Rancho Palos Verdes - Abalone Cove
Abalone Cove Shoreline Park is a nice park with a beautiful cove accessible from the bluffs via a hiking trail. Be aware, the beach here is very rocky and there are no sandy spots on this beach. Take a look at the picture called "Abalone Cove Beach View" to see if this beach is right for you. If you are looking for some adventures in hiking, tide pooling, and playing in the water (with your water shoes or Tevas to protect your feet from rocks), then this cove is your destination. The entrance to the parking lot is at 5970 Palos Verdes Dr S in Rancho Palos Verdes just past Sea Cove Drive if you are driving South from Hawthorne Boulevard (Highway 107 which turns into N7). Parking is free for the first 30 minutes, $6.00 for 30 minutes to 2 hours and $12.00 for over 2 hours. The attendant window is at the entrance. The parking lot is dirt and it is pretty sizable. The lot entrance gate is open from 9 am until 4 pm but the park remains open until 1 hour before sunset. Just be sure to arrive prior to 4 pm to get parking. The Exit gate will remain open until closing time, but be aware there is no overnight parking without a permit.
Abalone Cove View from Bluffs
Facility: Park hours are from 9 am - 4 pm Memorial Day through Labor Day and 12 pm - 4 pm weekdays and 9 am - 4 pm on weekends the rest of the year. There is a restroom at the structure in the parking lot and there are port-a-pottys available in the park and one on each side of the cove near the 2 lifeguard stations. The lifeguard stations are only staffed on weekends and on weekdays during the period from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The rest of the year, they are staffed only on weekends. The park is on the bluffs and has picnic tables & benches, some trees, and large areas where you can play around. There are no concession stands here, so bring your own food with you. Also, bring plenty of water as shady areas are scarce and it can get pretty warm on the bluffs and on the beach. The main trail to the rocky beach is the Abalone Cove trail that takes you on a 10 - 15 minute walk down from the parking lot through the park and down the trail. You can go either left or right when you connect the the Beach School Trail to get to either one of the lifeguard station areas.
Abalone Cove Beach View
Hiking - There are several hiking trails within the park that connect Abalone Cove to Sacred Cove and Inspiration Point. Be aware that rattlesnakes may be found in the area, so use caution if you encounter one. The main trail described above will take you from the edge of the parking lot down to the beach on the North side of the cove. There is a second trail accessible by walking about 10 minutes along Palos Verdes Drive South called the Olmstead Trail. This trail winds down the bluff and ends at the South point of the cove where there are some tidepools to check out. Before you go, visit Abalone Cove Ecological Reserve to get a trail map for the area.
South Abalone Cove View from Olmstead Trail
Tide Pools - The South side tide pools are more accessible at low tide than at high tide. There are numerous areas to investigate shoreline sea life such as sea anemones, sea urchins, mussels, and other tiny inhabitants within the pools. At low tide, there are two sections where you can cross to get around Portuguese Point to the North tip of Sacred Cove and more tide pools and sea caves. At high tide, these gaps between the rocky areas are filled with sea water surging from the surf. Bring Tevas or other shoes that you can get wet in that will protect your feet as the rocks are sharp and can cut the skin.
Abalone Cove View from Tide Pools
Sea Cave and Break between Tide Pools at High Tide
Sea Anemones and Mussels in Tide Pool
Purple Sea Urchins in Tide Pools