Week 287: Portuguese Bend Reserve, Palos Verdes

April 23, 2023

 AllTrails Burma Road, Peacock Flats and Ishibashi Trail Loop, 3.08 miles (including 0.25m trek from car to gate). 

Springtime at the ocean! A marine layer veiled our view of the Pacific, but the clear blue sky and pink/yellow/green landscape surrounded, enveloped, and awed us along this three-trail hike in Palos Verdes' Portuguese Bend Reserve, a 1400 acre protected home for rare and protected wildlife. Barbara and I first hiked the preserve on one of Charles Fleming's Secret Walks in 2017 and returned today to follow a different route through this magical place. The Palos Verdes Peninsula was originally an island in the Channel Island archipelago and the peninsula's cultural history dates back 50,000 years, most familiarly with the Tongva tribe. Flash forward through the Spanish and Mexican occupation to the American cattle ranches in the late 19th century. Fortunately, Mother Nature added a caveat that kept this area from being hijacked by developers: it's subject to landslides and geographically unstable for building. Migrating birds use the preserve, the largest area of vegetation remaining in Palos Verdes, as a winter habitat for food and rest, and the area is a valuable scientific and ecological site. The gated entry to the Burma Road trailhead is adjacent to Del Cerro Park in Rancho Palos Verdes. The views are jaw dropping from the start at every angle. We followed the Burma Road Trail SE and picked up the Peacock Flats Trail to begin our counterclockwise loop heading down, surrounded by daisies and yellow mustard often so tall it felt like we were hiking through a tunnel. At the bottom of Peacock, now deep in the valley, we intersected with the Burma Trail and followed it E to the Ishibashi Trail. Worth a mention—James "Kat" and his wife Annie Ishibashi arrived in the US from Japan in 1910, leased 5 acres from the Bixby Cattle Ranch for $50/year and went on to build a family produce business that lasted almost a century. One of the only Japanese families who came back to the peninsula after internment, the Ishibashi family is a true peninsula success story. Barbara and I hiked up, and I do mean UP, the Ishibashi Trail to the upper Burma Trail to close our loop and return to our starting point. Great hike, and because it's so pretty it's very popular—tons of hikers, happy dogs on leash, lizards and black beetles, one fuzzy black caterpillar, and more than a few mountain bikers wheeling down the skinny trails. But, boy, the place is gorgeous. The parking is ridiculous and monitored, so we recommend planning ahead or committing to an extra half mile to the trailhead. But...so pretty and with so many trail options, and totally worth the trip.





You Might Also Like


Popular Posts

Total Pageviews