Cellular Service Difficulty G Distance 0 to 2 miles Dogs allowed Hikes with free parking Rating: 1-3 Season: All year South Bay/Long Beach/West Side

Sunrise & Sunset Trails, Ocean Trails Reserve

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Geology on the Palos Verdes coastline at the bottom of the Sunrise Trail
Geology on the Palos Verdes coastline at the bottom of the Sunrise Trail

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.

  • Location: Palos Verdes Peninsula.  From I-110 in San Pedro, take a left on to Gaffey St., and a quick right onto 1st St.  Go a mile and take a left onto Western Ave.  Go 1.7 miles and take a right onto 25th St.  Go a total of 2.2 miles on 25th, which will become Palos Verdes Drive South, and take a left onto Ocean Trails Drive.  Park in the free parking lot right before the entrance to the golf course.
  • Agency: Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy
  • Distance: 0.7 miles
  • Elevation gain: 200 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: G
  • Suggested time: 30 minutes
  • Best season: Year round
  • USGS topo map: “San Pedro”
  • More information: here
  • Rating: 3

This short but surprisingly challenging hike takes in a nice little stretch of the Palos Verdes coastline.  You can, of course, walk farther along the beach in either direction, but if you’re short on time, the loop described here is a great way to get some exercise and some nice coastal views.

Don’t let the trail’s beginning – at the Trump National Golf Course – deter you.  There is free parking just before the main entrance to the course, and whatever noise you hear from the golfers and the traffic on Palos Verdes Drive South fades quickly as you descend the signed Beach Access trail.

After making your way around a paved walkway, you descend along a dirt trail to the beach.  Here, head right along the rocky coastline.  Depending on the tide, you can walk out and get a closer look at the waves (be careful because the rocks can be wet).  Soon, the Sunset Trail branches off to the right.  This short, but very steep, trail switchbacks quickly back up to the bluff, gaining back the 200 feet you descended almost immediately.  At the top, take a left and head back to the walkway and to your car.



  1. Great write up! But there is more to see at Ocean Trails. Have you tried the trails heading down coast past Sunrise Trail? I just did a write up on the Ocean Trails to Shoreline Park route since I couldn’t find any other blogs that had written a page so I did a more detailed one this time on my blog (this Shoreline Park is not to be confused with Abalone Cove Shoreline Park). Just continue down the paved path past Sunrise Trail until you reach a dirt trail that forks off along the bluffs. Cross a couple of wooden bridges near the golf course and continue for about 1/2 mile ending with a loop around Shoreline Park. At Shoreline Park off Sagebrush Walk Trail we found the beach access trail down the bluffs washed out, someone put a board across the gorge (looked like a dangerous crossing and we had kids with us so we backed out). So I would recommend Sunrise Trail for beach access, especially with kids.

    1. I did another write-up of the Switchback Trail, via an obscure route from Warmouth Way in San Pedro that I basically discovered by accident. It cuts through the Ocean Trails Reserve, and follows a route similar to what you’re describing. You can check it out here. Thanks for reading!

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