Best of Portuguese Bend Reserve

With many trail options, Portuguese Bend Reserve in Rancho Palos Verdes is a popular hiking location. This is also our go-to place when I don’t have time to research a new trail but want to spend some time on the trail. Not a bad place to have as a back-up. 😉 The view from Burma Rd never gets old.


View from Burma Rd on an early foggy morning

With west side trails connecting to the neighboring Filiorum Reserve, there are many ways to create a loop route with various distances. Regardless of your fitness level, you should be able to find a route that works for you and your adventure pup. I will provide links to trail maps below.


View of Eagle’s Nest Trail and Catalina Island from Burma Rd (September 2015)

As my readers already know, our favorite time to hike is early morning. However during summer when it’s already in mid-70’s at 8 am, I prefer to go in the late afternoon around 6 pm. Ocean breeze usually picks up and the place feels and looks different with the setting sun. There are even some short sections of shaded area. Just be on a lookout for a rattlesnake who might be resting there before you found it. Here is a picture of Rattlesnake Trail in the afternoon. Gorgeous!


Rattlesnake Trail in March

Ishibashi Trail used to be our favorite trail until it became more popular this year. It’s a lovely trail with a view of the ocean and rolling hills. You should check it out if you haven’t yet.


Ishibashi Trail in spring

If you feel adventurous, I recommend doing Ishibashi – Rim – Paintbrush – Rim (toward the ocean) route. A bit of scrambling is required on Rim Trail. If you are afraid of heights like me, you might want to know that it helped me when I did this the opposite way.


If you want to add a hill workout, try Water Tank Trail. You want to begin this trail from Vanderlip Trail. This steep 0.25-mile trail will be sure to make you sweat.


Water Tank Trail from Burma Rd


Good to Know:

  • Trail maps: Portuguese Bend Reserve & Filiorum Reserve
  • Many trails here are shared by hikers, mountain bikes and horses so be sure to look out for them for everyone’s safety.
  • Bring plenty of water and hike early or late in the day as there is no shade.
  • Free street parking except the first 10 parking spots on Crenshaw Blvd. Those spots require a permit. They are marked 1 – 10 on the sidewalk.

At the moment, our new favorite hiking route is to begin from the Burma Rd trailhead in Portuguese Bend Reserve then cross over to Filiorum Reserve and end the hike on Rattlesnake Trail. Our new favorite trail is in Filiorum Reserve. When I find a less traveled path, it becomes my new favorite. 🙂


Happy Hiking!

Beautiful Morning at Terranea

It was a clear beautiful morning. I was working on a Christmas gift for mom and dad. 2016 family calendar with our pictures. Ok, mostly Xena’s pictures but my sister contributed a couple of her pictures as well. I gathered our stuff and got in to the car. Off we go. Destination: Terranea Resort.

We started our walk from Pelican Cove Park.


There were already a couple of people there with their cameras to capture the sunrise. Sunsets are romantic and sunrises are inspiring and motivational. We should experience both in our lives.


We had our photo shoot session.

Then continued on the trail.


The quiet morning stroll was therapeutic. We took our time and explored.



Path to Terranea Cove.


This is where you get to appreciate the earth and its long history.



You see how the soil horizons do not match up. A clear evidence of earthquakes. I just love looking at soil structure, color and texture. Nerd alert.


You might recognize the following picture from my previous post. It was here in the Terranea Cove I found the magical dog. 🙂

Magical dog

Good to know:

  • Hike date:  11.22.15
  • Out and back, total distance less than 3 miles
  • Ample free parking at Pelican Cove Park
  • Terranea resort is pet-friendly with a fee. Pet Fee is $150 per stay to cover cleaning charges to the guest room upon departure. Click here for their pet policy.
  • Located at Terranea Resort, Nelson’s is a dog-friendly restaurant.


Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures

~ Lovell Drachman


Happy Hiking!

