Lunada Canyon, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Lunada Canyon

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  • Location: Rancho Palos Verdes. From Western Avenue in San Pedro, take Palos Verdes Drive South west for a total of 7 miles (it becomes Palos Verdes Drive West en route) to Paseo Lunado. Turn right and follow Paseo Lunado a short distance to Via Rivera. Park where available near the intersection of Via River and Via Carillo. Alternately from Pacific Coast Highway, head south on Palos Verdes Blvd for 1.4 miles. Turn right onto Palos Verdes Drive West. Go 3.4 miles and turn left onto Paseo Lunado. Follow it to its ending at Via Rivera and park where available.
  • Agency: Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy (Agua Amarga Reserve)
  • Distance: 2.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 550 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: PG
  • Suggested time: 1 hour
  • Best season:  Year round
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash
  • Cell phone reception: Good
  • Water: None
  • Restrooms: None
  • Camping/backpacking: None
  • Recommended gear: hiking poles
  • More information: Trip description here
  • Rating: 3

Narrow Lunada Canyon slips between rows of luxury homes on the west slopes of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The short but steep hike up the canyon might not be a “must do” for most hikers but it still provides a good workout. The western facing descent makes it especially worthwhile at sunset.

The start of the trail is poorly defined; you will find yourself walking through a field of woodchips, but soon you reach a sign marking the beginning. From here, the trail ascends gradually before making a steep push, climbing 100 feet in only 0.1 mile. After reaching the top of this incline, you continue along the north wall of Lunada Canyon, soon entering the boundaries of the Agua Amarga Reserve. By this point most of the traffic noise from Palos Verdes Drive West is long gone; unfortunately you will still have to contend with vents from the sewage line that runs through the canyon.

Continuing uphill, you cross the canyon floor and reach a vista point and trail head at the end of Rock Park Drive (0.8 mile and 400 feet above your starting point.) Another 0.2 mile and 150 feet of climbing brings you to the end of Posey Drive, where you will get your best views of the hike. However, the trail continues another 0.1 mile into a pleasantly shaded area in the upper reaches of the canyon where you can enjoy a few moments of peace and quiet before retracing your steps back downhill.

Lunada Canyon Trail, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Lower end of the Lunada Canyon Trail
Lunada Canyon Trail, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Steep ascent near the bottom of the trail
Lunada Canyon Trail, Rancho Palos Verdes
Trees between the two vista points
Lunada Canyon Trail, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Approaching the top of the Lunada Canyon Trail

Text and photography copyright 2017 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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