If you have read this blog for some time, you know there are two green areas I love to visit and explore (yes, those exist around Los Angeles).
One of those places is Malibu. While the city is not that far from where I live, the only way to get there is by driving the chock-full-of-traffic PCH (and going thru Venice Beach and Santa Monica) or taking the freeway and crossing the Santa Monica Mountains (which is another horrific idea traffic wise).
Therefore, when I need a quick dose of fresh air and ocean vistas I go to the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
For those of you not familiar with the area, the Palos Verdes Peninsula rises 1,450 feet above the South Bay of Los Angeles County. Scientists tell us the peninsula is a tectonic fault block of seafloor sediments that have risen from the sea. There use to be a gap between the mainland and the block of land (it was an island). The island latter became a peninsula when the region between the island and the mainland filled with alluvial deposits from the mountain ranges near the Los Angeles basin.
Because of many reasons (late development when compared to other areas of the region, unstable terrain related to faults, conservation efforts), the peninsula has been spared from the concrete and asphalt that covers most parts of the Los Angeles Country.
In here you can find trails, wildflowers, ocean cliffs, tide pools, rare trees, wildlife and water in tones resembling the Caribbean. I am not exaggerating on the description of the beaches. In fact, the film Pirates of the Caribbean was partly photographed in this area.
This post is about those ‘secret coves’ which are not widely known or visited in the peninsula. These are places frequented by the locals.
Note: To visit these coves, take the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) in the southern direction and turn right on Palos Verdes Boulevard. A few miles ahead, you are going to get to an intersection where the road diverts. Make sure to stay on Palos Verdes Drive West. This is the scenic road which is going to take you thru the cliffs.
This a famed surf spot noted for its large swells. Because of its size, it is considered a bay. To get there, you can turn right on Paseo del Mar (after passing the Lunada Bay Plaza). There is parking available on the street.
This is a stunning cove where red cliffs and turquoise waters abound. If you are coming from Palos Verdes Drive, turn right on Paseo Lunado (which is going to convert to Paseo del Mar). If you are coming from Lunada Bay, you do not have to go back to the main road. Drive south on Paseo del Mar and turn right on a small street (look smore like a bridge) passing over the Lunada Canyon. Turn right again and drive a few meters. You are going to see a bare and dusty area to the right. The cove cannot be seen from the street. You have to get out of the car and take a look. I know this sounds kind of confusing. Just remember Google Maps is your best friend in here.
Christmas Tree Cove
This cove is ‘next’ to Honeymoon Cove. Drive south on Paseo del Mar and you are going to notice it to the right (the street narrows). This is an interesting area since a landslide happened here.
To get here, you have to get back to Palos Verdes Drive and turn right on Calle Entradero. You are going to see the parking lot right in front of the sea (there is also parking on the street). You can take a look at the area from the Golden Cove Trail. This trail connects to the Seascape Trail, the Vicente Bluffs Reserve, the Point Vicente Interpretative Center and the Point Vicente Lighthouse. Therefore, there is an opportunity to do some walking and hiking around here. Notice you can access the area from other streets (like Via Vicente).
- All these can be visited free of charge.
- You can get to the bottom of all these coves but you have to be very careful. In order to get to the water level, you have to go thru steep terrain and non-maintained trails. People get rescued all the time (so analyze the situation carefully). In addition, pay attention to sea conditions and tides if get down.
- Get exact directions from Google Maps.
- Don’t forget to check my other Palos Verdes posts: Pelican Cove, Abalone Cove, Bluff Cove and Terranea Cove.
What is your favorite cove?