Week 308: Rancho Palos Verdes Beach

June 30, 2024

 AllTrails Rancho Palos Verdes Coastal Trail, 2.24 miles.

Barbara's and my fifth different hike along the Rancho Palos Verdes shoreline was short (2m-ish) and straightforward (out, down, back, up) and one gorgeous, rock-scrambling challenge. Part of the 1400-acre Palos Verdes Nature Preserve, a protected home for rare and threatened wildlife, this hike covers a mile of shoreline in the Rancho Palos Verdes Ocean Trails Reserve, preserved land restored with 250,000 local native plants as a habitat for the endangered cactus wren and California gnat catcher. Plants like the sparkly Common Iceplant line the trails on the bluff, the first mile of the hike. Down at shore level there was nothing but rocks and boulders. Fortunately, coastal fog kept the temps cool as we balanced our way up the coast rock by unstable rock. If you like a good balance challenge, you'll love this hike. Just be sure the tide is out because to the left of the shoreline it's all Pacific and tide pools, and to the right of the shoreline it's nothing but a sheer boulder wall, straight up. The hike starts off the public parking lot for the Trump Golf Course—the hike is not on course property, (although you can't miss the 70-ft flagpole towering over the course.) A quick trek through a manicured lawn leads to the Catalina Trail, the first half of the hike. Stunning views to the east and west along the shoreline, despite the coastal fog. From the Catalina Trail we switch-backed down the Dudley Trail to the shore and the balancing act began. The rocks and stones were collectively cool—different layers of colors, different sizes, flat, cut, smooth—so pretty. At one point we walked tight to the boulder wall, close enough to note a layer (like the filling in an Oreo cookie) of crystal strips in the stratification that had to be a billion years old! Curving the shoreline, we reached Rancho Palos Verdes Beach where we connected to Sunset Trail and switch-backed our way back up to the top. Found our way back to the car just as the sun broke through. Stunning hike, but the shoreline is only for the surefooted. 








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