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Trails at Sunset Cliffs Park

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park extends for some one and a half miles along Point Loma's ocean-facing side. The northern part covers only the cliffs that separate Sunset Cliffs Boulevard from the ocean. The remainder of the park includes a half-mile-long strip of coastline, plus some hillsides sloping upward toward the campus of Point Loma Nazarene College.

The natural erosion of the sea cliffs here proceeds at a geologically galloping pace -- thought to be dozens of feet per century. Elaborate retaining walls designed to dissipate wave energy have been installed to keep Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and nearby homes from being undermined. The wilder south end of the park is actually quite trampled and eroded due to many causes; among them encroachment on park land by playing fields and parking lots used by the college, and improper drainage. Nonetheless, you can spend a pleasant hour or two following the small, informal network of trails starting at Ladera Street and Cornish Drive. They can take you up and down the hillsides and out to the tops of the low cliffs, just above where the ocean waves splatter against water-worn boulders.

Near sunset on clear days, a golden glow settles across the ocean and cliff faces, and Sunset Cliffs Park becomes one of the best places to celebrate the day's end. At nearby Cabrillo National Monument you can't usually do this most of the year, since the monument closes too early in the afternoon.

Exploring tidepools is another favorite activity at Sunset Cliffs Park. Starting in October and ending in March, extreme low tides occur during afternoon hours -- not in the wee hours of the morning as in the spring and summer. During episodes of negative tides (that is, ocean water levels lower than the mean lower low tide), much of the intertidal zone is uncovered. Over the next two months, negative tides will occur during the afternoons of October 15 through 19, November 1 through 4, and November 13 through 18. Use the steep steps at Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and Ladera Street to reach the intertidal zone below. The tidepools there aren't the best for gazing at marine life, but it's fun to pick your way along the rocky shoreline beneath the banded cliffs.

Sunset Cliffs Park is great for kids, but little ones must be watched carefully. Most of the cliff edges are unfenced, and it's possible to slip on the hard-packed, eroded soil.

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Sunset Cliffs Natural Park extends for some one and a half miles along Point Loma's ocean-facing side. The northern part covers only the cliffs that separate Sunset Cliffs Boulevard from the ocean. The remainder of the park includes a half-mile-long strip of coastline, plus some hillsides sloping upward toward the campus of Point Loma Nazarene College.

The natural erosion of the sea cliffs here proceeds at a geologically galloping pace -- thought to be dozens of feet per century. Elaborate retaining walls designed to dissipate wave energy have been installed to keep Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and nearby homes from being undermined. The wilder south end of the park is actually quite trampled and eroded due to many causes; among them encroachment on park land by playing fields and parking lots used by the college, and improper drainage. Nonetheless, you can spend a pleasant hour or two following the small, informal network of trails starting at Ladera Street and Cornish Drive. They can take you up and down the hillsides and out to the tops of the low cliffs, just above where the ocean waves splatter against water-worn boulders.

Near sunset on clear days, a golden glow settles across the ocean and cliff faces, and Sunset Cliffs Park becomes one of the best places to celebrate the day's end. At nearby Cabrillo National Monument you can't usually do this most of the year, since the monument closes too early in the afternoon.

Exploring tidepools is another favorite activity at Sunset Cliffs Park. Starting in October and ending in March, extreme low tides occur during afternoon hours -- not in the wee hours of the morning as in the spring and summer. During episodes of negative tides (that is, ocean water levels lower than the mean lower low tide), much of the intertidal zone is uncovered. Over the next two months, negative tides will occur during the afternoons of October 15 through 19, November 1 through 4, and November 13 through 18. Use the steep steps at Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and Ladera Street to reach the intertidal zone below. The tidepools there aren't the best for gazing at marine life, but it's fun to pick your way along the rocky shoreline beneath the banded cliffs.

Sunset Cliffs Park is great for kids, but little ones must be watched carefully. Most of the cliff edges are unfenced, and it's possible to slip on the hard-packed, eroded soil.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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