Will Rogers State Beach to Venice Beach

A 14 1/2 mile beach hike exploring the best of Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica and Venice.  This hike is a long, skinny loop.  I parked for free on Temescal Canyon Blvd. and crossed the highway to Will Rogers State Beach.  From there I walked in the sand right next to the surf all the way to the Venice Pier.  On the way back I took the mostly paved roads and bike paths exploring the Venice Boardwalk, Santa Monica Pier and Palisades Park.  There is a lot to see.  I had a great day.

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8   There are two options when traveling along toward Santa Monica/Venice from Will Rogers Beach – a paved bike/pedestrian pathway and the sandy beach.  I started off on the sand.  For about a half mile the sand is really soft and not very pleasant to hike on.

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But after that first half mile the hiking becomes much easier – mostly hard, flat sand for miles.

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The clouds blocked the Sun for a couple of minutes giving a good view of the city of Santa Monica.  Photo 2 shows the California Incline, the ramp which travels up from Pacific Coast Highway to Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica.

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Pelicans doing their thing.

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I approach the Santa Monica Pier at which I would stop later in the day.  The pier has it’s own little amusement park called Pacific Park, complete with Rollercoaster and Ferris wheel.  Venice Pier is about 2 1/2 down the coast from here.  For now I walked under the pier and continued down the beach.


Pacific Park – Santa Monica Pier

18     21     22   Photo 2 – Surfing lessons


Lost and Forgotten in Venice, CA

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25   Photo 1 – Lifeguard headquarters on Venice Beach?  Photos 2 and 3 – The hike to Venice Pier felt a little longer than it looked.  This pier is a very different kind of structure than the Santa Monica Pier.

29     26     30   The end of the pier is circular in shape.  There’s not too much happening here other than fishing and casual strolling.

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Look down and then up the coast from Venice Pier

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I notice a parasailer flying overhead.

35     34     33   There are a few benches at the end of the pier.  I sat and ate lunch, feeding the pigeons a few walnuts every now and then.  Later in the day I overheard a woman yelling at a man for feeding the birds.

36     37   My next stop – the loud and colorful Venice Boardwalk with it’s unique houses and shops and far out assortment of freaky folks.


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42       45   With all the crowds, music and color, there is an undeniable energy here.  There are a lot of homeless people, a lot of hustling going on, but no one approached me and I hiked along in peace.  There is also a heavy marijuana presence here – marijuana doctors, pipe shops, clothing stores with pro-weed t-shirts, etc.  Surprisingly, I didn’t smell any smoke as I passed through.  Photo 6 – This guy had taped a bunch of “Stink Packs” to his body.  I don’t know what a stink pack is nor what he was up to but I thought it best to get out of the area before he set them off and I wound up on some television prank show.


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Venice is home to Muscle Beach.  There is an outdoor workout pit next to the building in Photo 2.  Lou Ferrigno was not here on this day, sadly.

VIDEO: Ziplines next to Venice Beach.


52     51     53   Welcome to Venice


54     55     56   After the boardwalk I followed the bike path back toward Santa Monica Pier.  These blue emergency call boxes reminded me of something out of the movie Fahrenheit 451.


The Santa Monica Pier with the Santa Monica Mountains towering behind it.

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60   I arrive at the pier.  The first thing I came to is the old carousel, as seen in the movie “The Sting” among others.

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Walking out on the pier is free.  Here is the Pacific Park rollercoaster, the West Coaster, and the Pacific Wheel – I read it is the world’s first and only solar powered Ferris wheel.

VIDEO: The West Coaster in action.

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68       69      70   The end of the pier is used by fishermen mostly.  I think there’s also a restaurant.  There are ramps that run down to the very end.  Look back you’ll see all the pylons holding everything up.  Photo 5 – I spot a fire on the hillside up the coast a few miles.  Photo 7 – I exit the pier and turn left on Ocean Avenue.

72     71     73   Running along the bluffs of Ocean Avenue is the long, narrow strip of green known as Palisades Park.  There are a couple of options – one may walk along the straight sidewalk or the windy pathway next to the edge.

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There are four beach access points from Palisades Park that take you down the bluff and over the highway.

76     77   Pacific Coast Highway down below and a view up the coast from Palisades Park

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A statue of the city’s namesake Saint Monica stands just before you reach the junction with the California Incline.

81     82     83   Photo 1 – Also right before the California Incline is this overlook made up to look like a ship.  Photo 2 – A look back at the Santa Monica Pier with Palos Verdes in the background – from the bow of the “ship” at the California Incline.  Photo 3 – Crossing over the California Incline.

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86   The last beach access overpass is at Montana Avenue.  Just before I headed down I noticed something odd in the distance so I walked over to it.  This sculpture is called Gestation III.  The plaque mentioned something about the Winter Solstice, like maybe the light shines through the sculpture just right on that day, I’m not sure.  Anyway, it’s awesome.

89     87     88   And just a bit farther down is a rose garden – flowers and a statue of a benefactor from days long past.

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I made my way across the overpass at Montana Avenue and back down to the beach.

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Photo 1 – Looking back up at the palm lined Palisades Park from the beach.  Photo 2 – Heading back toward Will Rogers State Beach along the Bike/Pedestrian path, I passed this futuristic looking apartment building.  This is one of those Cliffside buildings supported by visible concrete pylons that looks like it should come crumbling down with any good sized earthquake, but it’s been standing there for as long as I can remember.

96     97   I passed by the traffic busy area where Chautauqua Blvd. meets Pacific Coast Highway.  I had no idea there was a pedestrian tunnel running beneath the road.  My day ends with one last look from Will Rogers State Beach.


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