Abalone Cove Trails

Last month, I wanted to do a hike with ocean view so I drove to Abalone Cove Shoreline Park. I checked the tide schedule early in the morning and planned my day around it to make sure we can walk down to the cove. We reached at the parking lot around 9am.

Via de Campo Trail – I love seeing families hiking with their little children. It brings me back childhood memories.

The morning air was fresh and the view was breathtaking.

View of Abalone Cove from Abalone Cove Trail

Sea Dahlia Trail

Beach was widen due to low tides and the ocean was still pulling out exposing tide pools. Always check the tide schedule beforehand for your safety. We walked to right underneath the Portuguese Point where there was still shade. Soon, all of this area would be exposed to the sun.

After I found a nice flat rock to sit on, Xena found nice kids to tag along. They were gentle and sweet to each other. The kids would spot something in the tide pools every other second and shout, “Look what I found!” Xena would go and look. Xena knows “look”. They gently opened their palms and showed to her shells and little crabs and let her sniff. It was hilarious and so cute!! I swear my heart melted. The kids’ dad and I enjoyed watching their interaction.

After exploring tide pools, I hiked up to the Portuguese Point to check out the view. Even though there was a fence, it was too cliff-y for me so I walked 20 feet away from the fence and kept Xena on my side closely.

Portuguese Point Loop Trail

Sacred Cove

Sea Dahlia Trail

This park is relatively close to my place so I don’t know why it took me so long to get out there. Next time, I plan to include the adjacent Sacred Cove in the itinerary. I look forward to going back!

Good to know:

  • Hike date:  11.7.15
  • Distance: < 3 miles
  • Out and back
  • Parking: First 30 Minutes FREE
    30 Minutes to 2 Hours $6
    Over 2 Hours $12
    Seniors 62+ and Handicapped are FREE year-round
  • Restrooms available at the park

Happy Hiking!

Whatever Wednesday: Wish List

What do you do if you are ready for the fall but the temperature is still in mid 80s in middle of September?

You live through others who has that! 🙂  I’ve been enjoying the fall through other hikers located in cooler regions all over the world by following their lovely blogs and Instagram posts. They motivate and inspire me. Thank you for sharing your experiences!

I also started my own hiking wish list for this fall/winter. I already have 8 dog friendly trails on the list and I just got started. I’ve started planning a few overnight trips for the trails too far to make it a day trip. Road trips ahead! Woohoo!!

Here is a sneak preview of my list so far:

  1. Jones Peak via Bailey Canyon
  2. Vital Link Trail in Wildwood Canyon
  3. San Mateo Canyon
  4. Calabasas Peak
  5. Cougar Crest Trail (Big Bear Lake, here we come!)

I am ready for the season change and excited for the new adventures ahead! I hope you are too!

For now, here are some photos I took from my solo hike this month. I went hiking last two weekends without Xena. When I go without her, I feel guilty. But her safety has to come first so I swallow the guilt. I saw some exhausted dogs out on trails and made me worry. Heatstroke is pretty common in dogs. They can’t sweat like we do.

Rolling hills of Portuguese Bend Reserve in Palos Verdes

Rolling hills of Portuguese Bend Reserve in Palos Verdes


Rim Trail in Portuguese Bend is good for my acrophobia. I keep challenging myself here because I don’t want my phobia to get worse.


I hope you can see the loose soil narrow trail. It continues along the rock wall and has a steep drop.

I know it’s not the same without Xena.. Hopefully in couple weeks she can join me. Until then, for Xena’s fans out there, here is a picture of her playing at Malaga Cove.


More pictures on Instagram. Follow us!

XoXo ♥

Wildflowers and Paintbrush

I was surprised to see so many hikers near the trailhead because it looked like it would rain at any moment.

Winter Hike #7: Palos Verdes, CA (Palos Verdes Nature Reserve)

I am not a fan of hiking in the rain. Well, to be correct, I am not a fan of mud. I hoped it doesn’t rain until we finish hiking. Due to fog, I couldn’t see the ocean but the view was still picturesque at the trailhead.

