As seen in the Nobody Hikes in L.A. Guidebook!
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 bear 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 where available, noting posted restrictions. 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.