Torrance Beach to Lunada Bay

Tough but rewarding hike on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.  The scenery is incredible, some of the rocky beach terrain terrible to hike on.  A unique experience for me.  I’ll be back soon.


I parked in the Torrance State Beach parking lot and paid $2 for parking.  I hiked down this ramp and headed south on the soft sand.

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After 0.7 miles I reached the Palos Verdes Beach Club.  The sandy beach ends here and is supplanted by rocks.  I had planned to continue hiking down the beach but the tide looked too high to pass the point.  I turned around.  Right before the beach club is a road that leads up to the bluffs above.  I took it.


11   The short road leads up to Paseo Del Mar, right across from Malaga Cove School.

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When I was down on the beach I noticed this gazebo perched on the bluff above.  Photo 4 – Palos Verdes Beach Club from the gazebo.


View from the gazebo.  Seeing the Santa Monica Bay from this side for the first time, after looking at it from the opposite direction for my whole life, was a little mindbending.

17     18   On Paseo Del Mar, I passed a church on the right.  The front yards in the area are something to behold.  People in Palos Verdes take their landscaping seriously.

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21   After walking a short ways down Paseo Del Mar I came to the obvious dirt trail that led down past Flat Rock Point to the beach of Bluff Cove.  Photo 2 – Looking back at Flat Rock Point.  Photo 3 – The crescent-shaped Bluff Cove

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26       27      28   There was no more sand from this point forward, just a billion rocks.  Photo 2 – Tomb of the Unknown Surfer  Photo 4 – Looking back at Flat Rock Point  Photo 5 – The next 3 miles or so looked like this or worse.  No step could be trusted to be secure.  Even large, stable looking rocks might wobble under foot.  Photo 6 – Walking under a tree that had half it’s roots exposed.  Photo 7 – Colorful nasturtiums pop up here and there along the shoreline.

29     30   While walking closest to the bluff is usually the smoothest route, I took time to explore the tidepools.

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Life in the tidepools

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Photo 1 – Rock shaped by ages of pounding surf.  Photo 2 – 1,000 years from today – all that’s left of the human race

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Now approaching Rocky Point.  I passed some spindly-looking yucca plants growing on the hillside.


These rocks are hard and sharp and not a lot of fun to cross.

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As I approached Rocky Point I began to see bits and pieces of the rusted wreckage from the Greek freighter known as the Dominator.  The ship ran aground here in 1961.


47     48     49   Right past Rocky Point, as I entered Lunada Bay, is a structure that my guidebook calls a “stone surf hut”.


Lunada Bay from the beach

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There are two options when traveling from the beach to the bluffs in Lunada Bay.  Both these little trails are damn scary looking, the first one in particular.  I opted for the second trail, shown in photo 2, which I was told is a little longer but slightly less hairy.  I got half way up the trail to the bluffs and couldn’t quite understand how to continue on.  I waited for two surfers to climb past me and then followed in their path.  There are some exposed areas and some scrambling.  It made me nervous.  But then again maybe it’s just me.  The two surfers had no problem and they were wearing flip-flops and carrying surfboards.  Photo 4 – Not the best shot, but here is the top of the nerve wracking trail from the beach to the bluffs.

55   Resort Point from the bluffs above Lunada Bay

56   Rocky Point from the bluffs above Lunada Bay


Full shot of Lunada Bay

58     59     60   Photo 1 – Close-up of the sea vegetables in the water below.  Photo 2 – The top of that first scary trail, the one I didn’t take, which leads up from the beach.  Photo 3 – On the bluffs now, I started hiking on Paseo Del Mar again, this time in the opposite direction.  Much of the time is spent walking in-between houses so the view is obscured.  However, there are also plenty of little open areas that lead right to the edge of the bluffs and awesome ocean views.

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Pelicans flying by – groups of them would pass every two or three minutes, sometimes right at eye level.

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67   Ocean views from the bluffs

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70   I came to a point where Palos Verdes Drive intersects with Paseo Del Mar again.  I was supposed to take Paseo Del Mar here but became confused as the road turned back toward the direction I had just come.  Maybe it bends around and heads in the correct direction somewhere along the way.  Anyway, I continued down Palos Verdes Drive.  I eventually asked for directions and was told to turn left toward the ocean at the memorial park, shown in photo 5, with it’s sculpture and flag pole.  The park is right across the street from a fire station.

71     72   I immediately noticed “school ahead” signs and followed them down past Malaga Cove School and to the gazebo I explored earlier in the day.

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I hiked back down to Torrance Beach and headed for my car.  Crazy day.  Thank you, Palos Verdres.


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