Wilderness in the South Bay

Beautiful beaches, harbors, towns…The South Bay has all kinds of amazing attractions, but for those of us who live here we still need to get away from it all sometimes. For your consideration, here are a few great spots to enjoy some wilderness, right here in the South Bay:

Photo via South Coast Botanic Garden

South Coast Botanic Garden: The well-tended gardens here are beautiful, of course, but if you keep walking a little further down the hill, you’ll find some lovely and untamed wooded areas. If you need extra solitude, head down on weekday mornings – you’re almost certain to have the place to yourself. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $3 for kids ages 5 to 12 – but Tuesdays are free. 26300 Crenshaw Boulevard, Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Photo via Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy

Portuguese Bend Reserve: Want some gorgeous scenery among majestic rolling hills? The Portuguese Bend Reserve is your place. It’s a great place for a walk, and for seeing wildlife and native plants in their natural habitat. It’s part the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy’s extensive range of preserves on the peninusla (see a .pdf map here). To get to Portuguese Bend, enter near Del Cerro Park at the end of Crenshaw Boulevard (nearest cross street is Burrell Lane). Rancho Palos Verdes.



Photo via Hopkins Wilderness Park

Hopkins Wilderness Park [.pdf]: Wilderness- it’s right there in the name! This little park sits right in the middle of Redondo Beach and you might have driven right by it on Camino Real. But once you get through the gates, you could just as easily be in a forest somewhere. With a bubbling stream, two ponds, and plenty of trees, it’s a kid’s wonderland. Bring a quarter for the fish food dispenser so you can feed the fish. 1102 Camino Real, Redondo Beach.

Photo via Madrona Marsh Preserve

Madrona Marsh Preserve: This little preserve calls itself  “an island of wilderness in the city” and it’s a pretty amazing place, considering it’s right near one of the biggest malls in the country. The preserve is one of the last remaining vernal marshes in the country. A very helpful visitors’ center gives you good info on all of the wildlife and native plants to look out for. Cool events include occasional night hikes from 8 to 10 pm. 3201 Plaza Del Amo, Torrance.

Happy hiking!


Best Beach Hikes

Did you know that some of the most spectacular beach hikes are within a quick drive of your house? It’s true, and if you’re looking for a great way to spend a day with friends, kids, or even dogs, you should make these hikes part of your South Bay agenda.

Hike #1 starts from Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes. Don’t be intimidated by the large fancy signs for this posh club; the hiking trails (and parking) are open to the public. When you pull into the main driveway, follow the signs for public parking. Then head down the walking path down to the gazebo area. If you go on the hiking path straight ahead, you’ll find yourself on a steep path down to the beach, with many switchbacks. If you head to the left, you’ll get on a more gentle sloping that nevertheless has amazing views. It’s about a 10-minute walk down to the rocky beach, where you’ll find a naturist’s delight: rock cliffs, tide pools, sea creatures, and a relatively uncrowded beach. Note: Dogs are allowed on this path and the beach.

Hike #2 starts from Terranea in Rancho Palos Verdes. Park in the public lots that are just adjacent to Palos Verdes Drive South; the path begins at the very edge of the parking lot. This gently sloping, well-paved path is perfect for little kids or those who don’t do much hiking – it has frequent rest stops and informational placards. Follow the path all the way around the resort (at one point you’ll need to cut across a service driveway) to end up at another rocky beach. This one isn’t quite as “natural” as the one at Trump National, but we guarantee that you won’t be hearing any complaints from your hiking companions.

How lucky are we to live so close to such incredible attractions? Happy hiking!