Nike Trail (Rancho Palos Verdes)
- Location: Ganado Drive and Crest Road, Rancho Palos Verdes. From the south end of I-110/west end of the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro, take Gaffey St. south for 0.2 mile. Turn right onto 1st St. and follow it 1.6 miles to Miraleste Drive. Turn right on Miraleste and follow it 0.8 mile to Palos Verdes Drive East. Turn left and follow Palos Verdes Drive East for 1.5 miles. Turn right on Crest Rd. (at the Marymount California University campus.) Go 0.7 mile and turn left onto Ganado Drive. Park where available. Alternately, from Pacific Coast Highway in Lomita, take Narbonne Ave. south. After 0.3 miles, Narbonne becomes Palos Verdes Drive East. Follow it for a total of 5.7 miles from Pacific Coast Highway and turn right onto Crest Rd., at the Marymount California University campus. Follow Crest Rd. 0.7 mile to Gadano Drive. Turn left and park where available.
- Agency: City of Rancho Palos Verdes
- Distance: 1.4 miles
- Elevation gain: 300 feet
- Difficulty Rating: G
- Suggested time: 45 minutes
- Best season: Year-round
- USGS topo map: San Pedro Hill
- More information: Map My Hike report here
- Rating: 4
Reaching over 1,300 feet above sea level, the Nike Trail is one of highest hiking routes on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Despite being surrounded by upscale homes, the trail is pleasantly quiet, in addition to providing panoramic ocean views for very little effort. Indeed, many people will likely spend more time driving to the trail than actually hiking it due to its remote location, deep in the heart of the peninsula.
The closest parking available is on the corner of Ganado Drive and Crest Road. Head northeast on Crest for 0.2 miles along the sidewalk to a break in the fence, an access point for the trail. The trail climbs uphill to a T-junction. A spur heads right but the main Nike Trail heads left (west). You climb the grassy slope beneath the white golf-ball like structure of Ground Equipment Facility J-31, currently used by the FAA and the Western Air Defense Sector (the site used to supply data to the NIKE missile program, hence the name of the trail.)
About half a mile from the start, the trail reaches its high point. The main route makes a hairpin right turn and leads toward some homes. The Nike Trail continues west, appearing to now be narrow and overgrown but still easy to follow. It descends slightly before making a sharp right turn and heading uphill. At 0.7 miles, the trail ends unceremoniously at a locked metal gate. A few trees provide some shade and this is a pleasant enough place to stop and rest before turning around, taking in views down Que Viento Canyon to the ocean.
Text and photography copyright 2016 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.