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.
George F Canyon Preserve
- 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: Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy
- Distance: 1.5 miles
- Elevation gain: 300 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 1 hour
- Best season: All year
- USGS topo maps: “Torrance”
- Recommended gear: insect repellent
- More information: here
- Rating: 3
The Palos Verdes Peninsula’s George F Canyon Preserve reminds me of Larry the Cable Guy’s comedy bit about the name of a school. “Is it Hank Williams Junior High School,” he wanted to know, “Or Hank Williams, Jr. High School?” Likewise, I wonder if this preserve is a canyon named for a certain George F, or if it is named after someone with the handle of George F. Canyon.
Either way, the George F Canyon Preserve is a quiet little getaway in the Palos Verdes Hills, perhaps better known by equestrians than hikers. On my trip there, the count was four equestrians and one hiker (including myself). The noise from Palos Verdes Drive East follows you for the first few minutes, but once you get into the canyon itself, it’s pleasantly quiet.
From the nature center, follow the signed trail as it dips into the canyon, and then ascends, merging with another trail before heading southwest. After following the canyon (and seasonal stream), the trail begins a surprisingly vigorous ascent, curving back to the east before arriving at a view point, where Baldy can be seen on clear days. Although a sign indicates that this is the end of the trail, you can actually continue your ascent to a residential street a little ways above.