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Ocean Trails Ecological Reserve

Coastal bluff view, the trail winding down the bluffs is Switch-Back Trail

Heading down the coast along the bluff side of Trump’s famed golf course on Palos Verdes Peninsula you will find a network of ocean view trails stretching from the ritzy resort all the way to Shoreline Park.  Short but challenging (and sometimes slippery looking) trails wind down the bluffs to the waters edge.  The rocky shoreline views are fantastic.  This is a nice beach bluff hike in the spring, usually very green and covered with wildflowers. 

California Native Plant enthusiasts will enjoy the native coastal bluff scrub and coastal sage scrub landscape.  On the bluffs are Dudleya Virens or Santa Catalina Island Live-forever (other names for this plant are Bright Green Dudleya or Green Live-forever) found only on Santa Catalina Island, San Clemente Island and in parts of Palos Verdes Peninsula.  The rare coastal bluff plants Calandrinia maritima and Aphanisma blitoides are also found here.  Ocean Trails Reserve is also a habitat area for the endangered California gnatcatcher.

The area is open, feels more remote once past the golf course and there is no shade.  Free public parking is available in Trump’s golf resort on Ocean Trails Drive (lot marked by signs). 

To access Ocean Trails Reserve follow the coastal access signs thru the resort, the first path will be paved.  Keep walking the paved path past Sunrise Trail until the pavement ends taking the dirt trail along the bluffs (Catalina Trail).  Click any picture below to enlarge. 

Sunrise Trail (off to the right)

The paved trail from the resort ends, take dirt trail to the right (Catalina Trail)

Dudleya Trail - oceanTrPrt1/4-1-11-042.jpg
Dudleya Trail (at Catalina Trail)

Tidepools at the end of Dudleya Trail

Follow the easy nearly flat bluff top Catalina Trail across the bridge continuing down coast.  At the end of Catalina Trail take either Sagebrush Walk Trail or Gnatcatcher Trail down to Shoreline Park (both are difficulty level=moderate).  Along the way you will pass two optional steep side trails down the bluffs down to the beach: Dudleya Trail and Switchback Trail (both are difficulty level=challenging). 

Trump's golf club waterfall view from Catalina Trail

Bridge across what appears to be a former slide or gully area, on Catalina Trail

Ocean view from the bridge

Looking back at the bridge, I believe the 18th hole used to be here...

Catalina Trail - oceanTrPrt1/4-1-11-069.jpg
California Brown Pelican flyby on Catalina Trail, btn the bridge & Switchback Trail

Catalina Trail & Switchback Trail junction

Spring flowers on Catalina Trail

Switchback Trail - oceanTrPrt2/4-1-11-081.jpg
Switchback Trail (near the top at Catalina Trail)

Switchback Trail, tidepools below

Switchback Trail, going up

Catalina Trail ends at the junction of Sagebrush Walk Trail & Gnatcatcher Trail, either trail leads down to Shoreline Park.  You can make this a loop thru this end of the reserve by taking Sagebrush Walk Trail to Shoreline Park Trail to Gnatcatcher Trail and back to Catalina Trail (or the reverse starting on Gnatcatcher).  Return back to the parking lot at the golf course on Catalina Trail, same way you came.

Dudleya virens - oceanTrPrt2/4-1-11-099.jpg
Dudleya virens, rare succulent found only on some Channel Island and Palos Verdes Peninsula

Catalina Trail - oceanTrPrt2/4-1-11-110.jpg
Catalina Trail between Switchback Trail & Sagebrush Walk Trail

Sagebrush Walk Trail - oceanTrPrt2/4-1-11-116.jpg
Sagebrush Walk Trail (at Catalina Trail)

Interpretive sign telling about Shoreline Park area of the preserve, click pic to enlarge

Gnatcatcher Trail - oceanTrPrt2/4-1-11-118.jpg
To Shoreline Park via Gnatcatcher Trail

Sagebrush Walk Trail - oceanTrPrt2/4-1-11-123.jpg
Shoreline Park & Sagebrush Walk Trail

Shoreline Park Tidepool view - oceanTrPrt2/4-1-11-121.jpg
Sagebrush Walk Trail & tidepools at Shoreline Park


Newer photos on Facebook photo gallery "Ocean Trails Ecological Reserve, Jan 14th 2012

Ocean Trails Reserve Trail map:

Tidechart for Los Angeles Area

Map of all natural parks at Palos Verdes Nature Preserve:  http://www.palosverdes.com/rpv/recreationparks/Preserve_Information/index.cfm

List of trail maps for all parks in Palos Verdes Nature Preserve:


Shoreline Park habitat map:


A 2002 Sierra Club Newsletter about the acquisition of the Ocean Trails Golf Course by Donald Trump http://ormondbeachwetlands.org/coastwatcher-200211.html#trump

History of Ocean Trails on Trump’s website:  http://www.trumpnationallosangeles.com/Default.aspx?p=DynamicModule&pageid=288157&ssid=166809&vnf=1 

The Coastal Commission on Ocean Trails Golf Course (before Trump owned it) basically establishes what becomes Ocean Trails Reserve as conditions to allow public access to the coast and preserve habitat & openspace (which Trump inherited the responsibility).  Also some interesting reading on how this is a landslide area and how they stabilized it:  http://www.coastal.ca.gov/lb/A-5-93-5-A15.pdf

Page 4, 1991 conservation report on the area that is now a golf course:


Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy Timeline:


Hikes nearby Ocean Trails Reserve:
  Abalone Cove Shoreline Park
  Forrestal Reserve
  George F Canyon Preserve
  Portuguese Bend Reserve
  White Point Nature Preserve
  Point Vicente

Hiking Blog Reviews on Ocean Trails:
Nobody Hikes in LA (covering the Sunrise Trail, if you are hiking with kids I'd recommend this trail for beach access as the other beach access trails may be a little dangerous for kids):

Things I have to say:  when hiking you are responsible for your own safety, all open space areas have potential hazards.  Rattlesnakes are known to be in this area, also see my Safety Page.  On the shoreline hazardous tide and wave conditions can pose a risk, make sure to check tidecharts. 

Google Map Driving Directions to Ocean Trails 
(to free parking lot at the golf resort):

View Larger Map