Point Dume Preserve Hiking & Tide Pools
Point Dume Beach is not just a less crowded, pretty white sand beach with gorgeous ocean views of waves rolling in to meet you, it is also a California State Park Preserve. The bluffs above Point Dume have numerous hiking trails that are interconnected and can take you from the beach up to the top of the bluffs with a breathtaking view of the ocean and beaches or take you down to the beach at Dume Cove and the Tide Pools. The Preserve is home to many plants and animals native to California and is protected meaning, you cannot move, collect, or harm any of the items you encounter in the preserve. No fires are ever allowed here nor are dogs as even just the scent of the dog may cause migrating birds to avoid nesting in this location. Stay on the fenced trails to prevent erosion on the cliffs and to keep out of danger as there are spiny cactus plants, snakes, skunks, and other wildlife that may encounter and make your visit less than pleasant.
Point Dume Trail Map - Trails Marked in Black
To access the preserve from the beach, look for the chain link fence running along the back of the beach area to the cliffs. This is then entry point to the preserve above you. There is a sign mounted at the side of the trail by the California State Parks department to let you know that you are on the trail. Be aware that the trail starts out fairly easy, but quickly turns into an ascent up "stairs" to climb up to the park. This trail is not easy to climb in flip flops, but it can be done. Bring proper fitting shoes just in case you feel you cannot do the hike in sandals.
Pt Dume Trail Entrance From Beach
The Preserve has additional entry points from Birdview Avenue and Cliffside Drive. There is a small parking area along Cliffside Drive for a few cars where you can enter Point Dume. The trail to the top continues from this plateau of connected trails along the Dume Cove side of the Preserve. Notice the wide trail in the photo below to the right of the pale yellow Point Dume sign, that is the trail to the top. All of the trails are fenced and easy to navigate.
Point Dume Preserve Entrance from Birdview\Cliffside
As you ascend the trail to the top, the view becomes more wonderful. This is the place to bring your binoculars and see if there are any passing pods of dolphins in the ocean or sea lions sunbathing on the rocks or seals playing in the surf. Between November and April, try spotting California Gray whales migrating off of the coast from this view point.
View of Pirates Cove from Point Dume Trail
Other trails also lead down to the other side of the Point at Dume Cove. Be sure to catch some more great views of the coast on the way back down the trail and search for the trail and signs that will point you to the path down to the beach and the tide pools.
Dume Cove View with Trails in Preserve
The trail down to the beach at Dume Cove is at the point where 3 trails meet. As you are heading down the trail there is a sign letting you know that you are on the right path saying "Welcome to the Point Dume Natural Preserve Tidepools". The sign provides useful information about how to be kind towards the animals and other living things at the tide pools. After reading, continue on down the trail to the stairs.
Tide Pools Sign
Trail to the Tide Pools
Upon reaching the end of the trail, there is a set of steep, rusty steps that lead down to the tide pools and the beach. Watch your footing as some of the steps may not be steady and the height is a little scary. Most steps have been reinforced, just be careful and take your time.
Tide Pool Stairs
Upon your success of navigating the stairs down to the beach, you can now get a good look at the sea creatures living in the tide pools and a terrific view of Dume Beach. The tide pools get covered in shade in the late afternoon by the bluffs, so be sure to plan your time accordingly when visiting.
Tide Pools View
Upon your return ascent up the stairs and back to the trail to return to your car, be sure to get a few lasting views from the Point Dume Preserve trails as you return to reality.