Climbing & Hiking Trails - 11 min read

15 Best Hiking Trails in Palos Verdes, CA (For All Levels)

Nicole Abbott

Nicole Abbott, Updated September 27, 2022

California is known for its warmer weather and beautiful ocean views. Palos Verdes is located thirty miles south of Los Angeles. It has some of the best trails that are sandy, rocky, and dirt-paved. While some offer easy hikes that are more enjoyable, others can be more challenging and strenuous.

** Please Remember: Before making your hike, conduct thorough research to check what specific gear you may need. Some of our recommended hiking gear include hiking shoes, socks, insoles, a backpack, hiking poles, sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, water, snacks, and a camera. 

Here are our top fifteen trails located in Palos Verdes.

15 Best Hiking Trails in Palos Verdes

1. Rattlesnake Trail

Credit: Sunpath

If you’re looking for a hike in the bright sun in Palos Verdes, you’ll want to check out Rattlesnake Trail. This trail is a moderately challenging hike so you may want to leave small children at home.

If you appreciate nature, you’ll love the views of the yellow mustard wildflowers all around. It has beautiful views of the ocean, flats, and hills to push you to the challenge. Since this is a hike where you’ll be exposed, you may want to hike in the early morning or on overcast days.

Based on reviews, this trail is lightly trafficked and very peaceful. If you’re not a fan of crowded trails, this is your spot. You’ll get a challenging workout with a short hike.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 3.3 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 885 Feet

2. Malaga Dune Trail

Credit: Lane Farnham

Malaga Dune trail is a moderately challenging hike that is sand-packed and has hard dirt. Even with its moderate challenge, families still seem to have high success in making this hike with kids. Before your hike, make sure you have a good pair of hiking boots, snacks for small children, water, and binoculars to check out the views. During your hike, you’ll come across a few narrow trails and steep areas, but it’s still very manageable.

Based on reviews, visitors have said this hike is still doable even for a beginner. You’ll have views of many homes and the beach coast. If you’re looking for an outdoorsy type of hike, you may want to opt for a different trail as this one is mostly residential.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 6.1 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 790 Feet

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3. Bluff Cove Hike

Credit: Michael Nyiri

Bluff Cove is a scenic, rocky trail that is located in Palos Verdes. Not only do many come to this area for hiking, but many surfers come equipped with their surfboards too. You’ll also see scuba divers and snorkelers swimming along the shorelines. This hike slowly descends south and ends at Bluff Cove Beach. There are no restroom facilities, and dogs are not allowed, but there is free parking available.

Based on reviews, visitors say this trail has beautiful views but is very rocky. If you do plan on hiking, make sure you bring strong hiking boots. This hike is not recommended for children.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1.7 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 177 Feet

4. Forrestal Preserve Loop Trail

Credit: Puck90

The Forrestal Reserve Loop trail is one of the best trails in Palos Verdes. It has some of the best native wildlife habitats in California. This trail is perfect if you just want an easy hike for some fresh air and sunshine. Along your hike, you’ll have views of the coast and lush green landscapes. The best time to complete this hike is during the spring when you’ll get to see the bright and beautiful wildflowers.

Based on reviews, the trail is well-maintained and not crowded. There are some narrow parts of the trail with other trails available. Finding parking is easy and it has some great inclines.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2.7 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 757 Feet

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5. Catalina Trail

Credit: Christine Ho

This trail begins below the Trump National Golf Course. It starts on the Eastern side of Founders Park and is next to the clubhouse. Catalina Trail runs along the Oceanside bluffs. This trail is popular for hiking, trail running, and walking. It is open all year long and is dog-friendly (trail only) as long as they are on a leash.

Based on reviews, this trail has beautiful scenery and many rocks. You’ll want to arrive earlier in the day so parking won’t be an issue. The trail will take you around forty minutes to complete.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 265 Miles

6. Quarry Loop Trail

Credit: 8pl

This moderately challenging hike located in Palos Verdes is perfect even for beginner hikers. During your hike, you’ll be able to enjoy nature and even have the opportunity to go birdwatching. When hiking up the hill it does get a bit steep but has a nice downhill descent and gorgeous views. When preparing for your hike, make sure you pack a good pair of hiking boots for rocky portions of this trail.

Based on reviews, visitors say this hike is fairly quick, has great inclines, and has amazing views. If you plan on getting to the trail early, the parking lot doesn’t open until 7 am.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 1.2 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 321 Feet

7. Point Vicente Trail

Credit: Ken Lund

Point Vicente Trail in Palos Verdes is an easy trail that takes around thirty-three minutes to complete. It is pet-friendly so feel free to bring your dogs as long as they are on a leash. You also may want to pack your binoculars as you may be able to catch a glimpse of several types of birds. This trail is well-marked and you’ll be able to see some amazing cliffside views. If you need to bring a stroller or wheelchair, some steep areas may require some assistance.

Based on reviews, many visitors love to bring their dogs along on this trail. It has beautiful views, and easy walking paths, but can become a bit crowded on weekends. If you’re lucky, you may be able to spot some whales during the right season!

