We have three coastal areas to visit today: Sometimes-misty cliff-top views at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, pounding surf near Pt. Loma tide pools/rocks and a spectacular view of San Diego from Cabrillo National Mounment, it's lighthouse and it's lower-sloped Bayside Trail, are all in store for today's hike. High tide today at Pt. Loma will be at 11:38 am.
Car pools will depart Hillcrest by 9:15 am. Target time to meet in the parking lot of Sunset Cliffs Natural park is about 9:35 am. This is one of our more popular summer hikes, so come join the fun!! Follow Sunset Cliffs Blvd. all the way thru Ocean Beach and along the water, out to it's end, where it curves left into Ladera St., then turn right off Ladera and Cornish Drive onto the short dirt road that leads to the parking area of Sunset Cliffs Natural Park.
After we explore that area, we'll drive on out towards the end of Pt. Loma (thru Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetary), pay the parking fee to enter Cabrillo Nat. Monument, turn right and go down the steep Pacific-side road to the tide pool area. Follow the road past the tidepool signs and go almost to the end (there is a gate across the road just before the water purification plant). Park in either of the last two parking areas. From there, we'll hike down a steep trail near the smaller parking area, to the water's edge where the surf meets the rocks.
Finally, we'll drive back up to Cabrillo Nat. Monument and check out the spectacular views of San Diego from the Visitor's Center, then hike on over to the old Pt. Loma Lighthouse for a visit, and out on the paved trail to the whale watching kiosk. From there, hikers have a choice of hiking down and up the Bayside Trail (300' elevation loss/gain), exploring more of the Visitor's Center exhibits, or leaving for the day. (We'll probably complete all of this by about 1 pm or so, leaving the rest of the afternoon free.)
For more detailed info. on the area, refer to "Afoot and Afield in San Diego County" by J.Schad, 1998 Edition, Area B-3 Point Loma, pp. 39-42. Also, check out our Maps of the area for more details.