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Cabrillo National Monument Bayside Trail

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Great views of San Diego, mountains, Mexico, planes and ships, a nice stroll
Near:San Diego, CA
Distance:2.25 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:400 ft
Hike Time:1.5 hours
Trail Condition:Fire road/pavement
HikeType:Out and Back

Summary: This is a leisurely jot. I hiked this with my mom when she visited me in December. We both enjoyed the views of San Diego, even though a low-lying coastal haze obscured a better look at the mountains. If you get a brochure at the nature center, you can look at the interpretive signs along the trail and get a better understanding of the monument and some native plants and animals - non-native ones too.

This is a monument for the Spanish explorer, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, he was the first European to set foot on the Western US, and he explored up and down the coast. you can find out a lot of the history at the visitor center.

This was a lot of fun, and if you have some older or younger relatives visiting in the San Diego area, I would suggest a visit. You can also admire the ships and planes that land and embark from the Naval base in San Diego. It was very pleasant and we were completely alone on the trail.

Trailhead: From the I-5 south in San Diego take the Sea World Drive Exit heading southwest toward Tecolote Road. Turn right onto Sea World Drive - stay straight to go onto Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Take a slight left onto Nimitz Blvd. Turn right onto Chatsworth Blvd. Turn left onto Catalina Blvd. Catalina Blvd. becomes Cabrillo Memorial Dr.

You will need to pay a $5 entrance fee, unless you have your National Parks Pass.

The trail is super easy to find, because this place is tiny. Check out the visitor center and the lighthouse. From the lighthouse, walk south on the road and the trail is clearly marked. It's an old army/navy road. (Lat:32.67498 Lon:-117.23745)

Trail Guides for Cabrillo National Monument Bayside Trail:
Walking the California Coast
by John McKinney (Harper Collins)

California Hiking
by Tom Sinestra and Ann Marie Brown (Avalon Travel)

Day Hikers Guide to Southern California
by John McKinney (Olympus Press)

Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Cabrillo National Monument (619) 557-5450
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Allen Riedel, who has posted  123 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews  Submit your own review
Reviewed by Grace on 3/29/2011
Paradise on earth.......nuff said.

Reviewed by KV on 5/21/2009
Portuguese Explorer (not Spanish as stated above). Great easy Hike with beautiful views. Excellent Family hike/outing.

Reviewed by Mark on 12/27/2008
Not really a hike, more of a walk. But if you live here, it's a must do once. Good views of all the other mountains east to hike & interesting to see SD from this view point. This would be good for guests, out of towners & your perents.

Reviewed by Lacy on 4/28/2007
I just got back, what a great view! The airport is visible from the trail, the city skyline,old military buildings, very interesting. I went looking for a fault line here, it is still visible around the first corner when you start the trail!

Reviewed by Michelle on 9/9/2005
I think the lighthouse was a little bit more exciting than the actual hike! It was very loud and crowded, as there are helicopters and planes taking off constantly. It was fun to check out all the war buildings along the trail. I think the only reason I'd come back would be to show off the lighthouse to others.

Reviewed by Solrac on 9/6/2005
Great hike that anyone can do. I liked it because it is well maintained and that there it is wasnt over conjested like cowless mountain. It is a must hike for anyone who lives in san diego and who wants to go on a quick refreshing hike or run. You can see more pictures if you go to my site at and other hikes that I have gone on. Oh and by the way thanks to the individual who have put this sit together, keep up the great work!

Reviewed by Jesse on 4/8/2005
A must to show out-of-towners! The short hiking trail shows off the sparkling pacific ocean, San Diego bay, Coronado and the downtown skyline. On a clear day, you can see the small Coronado Islands out in the pacific just south of Coronado. The inland mountains and Mexico can also be seen on a clear day. Everyone in San Diego needs to visit this park at least once!

Reviewed by Orson B. on 3/26/2005
Unfortunately, due to the recent rains, this trail is closed about 1/2 mile in. I'll come back though when it reopens because the views of downtown and the surrounding moutains are spectacular!

Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: California Hiking, California Trails, California Hikes, San Diego County Hiking, San Diego County Trails, San Diego County Hikes

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