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.
Bluff Cove, Palos Verdes Peninsula
- Location: West side of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. From Long Beach, take the Vincent Thomas Bridge to Gaffey St. Take a right on Gaffey and go 2.5 miles to Palos Verdes Drive North (a five-way intersection). Take a hard right onto Palos Verdes Drive North and go 6.5 miles and take a slight left on Palos Verdes Drive West. Go 1.1 miles and take a right on Paseo Del Mar. After about half a mile, look for a dirt area on the left (ocean) side of the road, with a chain blocking the way. This is in the 600 block of Paseo Del Mar (if you reach the church, you’ve gone about half a mile too far). Park on the left side of the street and access the trail beyond the chain. From the north, take Catalina Ave. in Hermosa Beach to Palos Verdes Blvd. Turn right on Palos Verdes Blvd (which becomes Palos Verdes Drive West) and after 2.2 total miles take a right onto Paseo Del Mar.
- Agency: Palos Verdes Estates Shoreline Preserve
- Distance: 0.8 miles
- Elevation gain: 200 feet
- Suggested time: 30 minutes
- Difficulty rating: G
- Best season: Year round
- USGS topo map: “Redondo Beach”
- More information: here
- Rating: 5
This is an enjoyable hike down to the beach. Once you have arrived at the coast, you can travel farther along the ocean (such as making the 5+ mile trip to Point Vicente), but even if you just do the short trip described here, you will have a good time, and you won’t have to worry about the tides or navigating tricky coastline conditions.
From the street, after crossing the metal chain, you follow a dirt road down to the coastline 200 feet below. You pass a few points where, if you are VERY careful, you can climb farther out onto the rocks to get a closer look at the ocean. Most hikers will probably want to stick to the main path, which arrives at the beach after 0.4 miles. You will be pleasantly surprised with how little civilization you can hear or see when you get down to the bottom.
This hike is particularly good at sunset due to its western exposure. On a clear day, you can see Santa Monica and Malibu, and the lights will be coming on as you make your way back to the car in the evening. The trail is so short and easy to follow that even in the night time, navigation shouldn’t be a problem. Note, however, that you can’t park on the street after 9pm.