Ocean Trails Reserve, San Pedro, CA

Ocean Trails Reserve: Switchbacks/Dudleya Loop from Warmouth St.

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  • Location: Warmouth St., San Pedro.  From the end of the I-110 freeway, take a right on N. Gaffey St. and then a quick left on Summerland Ave.  Go a mile and turn left on Western Ave.  Go 2.5 miles to the end of Western Ave. and head right on Paseo Del Mar.  Go 0.5 miles, turn left on Stargazer.  Follow Stargazer to its end and head right on Warmouth.  Park on the end of Warmouth and look for an open gate leading from the south side of the street.
  • Agency: Palos Verdes Land Conservancy (Ocean Trails Ecological Reserve)
  • Distance: 2.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 450 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: PG
  • Suggested time: 1.5 hours
  • Best season: Year-round (ideally during low tides)
  • Dogs: Allowed only on the upper trails (not allowed on the beach); exercise caution on warm days as the trails are completely exposed
  • Cell phone reception: Good on the upper trails; weak to none on the beach
  • Water: None
  • Restrooms: None
  • Camping/backpacking: None
  • More information: Trail map here; Yelp page here
  • Rating: 5

Updated May 2018

This hike accesses the Ocean Trails Reserve on the Palos Verdes Peninsula from an obscure entrance on a residential street. The beginning of the trail – which passes by a housing community fenced off with barbed wire – might not seem inviting, but almost immediately, you are rewarded with great ocean views. The trail turns right (west) and heads downhill along a cliff that drops off suddenly to the ocean.  And no, there isn’t a railing separating the trail from the cliff, in case you were wondering.

At about 0.3 mile, the trail officially enters the Ocean Trails Reserve. Now signed as the Sagebrush Walk Trail, the route passes a junction with the Shoreline Park Trail (you can easily add the Shoreline/Gnatcatcher loop to this hike if you have time and energy). You pass a small clearing on the bluff with some picnic tables before making a short, steep ascent (about 150 feet in a quarter mile) to a junction. The Gnatcatcher Trail heads right while your route, the Catalina Trail, heads left, following the bluffs.

At 0.8 mile, you reach the top of the Switchbacks Trail which drops precipitously toward the shores below (hiking poles may be helpful). You can either take this trail and continue along the shore or follow the Catalina Trail another 0.4 mile to the top of the Dudleya Trail, which drops in a similar manner and then return along the coast. The quarter mile stretch along the shore requires some boulder hopping but nothing too strenuous or difficult. This area of the coast line provides a chance to get up-close views of the tidepools and marine geology characteristic of the area.

You can easily extend the hike, either by continuing to follow the coast line to the west toward the Sunset and Sunrise Trails, or by continuing along the Catalina Trail to Founders Park, 0.3 mile past the top of the Dudleya Trail.


Ocean Trails Reserve, San Pedro, CA
Trail entrance on Warmouth Street
Catalina Trail, Ocean Trails Reserve, San Pedro, CA
Footbridge on the Catalina Trail
Ocean Trails Reserve, San Pedro, CA
Top of the Switchbacks Trail
Ocean Trails Reserve, San Pedro, CA
Coastal geology

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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