Coastal Trail

A beautiful path among wave-battered sea cliffs and tide pools overlooking the Pacific.

Hiking Easy

Distance
1.6 km
Ascent
43 m
Descent
43 m
Duration
0-1 hrs
Low Point
5 m
High Point
31 m
Gradient
VIEW ON MAP
Coastal Trail Map

Description

Cabrillo National Monument is a natural and historic park on Point Loma. This peninsula is uniquely positioned with a wide open vantage of the Pacific on one side, and the city skyline with mountain backdrop on the other. Its west shore, facing the open ocean, is battered by the sea into gold-colored cliffs and coves. This is where the Coastal Trail cuts across natural platforms in the rocks, traversing just above the frothy waves. It can feel quite adventurous, but it's safe as long as you watch your step and don’t get too close to the water in rough conditions.

The Coastal Trail runs between two parking lots along Cabrillo Road. Start from either and travel in between them as an out and back. You’ll walk along dirt, rock, and stairs in a few places. The surface is mostly natural, so it can be uneven and slippery but is generally easy.

Near the trail, rocky tide pools are exposed when the water recedes. There you can find hundreds of kinds of small sea critters like crabs, starfish, urchins, and mussels. You can touch them, but please leave them in place. You might also spot larger residents like seals, sea lions, or dolphins in the water.

In addition to the natural attractions, you can find evidence of past development here. Near the trail is an underground bunker used in World War II. Access is closed, but you can see the roof of it up close. Along the way to or from this trail, be sure to check out the historic Point Loma Lighthouse, the statue of explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, and wartime relics spread throughout the monument.

This is the only trail in the park that allows dogs, but they must be on a leash and cleaned up after.

Sources: https://www.nps.gov/cabr/learn/coastal-trail.htm

Difficulty

Easy

Walking along a well-kept trail that’s mostly flat. No obstacles are present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area