Ocean Trails/Trump National Golf Course
A rocky beach below the bluffs is inaccessible to wheelchair riders, but ocean views are plentiful. There’s a small grassy area between the bluffs and clubhouse, with a few picnic tables that have stunning ocean views but fill up quickly. Nearby Marilyn Ryan Sunset Park is on a hill at the edge of the golf course, overlooking the driving range.
I intended to make my visit here a quick one, but ended up taking a leisurely stroll to admire the native plants and the views, spotting boats and Catalina Island in the sparkling ocean waters. I've gazed longingly at many a lush golf course with paved access routes that looked like they would make great accessible trails, and my suspicions have been confirmed: This golf course was a real beauty to hike.
Trailhead: At the first public parking lot on Trump National Dr. (by the clubhouse) or at La Rotunda Dr. parking lot
Length: 2-4 total miles
Typical Width: 4 ft. & above
Typical Grade: Mostly level or gentleSeveral steep stretches were not a problem in a motorized wheelchair. La Rotunda Dr. has a long uphill climb to Palos Verdes Dr. South.
DescriptionI was struck by the odd juxtaposition of this lush, green golf course and the mostly dry coastal scrub landscape surrounding it, but nonetheless appreciated the stunning setting for this hike, and that it is open to the public. There is no shade on the 3-mile route I followed, so come prepared with a hat and sunscreen. From the parking lot, head toward the ocean down a short, steep slope to a flat grassy area. A sign indicates the coastal trail to the left, but first make a quick loop around the expansive lawn on a paved walkway. A large stone marker describes this spot as the site of the first Japanese-American farm.
Back at the start of the loop, follow the decomposed granite coastal trail as it dips and climbs toward the ocean, then follows the coastline along the high bluffs for less than half a mile. Even though I passed many hikers and runners, I experienced a sense of isolation on some stretches; the golf course isn’t visible for much of the way. The vantage point high on the bluffs provides a good view of the varying hues of the water; bring binoculars to look for marine life.
After about a half-mile you come to a path on the left that leads steeply downhill and across a bridge. If you want to check out the waterfall on hole 17—and I highly recommend it—disregard the sign (as did everyone else) that says the path is for golf carts only. The falls were spectacular and thunderous, and I felt as if I’d been transported to the tropics.
In less than a quarter of a mile the trail ends at La Rotunda parking lot. You can either retrace your steps or extend your hike another two miles by traveling up La Rotunda Drive to Palos Verdes Drive South, and on to Marilyn Ryan Sunset Park. You’ll need to travel in the road on La Rotunda Drive because there is no sidewalk on one side and the other sidewalk has no curb ramps for its entire length, but traffic is minimal. Views of the hills dotted with luxurious homes offer a change of scenery.
At the top of the hill, turn left onto the path on Palos Verdes Drive South for another half-mile to Marilyn Ryan Sunset Park. The path is set below the road for part of the way, and native plantings help to obscure the road and traffic noise. Here you’re above the golf course and can see the course layout. Cross Trump National Drive to reach the park, or follow the road back to the parking lot.
The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
Accessible Parking: YesThe main lots for this hike are at the end of La Rotunda Drive and on both sides of the clubhouse at the end of Trump National Drive. The trailhead is at the lot just before the clubhouse, but the spaces here have no access aisle. The lots by the clubhouse have spaces with access aisles, but from there you must travel in Trump National Drive (which has little traffic) a very short distance to reach the trailhead. More spaces are along Palos Verdes Drive South; one is immediately west of Trump National Drive at Marilyn Ryan Sunset Point Park and another farther east, at a pullout.
Accessible Restroom: YesA short distance from La Rotunda parking lot and behind the clubhouse. The nicest is in the clubhouse and is open to the public.
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|Managing Agency:||City of Rancho Palos Verdes|
|Address:||1 Ocean Trails Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes|
|Nearest City:||Rancho Palos Verdes|
|Hours:||One hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. The parking lot at La Rotunda Dr. is locked at sunset.|
|Dogs:|| In restricted areas|
Allowed on the pathways but not on the beach
|Public Transportation:||Palos Verdes Peninsula Transit Authority|
Reviewed by Ann Ruth, February 10, 2013
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Thanks to our partner the California Coastal Conservancy
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