Long Beach Oceanfront Trail

With our recent rains in mind I searched for a place that wouldn’t demand trudging through slippery mud. This paved bike/pedestrian path in Long Beach fit the bill nicely. The beach is sometimes loud and bright. Today it was mostly quite foggy.   Particularly early morning, I felt as if I were being wrapped in a soothing blanket of fog.  This seemed to have a calming effect on everyone.  We walked and passed, in friendly silence, as if acting out some unspoken agreement.  Every few minutes the silence was broken by the loud but pleasantly resonant blast of a nearby foghorn.
Hiking Distance: Approximately 8.5 to 9 miles

Driving Directions: I became confused and circled for a good 20 minutes before finding my starting point. I have since been able to get some clarity on the driving directions a la Mapquest: From the 405 South Fwy., merge onto the 710 South Fwy. Drive 3.25 miles. Take exit 1C on the left toward Downtown Long Beach/Convention Center/Aquarium. Drive 0.39 miles. Merge onto Shoreline Dr. West. Drive 1.75 miles. Turn right onto Shoreline Village Dr. for 0.11 miles and stay right on Shoreline Village Dr. for 0.08 miles. Park in the pay lot on the right.  I paid $14 for the day.

                  

At Shoreline Village, there are colorful shops and restaurants. I did not explore them.  To begin, I hiked around the breakwater on Queensway Bay. There are short piers here with great views of the Queen Mary.

In the fog she looked like a ghost ship.

              

Maybe I’ll visit one day.

            I hiked the hook-shaped breakwater to it’s end. There are feral cats living among the boulders along the waterline. I’ve seen this before on other beach hikes – cats love these boulders.

            The breakwater is about a 1/4 of a mile long, I would guess.  I backtracked to Shoreline Village.

              

Two fake lighthouses – The taller one is known as the Lions Lighthouse for Sight. I didn’t see a way to get over to there. I’ll add it to my itinerary for when I next hike in the area.

   With Shoreline Village on my left and a marina on my right, I joined the bicycle/pedestrain path.  I reached the beach in a half a mile..

              

   Soon I arrived at Long Beach City Beach. This beach is very wide at this end – a massive amount of sand between the water and the path.

   At the beach there are large, separate lanes for bikes and pedestrians. I began at marker 0.00 and decided to see what was on the other end, 3.00 miles away.

              

   There are several interesting apartment buildings near the path. The one with the spire, shown in photos 1 and 2, is called Villa Riviera.  Photo 3 – I also passed the Long Beach Arena, painted with a giant mural known as the Whaling Wall (clever).

              

I would imagine this beach and these paths are really crowded on sunny weekends. On this day, sweet desolation.

              

A mural painted over a platform which seems to have no purpose. I climbed the stairs to check it out.

        On the platform I found an empty briefcase. Was it stolen?  Whenever I do a beach hike near a big city, it always feels like there’s sketchy business going on.  Also, a delicious bowl of Cheerios left to soak in the drizzle.

To the right of the mural is a walkway that leads up to Bluff Park, a near mile long greenbelt which runs along the top of the bluffs, hence the name. One may continue this hike on the paved path, but I would recommend enjoying the views from above for awhile.

                  

Photos 1 and 2 – The first thing I ran into was the site of a WWII gun battery.  Photos 3 and 4 – Views from Bluff Park, back toward the Queen Mary and the dome that once housed the Spruce Goose, and then downcoast at man-made islands just offshore.

   In a short distance, the park seems to dead end at a street. The street leads back down to the beach.  To stick to the blufftop I walked toward the traffic light and crossed the street, following Ocean Blvd. east.

Just across the street is a small grassy area, Valparaiso Plaza.  There’s a beautiful corral tree and an old cannon.

            The plaque, if I’m guessing correctly, indicates the cannon is a gift from Valparaiso (in Chile), a Long Beach sister city  It was dedicated on the Bicentennial, July 4, 1976.

        From the cannon I walked down the street a short block, passing the Long Beach Museum of Art, and then rejoined Bluffs Park.

              

              

A bronze statue known as the Lone Sailor commemorates those who have served in the Navy.

        At 0.8 miles I took a staircase back down to the beach.

This put me just two or three hundred yards from Belmont Pier.

        Photo 1 – Futuristic counting machine recording the number of passersby.

   I took a tour of the pier.

                  

   Photo 1 – It’s a nice pier, with concrete benches marking the dates of important American battles and a restaurant at the end.  The extreme southern view is blocked off and used, I think, for customers who wish to dine outdoors. The pier extends both east and west, a “T” shape.

Close-up of the island to the east

              

There are also cool views to the west.

              

   After resting awhile I exited the pier. I always like to check out the underneath.

                  

   Remember the marker which began the three mile countdown? The pier sits just past the two mile point. So I continued on, along the sandy beach for a short distance.  Photo 4 – There were animal-shaped cut-outs stuck in the sand, usually near trashcans.  Photo 5 – Sure must have been a special dog.

        At last I reached the three mile mark, my turnaround point. I kind of expected the trail to end here, but it continues on.

            Sites from my return trip.  Photo 3 – An historic lifeguard station circa 1938.

Tai Chi Master

            I ended the day tired but happy. Thank you, Long Beach.

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