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Shipwreck Trail

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Great ocean views, lovely bays, exciting shipwreck to explore, rocky shoreline
Near:Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA
Distance:4 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:100 ft
Hike Time:2.5 hours
Trail Condition:Poorly maintained trail
HikeType:Out and Back

Summary: The goal of this hike is the Greek freighter Dominator, which ran aground at Palos Verdes point in 1961. The rusted hulk of this shipwreck is scattered along a half mile of the shoreline. Having never seen a shipwreck, I found this hike immensely fun and exciting.

Getting to the shipwreck involves a couple of miles slightly challenging and tiresome walking across shoebox to footstool sized rocks. I wish I had worn sturdier shoes! The shoreline is lovely, with interesting tide pools and rock formations, along with great views. Make sure to go at low tide, or you will find your feet getting quite wet.

After visiting the shipwreck, I headed back about a quarter mile, then scrambled up the cliffs to the road on a path near the end of the scattered wreckage. The road was a much, much faster return to the car. Note that the path up the cliffs is very exposed and I would strongly advise against it unless you are 100% comfortable scrambling on 3rd and 4th class rock.

Trailhead: From Redondo Beach, drive south on Highway 1 to Palos Verdes Blvd and head south. This turns into Palos Verdes Blvd West. Turn right on Via Corta, then right again at Via Arroyo. Finally a left on Paseo Del Mar. Park on the right side of the street at Flat Rock Point, just before you reach Via Horcada. Take the dirt access road that will take you down to the shoreline. (Lat:33.79692 Lon:-118.40671)
Trail Guides for Shipwreck Trail:
California Hiking
by Tom Stienstra & Ann Marie Brown  (Foghorn Press)

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

Afoot & Afield In Los Angeles
by Jerry Schad  (Wilderness Press)

Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs
Ranger Contact: Palos Verdes Estates Shoreline Preserve (310) 378-0383
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Jim Zuber, who has posted  104 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews  Page 1 of 12   Submit your own review
Reviewed by We on 3/24/2012

Reviewed by Uncle Sushi on 8/24/2011
Great Hike for newbies..Shoes a must bring water or refreshments "Brews" sunblock or a hat...great view of Catalina if the marine layer is willing...i agree short path a must ..unless you want to have a longer hike..Chef Dion

Reviewed by Hatter on 7/6/2011
Nice trail,lots of rocks to walk over or trip on, there is barley anything left of the ship "But still cool to see".... Make shur your out by hi tied.We saw a few people have to swim in

Reviewed by J on 5/10/2010
Nice views, but the rocks on the beach prevent you from looking anywhere but down. It was difficult and tiresome, and not worth it at all. The wreck was interesting, but there is a shorter path down. I wouldn't reccomend this to anyone, until a better path is made.

Reviewed by Britt & Gabe on 3/19/2010
LIke the other reviewers, we recommend that you do NOT take the trail starting at the location listed in the description. The trail only lasts 200 yards, then turns into shoreline rocks the whole way to the destination. This takes away from viewing any beauty while walking, as your focusing on not twisting your ankles. You can only walk on rocks for so long before the end goal, the shipwreck, becomes not even interesting anymore. If we had started at the pipe or even the steeper trail from Oakley Rd. we would have had much more time at the shipwreck and less time fumbling over rocks and dodging dead mammals. Definitely recommend seeing the shipwreck, as it is a small piece of local history, just take the aforementioned starting points.

Reviewed by William on 3/15/2010
This is a hard hike. A few hints, some of which are echoed by others. Go at low tide. Wear the most solid hiking shoes you have. One way up, is to walk about a 1/4 mile past (north of) the wreckage. Just walk north along the streets and there are some off-street trails with stunning views of the path below that you took. The mansions are also stunning. If you take any route other than back to the Flat Rock cove, then you must not fear heights as every trail up is steep. It is a very beautiful walk. The ship wreck itself has mostly disintegrated into the surf so it is the journey, not the destination for most people.

Reviewed by GAH on 1/29/2010
Great hike, but just a bit of advice: either wear jeans or be really careful, there are plenty of rocks with very sharp edges in loose dirt. I did this hike and didn't quite make it to the ship. A big rock came loose while I was stepping up on it and it rolled onto my leg and gave me a pretty nasty cut. I needed to get 7 stitches to close it up. It's nearly impossible to get any medical help down there, so try not to break any bones or get cut up too bad. Otherwise, very pretty hike, and I'm looking forward to going back to see the shipwreck.

Reviewed by ASB on 1/9/2010
Just want to point those that encountered the seals were mostly hiking June/ July/ Aug. I just did this walk (Jan)and saw no seals. A couple of small sharks that the fishermen probably tossed aside but no seals. Lots of flies, but they stay low to the ground so I wasn't swatting around my face. Took my dogs who are great mountain climbers but the rock are unsteady. If you bring your dog, keep on the cliff side of the shore so she'll be steady. But this isn't the best dog hike.

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, Los Angeles County Hiking, Los Angeles County Trails, Los Angeles County Hikes

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