Trails in the Portuguese Bend Reserve range from moderate to difficult. The paths can be accessed from a few different locations and crisscross back and forth through unique canyons with stunning vistas of the coast and Catalina Island. The ground in this area is constantly moving, resulting in an ever-changing hiking experience with unique geologic formations.
The 399-acre Portuguese Bend Reserve was preserved in 2005 and is the largest of the ten reserves that make up the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve. As well as providing community-valued recreation, it contains important linkages for wildlife and valuable native habitat for sensitive species.
After a good spring rain, beautiful wildflowers bloom along the hills including sunflowers, purple sage, mustard, poppy and more. While the flowers in the spring are particularly lovely, this hike’s coastal locale makes it a good option for any time of year. Keep in mind, however, that there is virtually no shade on the trails, so wear sun protection and plan accordingly, especially during the summer. Make sure to carry lots of water and consider an early morning hike during cooler hours. Plants to watch out for include poison oak and stinging nettle. Also watch for rattlesnakes and scorpions.
The trails are shared by hikers, off-road bicyclists, and equestrians. There are numerous trails throughout the reserve so you can plan your hike to be as long or short as you’d like. Trails also connect to neighboring Forrestal Nature Reserve to the east and Del Cerro Reserve and Filiorum Reserve to the west.
Visit the Portuguese Bend Reserve to enjoy the miles of trails and take in the surrounding natural beauty of the peninsula. No matter what your exact path is, you’re sure to enjoy the ocean, geology and botanical scenery here, with nice views of the Pacific, bluffs and canyon.
Distance: Varies by trail
Elevation gain: 1350 feet
Suggested time: 2 hours
Best season: Year-round
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult (Elevation gain, steepness)
Recommended Gear: hiking poles, sun hat