Day Hikes on the California Southern Coast  by Robert Stone

Day Hikes on the California Southern Coast Guide Book

by Robert Stone (Day Hike Books)
Day Hikes on the California Southern Coast  by Robert Stone
Day Hikes on the California Southern Coast is a collection of 100 of the best day hikes along 238 miles of coastline, from Ventura County to Los Angeles to the U.S.- Mexico border. This comprehensive guide provides access to some of California's best scenery... stroll along quiet bay-side coves or trek up to panoramic ocean-front overlooks. Hundreds of miles of trails are included, accommodating all levels of hiking experience.

© 2004 Robert Stone/Day Hike Books. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Day Hikes on the California Southern Coast" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 49.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 49.

The Ballona Lagoon Marine Preserve is a 16.3-acre natural saltwater estuary between Hurricane Street (south of Washington Boulevard) and the Marina Del Rey Harbor Channel, one block inland from Venice Beach. The ocean-fed lagoon connects to Grand Canal, the main channel of the Venice Canals. Ballona Lagoon was originally part of the once-extensive 1,700-acre Ballona Creek wetlands, extending from Playa Del Rey to Santa Monica. The lagoon was cut off from the wetlands with the development of Marina Del Rey. The lagoon is on the 2,000-mile migratory route for birds between Alaska and Latin America, known as the Pacific Flyway. The preserve is a protected habitat for hundreds of birds, native plants, animals, and marine life. It is one of the last tidal wetlands in southern California, with high and low tides twice daily.
Santa Monica, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.4
The Bayside Trail descends 300 feet down the cliffs on the east (bayside) slope of Point Loma. The 1.5-mile trail, an old U.S. Army roadway, winds down the hillside through chaparral and native sage scrub from high above San Diego Bay. From the cliffside perch are breathtaking vistas of the bay, including small sailboats, fishing boats, gigantic U.S. Navy ships, ocean liners maneuvering in and out of the harbor, as well as passenger planes and Navy jets flying in and out of the airports. The interpretive trail has panels about the area’s natural and cultural history. En route, the trail passes remnants of an abandoned military defense system with bunkers that protected the harbor in both World Wars. The hike begins near the 422-foot crest of the promontory by the historic lighthouse.
San Diego, CA - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 3
Black Canyon, at the north end of La Jolla, is one of the few undeveloped oceanfront canyons in San Diego County. The trail is a steep, vehicle-restricted road owned by the University of California that is a popular route for surfers, bikers, joggers, sunbathers, and hikers. From the multi-million dollar homes atop the mesa, the road winds a half mile down the 350-foot sandstone cliffs through the deep canyon to an unspoiled white-sand beach.
La Jolla, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
The Broken Hill Trails are the longest trails in Torrey Pines State Park. The North and South Forks form a loop, then join and head down to the beach at Flat Rock. Both trails cross the rolling, chaparral-covered coastal bluffs along the drier section of the reserve. A short detour leads to the Broken Hill Overlook, a 300-foot escarpment with a view into the desert-looking badlands of Ladder Canyon. From the 350-foot terrace, the trail zigzags through a deep sandstone ravine to the sandy beach pocket with offshore rocks, tidepools, and Flat Rock.
La Jolla, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.3
From Cardiff State Beach, at the mouth of San Elijo Lagoon, to Swami’s Beach is a 1.7-mile stretch of cobblestone and sand beach backed by 80-foot jagged cliffs. San Elijo State Beach lies between, connecting the small coastal community of Cardiff-By-The-Sea with Encinitas. The state beach has a developed campground lining the bluffs. Wooden stairs lead from the campground to the shoreline. Swami’s Beach is a popular surfing spot. Atop the bluffs at Swami’s Beach is the Self-Realization Fellowship Hermitage Grounds, a 17-acre retreat founded in 1937 by Indian guru Paramahansa Yogananda. The cliffside meditation garden has flower-lined tiled pathways, tropical foliage, waterfalls, serene ponds with koi, and oceanfront overlooks. On the south side of the sanctuary is Sea Cliff Park (also known as Swami’s Park), a blufftop park with a grassy picnic area and overlook. A long stairwell leads down the cliffs to Swami’s Beach.
Encinitas, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.5
The Coronado Peninsula lies in the heart of San Diego Bay between the bay and the ocean. This hike follows the picturesque bay from Centennial Park to Tidelands Park, with sweeping views of downtown San Diego. The Coronado Peninsula is thought of (and referred to) as an island. It is actually attached to the mainland by Silver Strand, a quarter-mile-wide sand spit running 7 miles from North Island to Imperial Beach. The other land access to the “almost-an-island” peninsula is the arched 2.3-mile Coronado Toll Bridge, connecting Coronado to the city of San Diego. Centennial Park and Tidelands Park sit on the bay side of Coronado, connected by a shoreline promenade. Centennial Park is a grassy park with a small sandy beach and a rose garden. Adjacent to the park is Old Ferry Landing, the location for catching the ferry to San Diego, and Ferry Landing Marketplace. The market is lined with galleries, boutiques, and restaurants. Tidelands Park is a 22-acre tree-shaded grassland park on the northeast corner of Coronado. The bayfront park has a sandy beach, picnic tables, and a walking/biking path that skirts the bay, passing under the towering Coronado Toll Bridge.
