The Point Loma Bayside Trail is a breathtaking coastal trail in San Diego.
It’s located on San Diego's spectacular southwest peninsula at the Cabrillo National Monument.
The trail is a 3-mile roundtrip, starting near the Old Point Loma Lighthouse at the Cabrillo National Monument.
5 things to know about hiking the Bayside Trail.
The trailhead starts near the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.
Park at the Cabrillo National Monument Visitor Center. Walk a short distance up the hill to the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, then continue 0.3 miles past the lighthouse down Humphrey’s Road to a sign that says “Bayside Trail".
The Bayside Trail travels 1.2 miles along a bluff’s edge through coastal sage scrub, until it reaches a dead-end. There are interpretive signs on the area’s natural history, and plenty of benches to enjoy the soaring views of the peninsula.
The Bayside Trail was originally used as a military access road, providing the perfect vantage point across the bay for defense.
Halfway along the Bayside Trail you’ll see two concrete military structures, utilized during WWII. The first is a Searchlight Shelter, where a massive searchlight was once rolled out on narrow gauge tracks to illuminate ships entering the harbor. The second is a Searchlight Power Plant that held the gas generators required for the searchlight.
Other things to do at the Cabrillo National Monument
Visit the Cabrillo National Monument Overlook, just near the Visitor Center. It commemorates Spanish Explore Juan Rodrigues Cabrillo and his exploration of the Western Coastline from 1542 to 1543.
The Visitor Center has some excellent exhibits on Juan Rodrigues Cabrillo's travels and navigation equipment. There's also a cinema with films providing a fascinating insight into the rich history of this area.
The Old Point Loma Lighthouse is a short distance up the hill from the Visitor Center. It's open for self guided tours.
The Assistant Keeper's Quarters displays the original Fresnel lens.
This is the panoramic view outside the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.
Continue past the Old Point Loma Lighthouse to the Whale Overlook. From December to April each year, observe the annual migration of gray whales from the Arctic to Baja California.
The New Point Loma Lighthouse is clearly visible from the Whale Overlook. What a spectacular setting! Unfortunately you can't tour it.
Know before you go