Just 30 miles from the bustling city of Los Angeles is Palos Verdes–a beachfront town brimming with rolling hills and lush landscapes. If you love hiking, but have trekked to the Griffith Observatory one too many times, then pull out some water-friendly shoes and head over to Abolone Cove Ecological Reserve.
This 65-acre state preserve contains stretches of sand, tide pools, and sea life. Both mellow and scenic, this approximately 2-mile out and back trail winds along the bluff, offering panoramic views before descending to the beach.
Jutting cliffs border the tide pools, where starfish and sea urchins dwell at your feet. To reach this area head east on the Via Del Campo Trail from the parking lot. Wind downhill on Sea Dahlia Trail to access the tide pools and Abolone Cove. Get ready to snap photos of a range of sea creatures, and if you’re lucky spot a pod of dolphins or whales migrating along the coast.
Dare devils can cliff even leap into the encoved waters. Yet, this cliff jumping spot is not for the faint of heart. Personally, I’d only explore this option during low tide and would reserve it for strong swimmers with water shoes as there’s a limited window to climb up from the rocks before the waves crash in. Whether you're exploring the tide pools or the cove, be sure to come during low tide. You can monitor times here.
Once you’ve had your fun at the cove, head back to reach Olmstead Trail. From here you can loop around Portuguese Point for views stretching as far as Catalina Island, or re-route to the parking lot via Sea Dahlia Trail.
Given Southern California’s beautiful climate, outdoor lovers can enjoy this nature gem year-round.
Things to know before you goWhere: 5970 Palos Verdes Drive South, Rancho Palos Verdes, CAWhen: Open one hour before sunrise to hour hour past sunset; come during low-tideCost: $6 parking for up to 2 hours; $12 for over 2 hoursBring: Water, sunscreen, water-friendly shoes, and swim suit if dipping inQuestions: Call (310) 377-1222