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1.6 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 85 Feet

8. Lunada Bay Trail

Credit: David Gordon

If you’re looking for a free and easy trail, you’ll want to check out Lunada Bay Trail. This trail will take you around an hour and fifteen minutes to complete. You’ll find that the steepest section is this trail about a quarter of a mile in, after that you’ll arrive at the best spot that overlooks Agua Amarga Canyon. This trail is great for hiking, walking, and bike riding.

Based on reviews, visitors say most of this trail is rocky so you’ll want to have a sturdy pair of hiking boots. Even though it’s an easy hike, it’s not recommended for smaller children because of the rocky conditions. Keep an eye out as you may run into some potential wildlife.

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
Distance: 1.9 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 550 Feet

9. Shipwreck Trail

Credit: Howard-f

If you’re looking for an interesting moderately challenging hike, you’ll want to check out Shipwreck Trail and all of its uniqueness. This trail has cliffs, and rocky paths, and you’ll get to see an actual shipwreck at the end of it. Before your hike, make sure you have a good pair of sturdy hiking boots as this is a very rocky area.

If you’re planning to bring your dog, we recommend leaving them home as the rocky conditions may be difficult. Along the way, you may be able to spot some sea lions in the waters.

Based on reviews, visitors say this is a nice trail with great views. The trail has little shade so make sure you bring plenty of water and sunscreen.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 4.6 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 410 Feet

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10. Terranea Trail

Credit: Andi Konieczny

The Terranea Trail is a great family-friendly hike you’ll want to go check out on the weekend. During your hike, you’ll be wowed with amazing views from the cliffs. It is a mostly dirt trail that has some paved areas.

If you plan to bring small children, you can bring a stroller, just be prepared for a small stairs area towards the end. Due to its easy eating, many small kids love to tag along on this outing.

Based on reviews, visitors say this trail has well-marked paths that are easy to follow. On your hike back there is a small elevation and restrooms located throughout the trail. Along your hike, you may see sea lions and even pelicans.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 209 Feet

11. Palos Verdes Estates Loop

Credit: Andi Konieczny

This trail is an easy hike that takes almost two hours to complete. It is partially paved and great for hiking, walking, running, and bike riding. This trail is also pet-friendly as long as they are on a leash. Make sure you bring a good pair of sneakers as this trail is very sandy.

Along the way, you’ll be able to have a view of the city of Los Angeles. If you’re looking for more of a nature hike, you may want to go with a different trail as this one pops in and out of residential areas.

Based on reviews, visitors love the views of this trail and the fact that it is easy to complete. One tip we’d like to recommend is to have a detailed map as the trail is not very well-marked.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 4.8 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 446 Feet

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12. George F. Canyon Nature Trail

Credit: Rolling Hills Estates

The George F. Canyon Nature trail is an easy hike that is also great for walking and horseback riding. It is family-friendly, has wildflowers, an abundance of wildlife, and is dog-friendly as long as they are on a leash. Half of the trail is flat and the other half has a slight incline.

Along the way be aware that you may run into some poison oak, so keep a close eye on small children. There’s not much shade so make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen.

Based on reviews, visitors say this trail is very clean and well-marked. The trail is quiet and you might even get to see some hummingbirds and hawks. Visitors also say to watch your step as you may run into some horse poop!

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1.8 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 331 Feet

13. Abalone Cove Trail

Credit: Sean Doorly

Abalone Cove trail is an easy hiking trail with spectacular views. Before making the trip, you should know that parking is six dollars for two hours, and twelve dollars for anything more than two hours. The beauty of this hike is that you can simply walk down the beach if you want to take a break.

The beach area is beautiful and there is even a small waterfall near the water. One spot you’ll want to check out on your hike is Inspiration Point with the amazing ocean view.

Based on reviews, visitors say the best time to make this hike is early when the tide is low. The trail is easy, has slight inclines, and dusty portions, and is dog-friendly.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1.1 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 173 Feet

14. Martingale Trailhead Park

Credit: Business Yab

Martingale Trailhead Park is a great place if you want to complete a moderate hiking spot. The trail has beautiful landscaping and even a new water fountain visitors can use. This is a fun trail that has some steep areas so always take extra precautions.

There is currently no parking area, but you can find parking on the side of the road. Based on reviews, visitors say you’ll want to watch out for poison oak. This trail has plenty of shade for resting.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 2.27 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 696 Feet

15. Burma Road Trail

Credit: Ken Lund

Burma Road trail is a moderately challenging hike that has a wide trail available. You’ll get beautiful ocean views, but parking may be a bit difficult. . The trail is mostly downhill, but on the way back is all uphill and very exposed.

You’ll want to make this hike early in the morning or late in the evening with plenty of water to stay hydrated. This trail will give you a very challenging workout and even offers many shaded areas along the way.

Based on reviews, visitors seem to dislike the fee to park. To park within a mile of the trail you’ll need to pay ten dollars. Other than the parking fee, visitors love this spot for its ocean views.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 4.7 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 994 Feet

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