Distance: 1.1 Miles (Sunset Cliffs), 2.2 Miles (Cabrillo National Monument)
Elevation Gained: 0, 320
Difficulty: Easy, easy
Time: 0:47:00, 0:48:00
Critters: Dog of the day: Zooms!
– Sweet ocean breezes
– Great views of San Diego
– Not enough trails
Note: Cabrillo National Monument requires a $5 fee.
As part of what is now becoming our weekly Saturday off – yes, I know we only get one Saturday per week – Kelly and I set off for a full day that included a final for a relational violence class, lunch at a curry restaurant, two brief hikes on Point Loma, and a Padres game with friends Justin and Lisa.
Our first stop was Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, which sits on a collection of cliffs in Ocean Beach. The trail network here looks entirely made up. In fact, there are plenty of stretches in which there is no real trail, and you are pretty much free to go wherever you wish. However, use caution since the cliffs here are unstable. The sandstone erodes so quickly that the cliff sides can give out without a lot of warning.
We wandered along the edges of the cliffs – at a respectable distance, of course – and, on a few occasions, ventured down into narrow gullies that spilled out onto the beach. Tide pools and moss covered rocks littered the beach, which reminded me of Torrey Pines Beach further south, but more developed. The trails don’t go very far or offer much variety, and we saw all that there was to see in a short time. I wouldn’t consider this much of a hike, but Jerry Schad says it is, which makes it so.
Our second stop was Cabrillo National Monument at the bottom tip of Point Loma. Cabrillo Monument is said to be the point where Cabrillo landed in California and became the first European to set foot on what would later become the United States of America. From this peninsula, he would trek inland, checking out much of San Diego County. He would later venture north, checking out San Pedro harbor, Catalina, and the Channel Islands, upon one of which he died from infection. Be warned, though; Cabrillo is also said to be one of the two busiest National Monuments in the country due to its proximity to tourist-rich San Diego. Expect crowds.
Cabrillo offers one notable trail, called the Bayside Trail. The Bayside Trail starts at the old lighthouse and descends down a gently sloping road, which transitions from pavement to gravel after .3 of a mile. At this point, iconic views of San Diego Harbor and downtown San Diego open up for the hiker.
The views are great here with the marine layer, but must be phenomenal on a clear winter day. In fact, the brochure tells me that the San Bernadino Mountains, 100 miles to the north, are visible on the clearest day, along with all of the peaks in the San Diego area. Must be one hell of a view. I’ll be back in the winter, or perhaps even October, when the Santa Anas are blowing the crap out to sea.
Afterwards, we booked it over to Petco Park for the best seats I have ever had at a baseball game. We were first row, parallel to third base. Holy crap, were these great seats. We could not relax a whole lot since a foul ball could come screaming at us at any time. The players were mere feet away, and all of the action happened incredibly quickly. Bravo to Kelly for scoring those tickets.
Great Saturday! It was nice to cross these two off the list. I may not go back to Sunset Cliffs, but I will say that both offer great ocean and city views. If you happen to be near Point Loma, they’re definitely worth a stop.
June: 3.3 Miles