San Diego, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
Coronado City Beach, on the ocean side of the Coronado Peninsula, is home of the historic Hotel del Coronado, a vast Victorian complex built in 1888. The elegant landmark, dominating the oceanfront landscape, encompasses 33 acres. With 680 rooms, it is one of the largest wooden structures in the world. The city beach is divided into North, Central, and South Beach, stretching from the magnificent hotel to the North Island Naval Air Station. Within North Beach is a dog-friendly beach known locally as Dog Beach. Adjacent to Dog Beach is Sunset Park, with a large, grassy picnic area. Coronado Shores Beach runs from South Beach, near the Hotel del Coronado, to Silver Strand State Beach. It is a wide, sandy beach across the boulevard from Glorietta Bay, backed by condominiums and a seawall promenade. The paved path ends at the U.S. Naval Amphibious Base boundary. This hike follows the 1.8-mile beachfront promenade from Coronado Shores Beach, at the naval amphibious base, to North Beach at the naval air station. The coastal views include Point Loma, the Coronado Islands (13 miles offshore), and Tijuana.
San Diego, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.6
This hike begins next to Fiesta Bay at Crown Point Shores on the south edge of the Kendall-Frost Marsh Reserve. The reserve is a 16-acre salt marsh that is adjacent to the mudflats and open waters of the 88-acre Northern Wildlife Preserve. This area has the only remaining natural vegetation that survived the wetland community’s transformation into the Mission Bay recreational playground. It is an ecological study area and remains a protected feeding and nesting area for migratory and resident birds. A paved path begins at the grassland park, with a sandy beach and picnic areas. The path follows the perimeter of the Crown Point Peninsula, from Fiesta Bay to Riviera Shores, a bluff-backed sandy beach in Sail Bay.
Pacific Beach, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.6
This hike follows the east shore of Mission Bay from De Anza Cove to Tecolote Creek. The creek flows from Tecolote Canyon into the Pacific Passageway, a waterway between the bay’s east shore and Fiesta Island. A marshy wetland is formed at the mouth of the creek as it enters the bay. The east shore is lined with landscaped parklands, picnic areas, sandy beaches, and is home to the Mission Bay Visitor Center. The hike starts at De Anza Cove, a charming little bay with a boat dock, sandy beach, and picnic spots. A paved path follows the eastern shoreline, overlooking barren Fiesta Island. En route, the trail passes a series of beaches and strolls through Playa Pacifica and Tecolote Shores, two grassland parks.
San Diego, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.6
The Del Rey Lagoon in Playa Del Rey, near the Marina Del Rey Harbor Channel, is tucked between the north end of Dockweiler Beach and Ballona Creek. The 13-acre lagoon is surrounded by a grassy park with geese and ducks. It is a remnant of the original 1,700-acre Ballona Creek wetlands, stretching from Playa Del Rey to Santa Monica. Ballona Creek borders the south edge of the harbor channel and heads 9 miles inland through Culver City to the north side of the Santa Monica Freeway. This hike begins at Del Rey Lagoon and follows Ballona Creek seaward to the mouth of the harbor and inland along the creek.
Santa Monica, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.8
El Matador, La Piedra, and El Pescador State Beaches are three small oceanfront parks on the Malibu bluffs which comprise the Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach. The three pocket beaches are within a one-mile stretch, bounded by rocky points. Each park contains a blufftop parking lot, a picnic area with overlooks, a pretty beach strand, and a trail down the 100-foot eroded cliffs to the shoreline. Of the three, El Matador Beach is the largest and most scenic, with large rock formations, arches, and caves.
Santa Monica, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
Escondido Falls is a 200-foot multi-tiered cataract deep within the Escondido Canyon Natural Area. The upper cascade can be spotted during the hike, but the trail ends at the base of the lower falls in a box canyon. The falls tumbles 50 feet into a shallow pool, cascading off limestone cliffs into a mossy fern grotto. The hike to the falls begins on a winding, paved residential road due to trail access problems. In less than a mile, a footpath descends into the forested canyon. In the shade of oaks, willows, and sycamores, the canyon trail follows a year-round creek to the waterfall.
Santa Monica, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.2
Tide Beach Park, Fletcher Cove Beach Park, North Seascape Surf Beach Park, and Del Mar Shores Beach Park are all part of Solana Beach. The cliff-lined sandy beach strand stretches for 1.8 miles from the San Elijo Lagoon to the San Dieguito Lagoon. This hike begins at Fletcher Cove on a grassy blufftop overlooking the sandy recess, also known as Pill Box Beach. The hike heads south along the coast to Del Mar Shores Beach Park, called Dog Beach because dogs are allowed off-leash freedom. Dog Beach is a wide, sandy beach at the mouth of the San Dieguito Lagoon on the northern end of Del Mar. A steep, wooden staircase leads up to Scripps Bluff Preserve on 80-foot bluffs overlooking Dog Beach and the San Dieguito Lagoon.
