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Forrestal Reserve, Palos Verdes Nature Preserve

Purple Sage Trail, 3/29/11

Ocean views, short but steep trails, coastal sage scrub habitat and interesting rock formations in an old quarry are a few things you'll find on this 155 acre scenic reserve.  You can easily make an all day hike in this section of Palos Verdes Nature Preserve.  Four reserves are connected here.  The trails in Forrestal Reserve connect to the next reserve over which is Portuguese Bend Reserve; the next reserve over from Portuguese is Upper Filiorum and then Three Sisters Reserve, although from Portuguese I'm not sure where the trails link up (but I'm told they do by local hikers).  These four reserves total to approximately 900 acres of contiguous open space and wildlife corridors. 

Another close by reserve, separated from Portuguese Bend Reserve only by Palos Verdes Drive S, is Abalone Cove Reserve, which includes Sacred Cove.  This reserve connects to Abalone Cove Shoreline Park, and includes beach access and tidepools.  As you hike the trails at Forrestral Reserve (and Portuguese Reserve) the ocean view seen below is Sacred Cove and Abalone Cove. 

On this early Spring day, not far down Purple Sage Trail I found yellow daisies, California Bush Sunflower, Sage, Lemonade Berry (to name a few) all in bloom along with sound of many buzzing bees.  Tiny colorful butterflies fluttered across the trail.  Pygmy Blue and the endangered Palos Verdes Blue butterflies are among those found in this area. 

As in all natural areas use caution, rattlesnakes are found here.  You might find helpful info on my
safety page.  The pictures below are only a sample of the scenery found here.  Click any picture below to enlarge. 

For trail maps, directions and more info on this reserve see the official Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy Forrestral Reserve webpage at: 

Near trailhead on Purple Sage Trail, 3/29/11

Purple Sage Trail, 3/29/11

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Ocean view of Sacred Cove and Abalone Cove from Conqueror Trail, 3/29/11

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Purple Sage Trail, 3/29/11

Below, hiking from Forrestal Reserve approaching Portuguese Bend, the approximate site of a 260 acre landslide that began in 1956 resulting in loss of over 100 homes.  The land has been moving constantly (and quickly) since.  It is said since 1956 the land movement toward the sea has been 800+ feet at the slide head and 500+ feet at the toe.  Click here for a good article detailing the landslide causes and history.  A number of places on the peninsula are also prone to some land movement, which you can read about by clicking here.  Unsuitable for building the Portuguese Bend area has remained open space.  The land became part of the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve in 1985, linking other preserve properties to Forrestal Reserve and creating a continuous network of trails. 

Forrestal Nature Reserve Conqueror Trail /12-23-12-020.jpg
Conqueror Trail heading toward Portuguese Bend, view of Abalone Cove shoreline below, 12/23/12

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Portuguese Bend seen from Conqueror Trail, 12/23/12

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Fossil Trail, 12/23/12

At the end of Forrestal Drive in the reserve you will find the trail head to Fossil Trail which passes through the West end of the old Livingston Quarry which was operated starting in 1945 and closed in 1956 after the Portuguese Bend landslide.  Minerals extracted here included barite, quartz, dolomite, gypsum, and basalt, some which was used in constructing the Long Beach Breakwater.  Fossil Trail connects to several other trails in the upper portion of the reserve.  Flying Mane Trail can be taken to the Mariposa Trail/Quarry Trail loop around the East end of the quarry bowl (described in Nobody Hikes in L.A.’s blog linked at the end of this page).  Click here for a trail map

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Flying Mane Trail near Fossil Trail, 12/23/12

Forrestal Nature Reserve /12-23-12-062c.jpg
Rock face on the west end of the old quarry (near Fossil/Flying Mane/Canyon View trails), 12/23/12

Quarry Trail begins near the iron gate on Forrestal Drive upon entering the preserve.  A loop can be hiked around the perimeter of the quarry bowl, starting on Quarry Trail to Basalt Trail, then Mariposa Trail and returning on Pirate Trail.  Falling rock warning sign is clearly marked at the trail head, good to remember when hiking this area it joins to an area of constant land movement; near the quarry walls listen carefully and you will probably often hear the sounds of small rocks sliding down the almost sheer walls.  Although I can’t find a wildlife list for this area, it looks like great habitat for cliff dwelling creatures and birds, some which I heard but couldn’t see or identify. 

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Quarry Trail, 12/23/12

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Falling rock danger sign on Quarry Trail (click pic to enlarge), 12/23/12

Livingston Quarry Forrestal Reserve Quarry Trail /12-23-12-138c.jpg
East end of the old Livingston Quarry, seen from the low section of Quarry Trail, 12/23/12

External Links:

Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy Map
(showing all nature preserves):

Nobody Hikes in LA blog writeup on Mariposa Trail-Quarry Loop Trail at Forrestal Reserve:


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