Cabrillo National Monument Hike: Bayside Trail

This beautiful Cabrillo National Monument hike along the Bayside Trail is a quick and easy, two-mile down and back with panoramic views of the ocean and the bay. You will see sailboats and naval ships passing beneath you as you walk out to the end of Point Loma.

A ship in the bay while on a cabrillo national monument hike

Cabrillo National Monument is San Diego’s only national park. It stands as a monument to the first European expedition to land on the West Coast of the United States.

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Quick video of the Bayside Trail & Cabrillo tidepools

This video will inspire you to hit up a Cabrillo National Monument hike! The views are everything:

The Bayside Trail: A Cabrillo National Monument Hike

Stop in the visitors center to check out the maps (and get your National Parks Passport stamp!) Check out the statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who landed here in 1542.

Statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo at the Cabrillo National Monument
Statue of Cabrillo

You can also check out the World War II Museum at the Cabrillo National Monument and learn about the defense measures taken along the San Diego coast.

Now you’re ready to set out on the Bayside Trail, a stunning Cabrillo National Monument hike with educational signage all along the path.

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You’ll start at the Old Point Loma Lighthouse before cruising along for your panoramic views.

Old Point Loma Lighthouse at Cabrillo National Park
Old Point Loma Lighthouse

There are benches to sit in all along the way. You may be inspired to sit and soak up the scenery!

This is one of those hikes where you head downhill before turning around to go uphill. It’s a fairly gentle slope, but you’ll break a sweat on your return trip to the visitors center, lighthouse, and parking lot.

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Don’t miss the tidepools after your Cabrillo National Monument Hike!

A bluff near the tidepools of the Cabrillo National Monument
A bluff near the tidepools of the Cabrillo National Monument

The rocky intertidal zone of the Cabrillo National Monument gives ways to seriously cool tidepools to explore with all kinds of sea critters.

You can walk there as part of your Cabrillo National Monument hike, taking the Point Loma Tidepools and Bluff Trail, a 1.2-mile loop. Or you can drive to the separate parking lot near the tidepools and the jagged bluffs that jut out over the water.

the bluff of the Cabrillo national monument

The best time to visit the tidepools is in fall and winter. Low tide occurs in the middle of the night in the summer months. Check out the National Park Service info on the tidepools here.

Logistics for visiting Cabrillo National Monument

  • Physical address: 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive San Diego, CA 92106
  • There are no dogs allowed on the Bayside Trail.
  • There are no bikes allowed on the Bayside Trail.
  • Open every day from nine to five (Bayside Trail closes at 4 and the tidepools close at 4:30)
  • Each vehicle is $20 (or use your $80 America the Beautiful National Park Annual Pass!)
  • The Cabrillo National Monument Annual Pass is $35

Where to stay

Here is a list of hotels and homes to rent in and near San Diego:

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If you liked the Cabrillo National Monument hike, you may want to check out the 7 bridges hike, an urban walk through San Diego, or the Mt Woodson hike to Potato Chip Rock in nearby Ramona, California. Please also check out my other posts on hiking and walking tours.

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Happy hiking! And don’t forget to subscribe for more travel tips!

30 Comments on “Cabrillo National Monument Hike: Bayside Trail”

  1. I have been to San Diego SO many times in my petsitting adventures and I’m always looking for new things to do while I’m there. I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve come across the Bayside Trail and the Cabrillo National Monument. Thanks for giving me a fun activity when I petsit my way through there again in September!

  2. What a beautiful view! There’s not better than hiking to see something so stunning. I’ve never been to this, and I am for sure going to put this on my list! 🙂

  3. This looks like beautiful hike! I really need to plan another trip to San Diego! So many beautiful places to explore there!

    • I hear that so often with Cabrillo! Glad you visited. And if you have any tips for me while I’m here in San Diego, I am all ears!

  4. This looks like an amazing trail, Jen. The lighthouse might not be the tallest in the country, but it looks rather cute. The bluffs and rock formations are outrageously beautiful and tide pools are always fun.

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