Solana Beach, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.5
The Guy Fleming Trail is an easy 0.7-mile interpretive loop around North Grove, a dense stand of twisted Torrey pines. The trail is named in honor of the late conservationist, naturalist, and park supervisor. The diverse trail contours the windswept mesa past sandstone formations, continuing to two coastal overlooks perched 250 feet above the sea. The North Overlook offers views of Torrey Pines State Beach, the Los Penasquitos Marsh, and the city of Del Mar. The South Overlook vistas extend to Scripps Pier, La Jolla Bay, the city of La Jolla, San Clemente Island, and Catalina Island.
La Jolla, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.5
Imperial Beach is a quiet, low-key beach town with a wide, sandy beach strand south of San Diego. The Tijuana River borders the south end of Imperial Beach. To the east is the expansive Tijuana Estuary National Wildlife Refuge. The Tijuana River watershed drains more than 1,700 square miles along the California-Mexico border, with its end point in the estuary. Barrier dunes, formed by sand traveling down river from the mountains, protect the estuary from the ocean forces. Wind and waves have sculpted the sand into dunes, while native vegetation stabilizes the dunes and holds them in place. Without the dunes, there would be no estuary. This hike straddles the dunes between the ocean and the estuary to the mouth of the Tijuana River, where it empties into the Pacific Ocean. Along the way are expansive coastal views extending north to Coronado and Point Loma, south to the hills of Mexico, and 12 miles seaward to the Coronado Islands.
San Diego, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.2
The first part of the hike follows the Coast Walk, a blufftop dirt trail with bridges and stairways that curve around the perimeter of the alluvial 100-foot cliffs. The cliff-hugging path offers sweeping views of the ocean, beach, and caves. En route from the La Jolla Caves, the hike explores an array of small beaches tucked between folds of sandstone bluffs, eroded cliffs carved into ledges with roosting seabirds, sculpted caves, grottos, pocket beach coves, tidepools, and grassy blufftop parks. The path continues to Nicholson Point Park, a sandy cove at the base of the cliffs.
La Jolla, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
Malibu Bluffs Recreation Area comprises 90 acres on the bluffs between the Pacific Coast Highway and Malibu Road, directly opposite of Pepperdine University and Malibu Canyon Road. The 100-foot bluffs rise above Amarillo Beach and Puerco Beach. Five public stairways (which adjoin private property) lead down to the shoreline from the base of the bluffs. The trails begin from the spacious lawns in Malibu Bluffs Community Park, a park with picnic facilities, ball fields, and a free parking lot.
Santa Monica, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
Malibu Lagoon State Beach encompasses 167 acres in the heart of Malibu, with a brackish lagoon at the mouth of perennial Malibu Creek and nearly a mile of ocean frontage. The sand-barred lagoon, just off Malibu Point, is a resting and feeding estuary for more than 200 species of migrating and native birds on the Pacific Flyway. The state beach includes a museum; 35-acre Surfrider Beach, popularized by surfing movies in the 1950s and 1960s; and Malibu Pier, a 700-foot long pier in a cove called Kellers Shelter. The historic pier dates back to 1903 and was rebuilt in 1946. To the west of Malibu Point is the exclusive Malibu Colony gated community. Nature trails meander to the beach and around the lagoon.
Santa Monica, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.5
Manhattan, Hermosa, and Redondo Beaches are strung together along the southern end of Santa Monica Bay, known as the South Bay. They are the laid-back, quintessential southern California beaches with clean, broad, white sand beaches, popular for surfing, swimming, fishing, volleyball, and just hanging out. The three well-maintained beach communities have piers, which are surrounded by quaint shops and outdoor cafes. They have grown together, yet have retained their own distinct characters. The Strand, a paved pedestrian boardwalk lining the back end of the beaches, links the three towns and is used by walkers, joggers, and skaters. They are also connected by the South Bay Bicycle Trail, stretching 20 miles from Will Rogers State Beach (north of Santa Monica) to Redondo Beach.
Santa Monica, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 6
This hike is a loop that begins on the west edge of Mission Bay and returns along the oceanfront boardwalk. The hike follows Bay Walk, a paved path on the banks of Mariners Basin. The path connects Mission Point at the channel to Mission Bay Park at Bonita Cove (a swimming area). The hike returns along Ocean Front Walk, a popular walking, jogging, roller-skating, skateboarding, biking and people-watching promenade. The Ocean Front Walk passes Belmont Park, an old amusement park with a renovated 1925 roller coaster and The Plunge, a vast 175-foot-long swimming pool. The beach ends at Point Medanos by the jetty at the mouth of the Mission Bay Channel.
Ocean Beach, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.8