101 Hikes in Southern California: Exploring Mountains, Seashore and Desert
by Jerry Schad and David Money Harris (Wilderness Press)
© 2013 Jerry Schad and David Money Harris/Wilderness Press. All Rights Reserved.
Beautiful, but FULL OF TICKS AND BEES! We hiked from the trail head, around the loop, and back down. It's an absolutely stunning hike. You get to experience just about every type of terrain in Southern California in a few short miles. The first part of the hike takes you up a lush, rocky, hillside. There's a beautiful waterfall, but it's dried up this time of year (July). Breathtaking ocean views through the mountains as you climb to the top. Relatively easy to hike if you're capable of navigating large rocks. The trail forks when it levels out. You will climb Point Magu if you hike to the left or the La Jolla Loop Trail if you press ahead. I don't recommend the Loop trail unless you're adequately dressed (long pants, boots, and a long sleeve shirt). The hike is easy, but it guides you through lengthy sections of tall (6 ft.) grass. Ticks LOVE this area. We were not dressed for the occasion (shorts, t-shirts, and boots). Consequently, we were covered with ticks when we emerged from the loop. A few even migrated under my shirt. A large military instillation serves as the backdrop for the first half of the loop (not all that pleasant b/c planes fly by). The second half of the loop is beautiful, but full of active bee hives (we passed several). I wouldn't recommend the loop to anyone who can't tolerate a tick or two. The grass is also too high for children. All that said, the first part of the trail (from the gate to the hilltop) is definitely worth the trip if you're up for a short hike. The second half of the journey is questionable. I'm not entirely convinced the view is worth the bugs, bites, and risk of Lyme Disease. Granted, the risk is extremely low in this part of the country. You can see the other side of the rocky backdrop on the Nichols Flat Trail a few miles south on PCH (if you're up for a 3 mile hike uphill) without all the bugs.
I gave this hike 3 stars because of the ticks.
Amazing vistas and completely uncrowded on a Friday in December. We will be back again to try it when the natural grasses are fully grown and flowers are in bloom. The loop sends you through amazingly diverse terrain, despite always keeping you fairly close to the parking lot.
Went here in the middle of summer. Because of this, the creek was dry and the waterfall was nonexistent. The hike was great though! The climb up the hills were a good workout. The view was spectacular. We did have haze in the morning, otherwise, it would've been even better! The guide says this hike is 6 miles but my GPS said we walked 6.9 miles. Next time we go, it will most likely be in March, when the river fills.
Overall a very nice trail. Very pretty views. I went on a day that had moderate fog off the coast. Most of the day the coast was obscurred but it is still a very pretty hike. You still get some wonderful views inland and the pictures I got of the coastal range with the clouds turned out wonderful.
Words of caution. It is not very well marked. The ticks were pretty heavy. And the mileage seems to be a little off. My GPS said I hiked just over 12 miles instead of the 10.6 listed. I do not think I took any wrong turns.
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