Text and photography copyright 2011 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.
Gum Grove Park
- Location: Seal Beach. From Pacific Coast Highway, go northeast (right if you’re coming from the south, left if from the north) on 5th St. Take an immediate left on Coastline, a quick right on Catalina and a left on Avalon and drive to the end of the street. The trail can also be accessed from the parking lot on Heron St. at Seal Beach Blvd.
- Agency: Los Cerritos Wetlands
- Distance: 1.2 miles
- Elevation gain Level – 100 feet
- Suggested time: 30 minutes
- Difficulty rating: G
- Best season: Year round
- USGS topo map: Seal Beach
- More information: here; video of walking dogs in the park here
- Rating: 1
Though it is not very well known outside the area, Gum Grove Park of Seal Beach is a popular destination for dog walking, bird watching and seeing springtime wildflowers. Located between a residential neighborhood and an industrial area of Long Beach, the small park provides a nice, shady getaway.
From the parking area, you can head east on either a dirt fire road or, for a more enjoyable trip, on a single-track trail that leads under the trees. The path splits several times, heading up the slight incline in some places and down toward the fire road in others, but all routes eventually join up again, so pick whichever you want.
After half a mile, the trail leaves the woods and comes to a split. The main road continues toward the parking area off of Seal Beach Blvd., the turnaround point, but you can also extend your walk by visitin the Heron Pointe cultural center. Here, interpretive plaques describe the history of the area.
Though it’s not a hike, per se, the nearby old town area of Seal Beach and its pier make a great stop either before or after visiting Gum Grove. Hardcore veteran hikers will probably not need to treat Gum Grove as a “must do”, but for people who want to get their kids–or themselves–off the couch and out into nature, it’s an enjoyable and accessible place to do so.