If you're like most outdoor enthusiasts in Southern California, odds are you don't think of the South Bay as a prime destination for hiking trails. While you might not find anything comparable to Mt. Baldy down here, however, you may be pleasantly surprised by the number and variety of open spaces on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and the surrounding areas. From secluded canyons to ocean views that rival those of the Santa Monica Mountains, the trails of the South Bay and Palos Verdes Peninsulas are certainly worth a visit. How many of these hikes have you done?
Blufftop Trail. This trail rambles along the west side of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, providing nice ocean vistas. The short segment described here is a perfect way to unwind after a stressful work day and with great sunset views, it might not be a bad spot to keep in mind for Valentine's.
Chadwick Canyon. Tucked between a private school and a residential area, Chadwick Canyon is an easy to miss slice of open space with a variety of trees and good views of the South Bay from its upper reaches.
Forrestal Reserve to Portuguese Bend. The vista point at Portuguese Bend is arguably the South Bay's most popular hiking trail - but not many people approach it via the scenic and challenging route from the Forrestal Reserve. One of several possible routes between the two parks is described here.
George F Canyon. This short but vigorous hike offers a taste of real wilderness as it winds through woodlands on an undeveloped side of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. After climbing out of the canyon, the trail offers some nice views of the surrounding area.
Grapevine/Rim Loop. Once again we're back at the popular Portuguese Bend Reserve - but this hike explores two less-traveled routes in the northeastern corner of the park: the Rim and Grapevine Trails, providing some great ocean views.
Linden Chandler Preserve. This enjoyable hike uses bridle paths and single-track trails, exploring some woodlands and providing good views of the South Bay from its higher points.
Paseo del Sol Fire Road. Part fire road, part single-track, this short but challenging hike visits a quiet woodland and offers some panoramic views of the Santa Monica Bay.
Peck Park. Nestled in a busy residential area, the Hernandez Ranch area of Peck Park is a true urban oasis. From the hills, you get nice views of the Long Beach/San Pedro harbors and the trail also explores a surprisingly secluded wooded canyon.
Upper Filorium Reserve. Located between the Three Sisters and Portuguese Bend Reserves, Upper Filorium is one of the most recently designated open spaces in So Cal. A network of trails makes for a good variety of hiking opportunities, including the challenging route described here, which also visits the neighboring Portuguese Bend Reserve.
Vista Del Norte Trail. This short but steep climb brings you to a vista point where, if the air quality is good, you have nearly limitless views of the Santa Monica Bay, downtown L.A., the Hollywood Hills, the San Gabriel Mountains and more.