Rim Trail, Portuguese Bend Preserve, California

Portuguese Bend Reserve: Rim & Grapevine Loop

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Portuguese Bend Reserve: Rim & Grapevine Loop

  • Location: Palos Verdes Peninsula between Torrance and San Pedro.  From I-110, take the Anaheim St. exit, head west for about 3/4 of a mile to the five-way intersection and bare left on Palos Verdes Drive North.  Go 3.6 miles and take a left on Crenshaw, and follow it to its end (about 2 miles).  Park on the side of the road at Del Cerro Park.  Alternatively, access Crenshaw Blvd. either from I-405 or Pacific Coast Highway and head south to Del Cerro.
  • Agency: Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy/Portuguese Bend Reserve
  • Distance: 3.3 miles (Spur and double loop)
  • Elevation gain: 750 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: PG
  • Best season: Year round
  • Recommended gear: sun hat hiking poles
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash (watch out for snakes and exercise caution on warm days)
  • Cell phone reception: Good for most of the route; fair to weak in some spots
  • Water: none
  • Restrooms: Chemical toilets at the junction of the Burma Trail and Ishibashi Trail
  • Camping: none
  • More information: here
  • Rating: 6

The Rim Trail, as its name would suggest, follows the northeastern rim of the Portuguese Bend Reserve. This double-loop uses the Rim, Grapevine and Paintbrush Trails, all of which receive relatively light visitation compared to the popular Portuguese Bend Overlook. With several major climbs, this is one of the more challenging hikes in the area.

Begin by following Burma Road, the dirt extension of Crenshaw Blvd., downhill for 0.6 mile. Here, the road continues toward the overlook, but for this route, look for the Ishibashi Trail heading straight. It curves through Portuguese Canyon before heading south. At 0.9 mile, you reach a junction with the Grapevine Trail, marking the start of the first loop. Shortly after is the upper half of the Rim Trail. This short but steep loop can be done in either direction (the Grapevine Trail, with its switchbacks, is more moderate, but some hikers may prefer ascending on the steeper, looser Rim Trail). At the upper intersection, the Rim Trail continues north to the preserve boundary; you can hike a short distance and enjoy some more panoramic ocean views before reaching the border of Rolling Hills Estates, beyond which you will need a permit.

After completing the loop, continue briefly on the Ishibashi Trail to another junction, where you will begin the second loop: the Paintbrush Trail and the lower portion of the Rim Trail. This loop is best done clockwise: you will start off with a steep ascent on the Rim Trail but are then rewarded with some impressive ocean views on your descent. At the lower junction, you get a dramatic view down into Paintbrush Canyon. The Rim Trail continues past this point to rejoin the Ishibashi Trail, but as of this writing, that segment is closed due to unstable conditions. Therefore, you will make a hard right turn on to the Paintbrush Trail and follow it a short distance back to the Ishibashi Trail. From here, retrace your steps back to Burma Road and your starting point, gaining about 300 feet in just under a mile.

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.

One comment

  1. Thanks for the helpful writeup. Tried this hike in Sept. 2012 and the Fire Station Trail was blocked at the end of the reserve. There is a large gate with chain link fencing preventing younfrom going onto the Rolling Hills Reserve. So we had to go back down the trail to the Burma Road Trail. Overall I found this hiking area pretty uninspiring, aside from the great views of the Pacific and Catalina. The vegetation is very sparse and fairly ugly, to be frank.

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