Christmas Tree Cove, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA

Honeymoon Cove/Christmas Tree Cove (Palos Verdes Peninsula)

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Honeymoon Cove/Christmas Tree Cove (Palos Verdes Peninsula)
  • Location: Paseo del Mar, southwestern Palos Verdes Peninsula. From the Pacific Coast Highway in Redondo Beach, take Palos Verdes Blvd. south for 1.3 miles. Bear right onto Palos Verdes Drive West. Go 3.4 miles and turn right onto Paseo Lunado (the second of the two Paseo Lunado streets you will see). Follow Paseo Lunado for 0.5 mile (it becomes Paseo del Mar) to an open space where the unsigned Blufftop Trail begins, just past the intersection with Via Oleadas. Alternately, from Western Ave. in San Pedro, take 25th St. west for a total of 8 miles (it becomes Palos Verdes Drive South) to the first of the two Paseo Lunado streets. Turn left and follow Paseo Lunado 0.5 mile to the start of the Blufftop Trail as described above.
  • Agency: Palos Verdes Estates Shoreline Preserve (trails and the route along the beach are unofficial; use at your own risk)
  • Distance: 0.8 mile
  • Elevation gain: 150 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: PG
  • Suggested time: 1 hour
  • Best season: Year-round (best during low tide; avoid after rains)
  • Dogs: Not allowed
  • Cell phone reception: Good
  • Water: None
  • Restrooms: None
  • Camping: None
  • More information: Map My Hike report here
  • Rating: 5

This short but adventurous hike explores two secluded coves on the southwestern side of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Despite its short length and seemingly minimal elevation gain, it should not be attempted by anyone who is uncomfortable scrambling over rocks or descending steep and potentially treacherous trails. Those who are up for the challenge will be rewarded with solitude, great ocean views, tidepools for exploration and more.

From the starting area on Paseo del Mar, look for the faint Blufftop Trail and follow it a short distance to the cliffs, where it will bend left (south). A steep, dubious looking use trail drops off from this point. Make your way carefully down it (a nylon rope has been installed to assist, but not everyone will find it necessary). At the bottom, you’ll find yourself on the rocky shores of Honeymoon Cove. Head south (left) along the coast toward a promontory, passing by tidepools scrambling over boulders. The going is challenging but should be manageable during low tide; just exercise care on the slippery rocks and don’t be afraid to use your hands as well as your feet.

After rounding the bend, you get a view of Christmas Tree Cove; if you look carefully you can pick out the Point Vicente Lighthouse in the distance. At 0.5 mile from the start, start climbing the bottom of the slope and look for a trail heading back to the bluffs. Make a hard left and begin your climb, moderate at first but soon becoming steep and loose, much like the descent. After 150 vertical feet of huffing and puffing, you reach the top. Follow Paseo del Mar north for 0.2 mile back to your starting point.

Honeymoon Cove, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA
Descending to Honeymoon Cove from the Blufftop Trail
Christmas Tree Cove, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Heading toward Christmas Tree Cove
Christmas Tree Cove, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Trail leading back to the bluffs from Christmas Tree Cove
Christmas Tree Cove, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA
Dusk at Christmas Tree Cove

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. 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.

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