Hike Abalone Cove Trail to Explore the Tide pools and Rock Formations

Abalone Cove Trail in Palos Verdes is a short trail to a beautiful beach on the Pacific Coast of Southern California. Once you park, you can follow the trail down the cliffside to explore the tide pools with all kinds of sea creatures and really interesting rock formations.

Hiking Info

  • Trailhead location: Abalone Cove Shoreline Park

  • Nature Trail: 1.1 Mile Out & Back Trail

  • Rated: Easy

  • Elevation change: 150 ft

  • There is a parking lot here open 9am-4pm. It’s a flat rate for 2 hours with an additional fee for over two hours.

  • Bathrooms at trailhead

  • Leashed dogs are allowed

Note: The tide sometimes creeps up here to cover the beach, you can check a tide chart ahead of time to make sure you can step foot onto the sand.

When To Go

The best time of year to go is December and January to view the tide pools while the water is at low tide.

The Hike: Abalone Cove Trail

Star this hike on the south side of the parking lot.

As you descend the trail, the coastline is in clear view on your right side. The trail takes you through coastal sage scrub and offers panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Along the way, keep an eye out for the diverse array of plant life, from coastal buckwheat to California sagebrush, adding a tapestry of colors to the landscape. This will be even more beautiful and colorful in the Spring.

Once you’re down the the beach, you’ll walk down along the water among the rocks.

The biggest tidepools are towards the south end of the cove. One of the highlights of the Abalone Cove Trail is the opportunity to witness the rich marine life that inhabits the tidal pools. There are a lot of a lot of creatures in the tide pools like sea anemones, urchins, sea stars, hermit crabs, and starfish. They are safe to touch, but don’t try to pick them up or take them off of the rocks. This is a protected area for marine life and we should take care not to hurt the animals.

If you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of dolphins or whales playing offshore.

Wear shoes with good traction so you don’t slip on the rocks!

The tide pools are really colorful like below, I imagine the colors are even brighter as sunrise or sunset.

California Brown Sea Hares below below were everywhere when we visited this site (November 2023).

It looks like this lobster didn’t make it, just the remnants of it’s shell among the rocky shoreline.

Hiking boots by Adidas

Abalone Cove was once inhabited by the indigenous Tongva people, and remnants of their presence, such as ancient bedrock mortars, can still be found along the trail.

The Abalone Cove Trail in Palos Verdes is a testament to the natural wonders of Southern California. If you’re looking for a peaceful escape by the ocean, this trail is a perfect nature walk. So, lace up your hiking boots, embrace the coastal breeze, and let the Abalone Cove Trail captivate you.


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