George F Canyon Preserve, Rancho Palos Verdes

George F Canyon Preserve

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  • Location: Rancho Palos Verdes. From Hermosa Beach, take Pacific Coast Highway south for 7 miles and take a right on Narbonne, which becomes Palos Verdes Drive East. After 1.4 miles (just past the intersection with Palos Verdes Drive North), look for the Nature Center on the right side of the street. From the I-110 freeway, take the Anaheim St. exit and go west for 1.1 miles.  Take a slight left onto Palos Verdes  Drive North (not the hard left onto Gaffey), go 1.7 miles and take a left on Palos Verdes Drive East and park in the lot for the Nature Center. Although the Nature Center’s hours are limited, the trails are open dawn to dusk.
  • Agency: City of Rolling Hills Estates/Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy
  • Distance: 2.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 500 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: PG
  • Suggested time: 1.5 hours
  • Best season: Year round
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash
  • Cell phone reception: Good for most of the route; weak to fair in some spots
  • Water: Fountain at the information board on the nature rail
  • Restrooms: Available at the trail head
  • Camping/backpacking: None
  • Recommended gear: insect repellent; hiking poles
  • More information: Yelp page here; Bring Fido page here
  • Rating: 4

Updated November 2018

Nestled in a rural residential neighborhood on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Geroge F Canyon Nature Preserve is a perennial favorite destination for local hikers, dog walkers, school groups and scouts. After a peaceful ramble through the canyon, the trail makes a short but steep climb to a vista point with panoramic views of the L.A. basin.

From the nature center, follow the trail past the demonstration garden to the Stein-Hale Nature Trail, the main route through the preserve. It follows a seasonal stream along the canyon floor, through a riparian habitat of willows and coastal sage scrub. There are a few viewing decks and benches. About half a mile from the start, you cross a footbridge. Soon after, the trail begins a steady ascent to a view point, about 0.8 mile from the start. This is the end of the official trail, although many people venture beyond and are rewarded with even better views.

The now unofficial trail continues to a clearing in another 0.1 mile to a clearing with views of the South Bay, Long Beach and if visibility is good, the San Gabriels and Santa Anas. This is a popular turnaround spot, but you can go even higher. On the south side of the clearing, a less-than-inviting looking use trail heads uphill. (The more obvious trail leading away from the clearing goes to residential Chaparral Lane.) The trail climbs steeply to a sloping meadow, cuts across the hillside and makes a final push to Bronco Drive – gaining almost 200 feet in 0.2 mile. This trail is unmaintained and often overgrown.

From Bronco, you can enjoy another panoramic view including the clearing below. Return via the same route, exercising caution on the steep and loose descent.

George F Canyon Preserve, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Start of the trail by the nature center
George F Canyon Preserve, Rancho Palos Verdes
Bench on the Stein-Hale Trail
George F Canyon Preserve, Rancho Palos Verdes
Willows and toyon in the canyon
George F Canyon Preserve
Footbridge in the canyon
George F Canyon Preserve, Rancho Palos Verdes
Vista point, end of the “official” trail
George F Canyon Preserve, Rancho Palos Verdes
Use trail to Bronco Drive
George F Canyon, Rancho Palos Verdes
View from Bronco Drive
George F Canyon Preserve, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Starting the descent from Bronco Drive

Text and photography copyright 2018 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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