop. Retrace your steps back to Pacifica Drive.

Text and photography copyright 2012 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

Portuguese Bend on Palos Verdes Peninsula


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As seen in the Nobody Hikes in L.A. Guidebook!

Catalina Island from Burma Road

Text and photography copyright 2010 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. The author does not take any responsibility for injuries sustained during hikes or walks on the routes described here. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

Portuguese Bend on Palos Verdes Peninsula

  • Location: Palos Verdes Peninsula between Torrance and San Pedro.  From I-110, take the Anaheim St. exit, head west for about 3/4 of a mile to the five-way intersection and bare left on Palos Verdes Drive North.  Go 3.6 miles and take a left on Crenshaw, and follow it to its end (about 2 miles).  Park on the side of the road at Del Cerro Park.  Alternatively, access Crenshaw Blvd. either from I-405 or Pacific Coast Highway and head south to Del Cerro.
  • Agency: City of Racho Palos Verdes (phone: 310-544-5260)
  • Distance: 1.6 miles (semi-loop)
  • Elevation gain: 350 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: G
  • Best season: Year round
  • USGS topo maps: Torrance, San Pedro
  • More information:  here (trip reports from Local Hikes, describing a slightly different route)
  • Rating: 6

It’s easy to assume that there’s no coastal hiking between Santa Monica and Orange County, but there are actually quite a few trails on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.   Probably the easiest access point is from Del Cerro Park in Rancho Palos Verdes.   From the parking area, you head southeast on a fire road, enjoying nice views of the ocean on clear days.  On the left, you will get close-up looks at some interesting marine geology as you make your descent.

After half a mile, you reach a junction where the fire road continues (your return route) and a single-track trail branches off to the right.  Take this trail for about a quarter mile and rejoin the fire road.  Take a left and almost immediately, look for another trail that branches off to the right.  The trail climbs (bare left at a junction) to a viewing area, shaded by pines, where you get the best views of the ocean in the area.

From here, the trail descends back to the fire road.  Bare right onto the road, which curves around the edge of the bluff and returns to the original junction.  Retrace your ascent up to Del Cerro Park.   The climb is short enough that it should be easy for just about anyone, although if you haven’t done much hiking you may find yourself winded at the top.

If you enjoyed this loop, make sure you check out several of the other trails in the Portuguese Bend area.

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