10 Reasons why you should trek the Bayside Trail in San Diego

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If you’ve never heard of the Bayside Trail in San Diego then you are most definitely missing out. Not only is this trail one of the most popular, but its location is a well sought out place to explore. 

Situated in Cabrillo National Monument, it is one of the most gorgeous and historically promising places to visit.  

This place offers more than just a hiking trail. Whether you are a local traveler, traveling as a family, or single you can’t go wrong when exploring this place.

And there is no perfect time. 

Unless you are trying to see the migrating grey whales in January or February, the weather is almost always perfect year-round. After the hike, you can take advantage of exploring other things around this area. 

Many people stay about an hour on average, but you easily spend a couple of hours after exploring all it has to offer.

There are plenty of reasons why you should go out this summer and take a trek at the Bayside Trail in San Diego. In this blog, we will break down the 10 reasons why the Bayside Trail is one of the best ones to explore. 


10 reasons why you should trek the Bayside Trail

  • The weather is almost always perfect at Cabrillo National Monument. With the exception of some gloomy weather (i.e June gloom). But if it’s perfect then get yourself out there!
  • It’s an moderate hike: The hike is considered moderately steep. According to source, the trail is mostly flat with a slight incline of 340 foot elevation gain. It may be challenging for some people so just know yourself. The path is both dirt and pavement. 
  • You get to hike through coastal sage scrub and read the displayed signs. You can learn everything from the habitat to local animals found in the area.
  • It is a self-guided tour, but by stopping and reading you learn so much on the trail alone.
  • The total hiking trail is 2.5 miles round trip and it takes approximately anywhere from one to two hours depending on your pace. Everyone is different. 
  • You can also catch the panoramic views of San Diego Bay next to the Juan Cabrillo Monument. In addition, you will find amazing views of San Diego Bay, Coronado Bridge, North Island Naval Air Station, and the mountains of Mexico towards the south.
  • Along the Bayside Trail, you can find a search light shelter and even a power shelter that was used during World War I and II.

  • After your hike, you can visit the Point Loma Lighthouse and learn the history behind it. You can even visit the keeper’s place and the maids quarters. You can understand what life was like back then. You can even walk inside the old lighthouse and see how they once lived
  • You can catch a fantastic view at the Whale and Kelp Forest Overlook. Who knows, you may just catch a grey whale or two during migration season in January and February
  • There are other trails you can walk! Park at the tide pool parking lot and walk the coastal trail to see gorgeous views of the tide pool and coastal bluffs. Be careful not to get too close to the edges since they can be dangerous.
  • You can visit the visitor center and learn about Cabrillo, the tide pools, and the whales by watching a couple films offered throughout the hour

Bayside Trail Tips to Remember

  • There are no bathrooms so remember to use them before you get on the trail
  • No dogs or bikes are allowed on the trail
  • Bring plenty of water as there are no water fountains; 
  • In the summer, the weather gets warm and it may be hotter than normal; be prepared with enough water, a hat, and sunglasses
  • There are plenty of park benches so you can stop to admire the ocean views or even catch your breath
  • Watch out for poison ivy or other plants
  • Watch out for fearful animals you may encounter on the trail
  • Watch out for cliffs that may be unstable, but if you stay on the trail at all times, you will be fine
  • Hiking can take some anywhere from 1-2 hours depending on your pace
  • The trail ends at Ballast Point, the same place Cabrillo docked his ships for 3 months in 1542. It is also the home of nuclear-powered submarines during World War I and  II

The information about visiting Cabrillo National Monument

Visiting Cabrillo National Monument is one of the most interesting things you can do after the hike. With history written all over this place you can definitely plan a full day worth of activities. 

Learn everything from the time Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo explored these waters, to the time when WWI had a station here.

If this is your first time visiting and wondering what else there is to do here, then do not fret…there is plenty.

You can read our blog of the 15 things to do when you visit Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma by clicking here. We break down our favorite things to do when visiting.

How to Explore the Point Loma Tide Pools and Bluffs Trail

The Bayside Trail is not the only thing you can hike when visiting Cabrillo National Monument. If you come on a gorgeous day then definitely park at the tide pool parking lot to catch the coastal trail.

It’s a much shorter hiking trail, but there is so much you can benefit from trekking here.

The Point Loma lookout 

One of the most rewarding experiences is atop the Point Loma lookout. This area is definitely breathtaking. There is a parking lot within distance to the visitor center when you park.

Once you walk to the visitor’s center, there is an area called the Point Loma lookout. You will find it very easily. Just follow the people.

This place is pretty popular so it shouldn’t be hard to follow the crowd. It’s definitely a site to see. There are lookout lenses where you can explore and check.

The panoramic view is amazing since you can see as far as San Diego Bay where lots of boats and ships are passing by. 



The Bayside Trail in San Diego is one of my favorite trails I do often. What makes this trail even more intriguing is the fact that it’s connected to the Juan Cabrillo National Monument park. 

Hiking the Bayside Trail is just one of the many perks you can do when visiting San Diego. Many people hiking this trail because of the unique views and spectacular history behind it.

As you visit you can experience the life that the lightkeeper and his family had by visiting the old lighthouse and learning the history. 

In addition, you can learn about Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo and his quest for finding Point Loma. His statue is located atop the bluff, which is also a great viewing point. 

 Along with hiking you can visit the Point Loma Tide Pools during the low tide season and learn what life is like for these sea creatures living here. 

There is plenty to do alongside the Bayside Trail, and with its 2. 5 miles hike you can enjoy views of coastal scrubs, Coronado Bridge, and even the mountains of Mexico. 

If you haven’t been here yet…what are you waiting for? Have you been to the Bayside Trail in San Diego?


Jess & Jeanette

Jess and Jeanette, two sisters who founded Unseen Beaches, were inspired by their family’s beach vacations while growing up.

Their passion lies in guiding you toward the most remarkable beach destinations across the U.S., while also protecting and preserving these beautiful coastal treasures! 🌊❤️

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