I took the little side trail on the right at the first junction to get away from the crowd. At first, I thought only that area was green but to my surprise, the entire rolling hills were covered with greens and wildflowers!

When I started hiking here a few years ago, it was after a wildfire. The city put a lot of effort in to restoring the area since then. Even last year, it didn’t look like this! About 5-6 years after the wildfire, the place is finally coming back to life again! They did a great job! It was absolutely beautiful! I felt so happy that I was almost giddy. From Ishibashi Trail, I turned left on to a trail that had less traffic. It’s a gradual uphill on a narrow trail. This was my view from Grapevine.

Rolling hills of Portuguese Bend Reserve – 02.07.2015

We ran in to couple of friendly hikers and their dogs here and there but mostly we hiked by ourselves. It was quiet and peaceful. Just the way I like it. Exploring new trails led me to my new favorite trail – Paintbrush.

Beginning of Paintbrush Trail from The Rim Trail. Next time, I would like to climb up the trail. The CAUTION sign?  Take it seriously.  I slipped a few times.

Details on the Hike:

  • Dogs on leash
  • Trailhead:  Google Del Cerro Park in Palos Verdes.  Free street parking on Crenshaw Blvd.
  • Distance: 4 miles, loop
  • Elevation change: 945 ft

Good to Know:
I recommend proper hiking shoes for Paintbrush Trail. Trekking poles are optional unless you have knee issues.

If you are interested in exploring the area further, please check out my previous postings for Palos Verdes from the menu. Happy Hiking!

Exploring the Three Sisters with My Sister

When I first saw the Three Sisters Reserve next to the Portuguese Bend Reserve on a map, I thought “I want to go there”. The name called out to me. The Portuguese Bend Reserve is the most popular reserve among the nature reserves near by so you can find trail information and helpful reviews from other hikers easily online. The Three Sisters is another story. I mapped out a route (3.3 miles) that included the Filiorum and Three Sisters Reserves.

My sister and I drove to the trailhead which is located at the end of Ocean Terrace Drive in Rancho Palos Verdes. Since this hike isn’t very popular nor well-known, parking was very easy. We began hiking from the upper west Filiorum then descended via McCarrell Canyon Trail. Good thing about exploring a new place is, you don’t know what you will run in to and you are excited about the unknown. The Three Sisters has spectacular ocean views.

On the other hand, since you don’t know what you will run in to, you hope you are prepared for whatever the challenges you may run in to. 🙂 It turned out Sunshine Trail wasn’t a happy fun trail as it sounds. When we reached the bottom of the Three Sisters near the residential area, it was obvious that area wasn’t well maintained. We followed a track we thought was a trail. Then, Sunshine Trail led us to the top of a hill and disappeared. Only the steep drop was ahead of us. Surely, this can’t be the trail. We backtracked a little bit and took a sidewalk to meet up with Barkentine Trail. Later, we found out that the steep drop was the Sunshine Trail. We were still happy with our decision and our knees thanked us.

I noticed a section of Jack Hat’s Trail that links the Three Sisters and Filiorum Reserves was in a shade of beige/taupe on a map. I figured ‘no trees/shrubs’. Well, all of sudden, we found ourselves in soft deep sand. Have you hiked uphill on soft deep sand? 😀 The trails weren’t clearly marked here. We hiked in confusion hoping we weren’t trespassing onto someone’s property. It was only after we were in the Filiorum Reserve for a while, we saw a sign facing the opposite direction saying that the trail ends in 300 feet. Say what! Why didn’t they put up this sign in the Three Sisters Reserve as well? lol.

We hiked 3.5 miles and enjoyed the views. We had fun exploring the new trails but next time we will skip Three Sisters. After dropping off Xena at home, we spent a nice relaxing afternoon at a Korean spa. It was a lovely day~


Details on this hike:

  • Distance:  3.53 miles
  • Elevation Gain:  857 ft
  • Trail Map:  Please click on the “route” link above

Happy Hiking!