Terranea Discovery Trails

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On the trail to the beach & sea caves at Terranea Resort

A short easy hike worth stopping for as you head down Palos Verdes Dr S in Rancho Palos Verdes is the Discovery Trails at the luxury Terranea Resort.  Stunning rocky shoreline scenery including sea caves, tidepools, native plants and occasional view of dolphins or even whales along this attractive trail make up for the fact you are walking thru a developed area. This was the former site of Marineland which closed in the late 80's.  Discovery Trail stretches from the sea caves near the end of the resort on Terranea Way up the coast toward Point Vicente, which you can connect to Point Vicente trails from this Terranea trail for a little longer and more challenging hike.  Terranea Resort provides two coastal access free public parking lots, click here for a parking location map.  Click any pic below to enlarge. 

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The sea caves are shown in the pics above and below.  This is close to the public parking lot on Terranea Way.  You will see a man made pond surrounded by cattails next to the parking lot.  Walk toward the resort buildings, down the stairs following the walkway thru the resort.  At the ocean look down the coast to your left, the caves will be in sight.  You will also see a number of telescopes on the bluffs.  Right in this area dolphins are often seen feeding in the kelp beds.  Follow the trail to the right down to the "beach" by the caves.  If anything is roped off and/or you see closed or keep out signs turn back, like many bluffs at Palos Verdes Peninsula this area sometimes is sometimes prone to hazardous rock slides.

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After walking to the caves and beach return back on the trail the same way.  Follow Discovery Trail passing the point where you started and continuing up the coast. 

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After a short distance, rounding the point the tidepools will be in view.  During very high tides or high surf the waves often wash over the trail at this point.  Always best to check the tidecharts and use caution at high tide.  Minus tides are the best for tidepooling, especially here.  Not far past the tidepools you will come across an ocean front restaurant. 

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Continuing up the trail passing the restaurant the rocky shoreline scenery is very nice, soon Point Vicente Lighthouse is in view.  The trails will eventually connect up with the second public parking lot at Terranea (off Palos Verdes Drive).  From that parking lot you can connect up with Point Vicente Reserve's Pescadero trail which leads down the bluffs to the beach, but make sure to know the tide and surf conditions first.  Or you can continue on the trails parallel to Palos Verdes Drive, passing the lighthouse to Pointe Vicente Park, continuing up the coast on the Point Vicente trails by Point Vicente Interpretive Center. 

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