Ocean Trails Ecological Reserve


    Ocean Trails Ecological Reserve consists of about 4+ miles of trail adjacent to the Trump National Golf Course in Rancho Palos Verdes. The trails, lined with coastal sage, cacti and other native vegetation, wind along the cliff side with various paths also leading down to the rocky shore below. This area has been preserved and restored with natural habitat for the endangered California gnatcatcher.

    There are a number of different trails to explore depending on how much ground you want to cover. Give yourself ample time to explore the area and be sure to also take some extra time to venture down to the tide pools along the beach. If you plan your trip during low tide, this is a great location to spot local birds and sea life including sea stars, sea anemone, and sometimes even sea lions.

    How to Spot a WhaleIf you’re hiking between January and April, definitely bring some binoculars. This is a prime time for spotting whales during their migration. There have been sightings of Gray Whales, Sperm Whales, Humpback Whales, Blue Whales, Fin Whales, and Minke Whales. Occasional rare glimpses include Pygmy Sperm Whales, Pilot Whales, Killer Whales, False Killer Whales, Cuviers Beaked Whales, and Stegnegers Beaked Whales.


    The Sagebrush Trail includes a small picnic area with an amazing panoramic view of the ocean and trademark geology of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. This is a beautiful location to have lunch. The overlook features two benches and a large 4-6 person picnic table with a trash can for easy disposal.

    The Gnatcatcher Trail veers from the coast and heads inland. From this vantage point there is a nice view down into the canyons.

    Along the Catalina Trail, the views cannot be beat. On a clear day Catalina Island can be seen across the narrow channel. At the end of the Catalina Trail you’ll arrive at the golf course club house. Here you’ll find restrooms and a large grassy area that includes a few picnic tables.

    View the Trail Map (PDF) for additional routes to discover.

    Distance: 4.4 miles
    Elevation gain: 100 feet
    Difficulty: Moderate
    Suggested time: 1-3 hours
    Best season: Year-round (especially January through April for whale watching)

    Ocean Trails Ecological Reserve
    5970 Palos Verdes Drive South
    Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
    Trail Map (PDF)
    Google Map

    The Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy hosts nature walks throughout Palos Verdes. Check our South Bay Events Calendar for upcoming events and hikes.

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    NOTE: All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. The author does not take any responsibility for injuries sustained during hikes or walks on the routes described here.
    It is always a good idea to verify date, time, location and other information prior to going.
    While we strive to present information as accurately as possible, Best of the South Bay is not responsible for the accuracy of this information.

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