Terranea Discovery Trail Beach Hike with kids in Rancho Palos Verdes

The Terranea Discovery Trail is a beautiful coastal hike in Rancho Palos Verdes that’s great for kids. Southern California has a lot of scenic trails along the coast. Rancho Palos Verdes is a community south of Los Angeles known for its beautiful cliffs and many coastal hikes. One of our favorites hikes in this area is the Terranea Discovery Trail.

In this blog post, we’ll cover:

  • Overview
  • Location
  • Food & Lodging
  • Tips When Visiting
  • Video

Overview of the Terranea Discovery Trail

View of cliffs from the start of the Terranea Discovery Trail.

Unique Features of the Trail

There are scenic ocean views. For the entire trail, you can see the Pacific Ocean and up and down the Los Angeles coastline.

It leads down to a beach. The trail ends up in a pebble beach that you can spend some time relaxing in.

The path is gradual and easy. Most of the path is on dirt or pavement, and very gradual, so its great for toddlers and mostly stroller-friendly. There are a few steps at the very end.

What the Trail is Like

The Terranea Discovery Trail is a 2.2-mile out-and-back hike that goes along the ocean cliffs down to the beach. It’s a gradual slope from the parking lot off of Palos Verdes Drive down to Terranea Beach. It’s mostly dirt with some pavement, and is stroller-friendly, except for some stairs towards the end. Since the trails is very gradual with a well-marked path, it’s very family-friendly and you can take children of all ages on it.

The trail is easy and family-friendly, even young kids.

On most of the trail, you have beautiful views of the ocean and some scenic stops along the way. The trail is lined with bushes and palm trees, but there’s no shade so it may get hot during the middle of the day.

There are many scenic vista points along the trail.

Midway through the trail, you walk a short distance on a paved road through the buildings of the Terranea Resort.

The path continues one as you get closer to the water.

After walking down some wooden stairs, the trail ends at Terranea Beach, a small sand and pebble cove. It’s not ideal for beach play, but is fun for exploring and relaxing.

The trail ends at Terranea Beach.

Towards the end of the beach is Hudson’s Bluff Sea Cave, a cave that you can climb up to and see the tide go in and out of. Though not too difficult or dangerous, climbing up this section is recommended of older kids and adults.

Watch the waves go in and out of Hudson’s Bluff Sea Cave.

Location of Terranea Trail

Address & Directions

This is a map with the marker at picnic area just shortly after the start of the trail. Routing it here will take you to the trail entrance.

Terranea Bluff Top Park
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275


There is a free parking lot at the head of the trail with plenty of parking spaces. The trail starts from the south end of the parking lot.

Facilities – Water & Restrooms

There are public restrooms on the north side of the parking lot. There are also restrooms and drinking fountains as you go through the Terranea Resort midway through the trail.

Food & Lodging Nearby


Nelson’s – If you’re looking for a mid-hike lunch, Nelson’s is a classic American restaurant located in the Terranea Resort with some patio seating that has great views of the ocean.

There’s also a small shopping center just a short drive north of the parking lot with a variety of quick and easy restaurants:


Terranea Resort If you’re staying in Rancho Palos Verdes, the Terranea Resort that you hike through is the quintessential luxury (and only) hotel to stay at in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Best Western Plus Redondo Beach Inn – If you need something more affordable and nearby, this hotel is in a beach community just a short drive away, with a pool, spa, fitness room, and free continental breakfast.

Tips When Hiking Terranea

Here are some tips when going on the Discovery Trail hike:

  • Watch out for the sun. The entire trail is in the sun with no shade, so be sure to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon, or on cooler days.
  • Remember you have to hike back up. The trail starting off is easy because its downhill, which makes it easy to underestimate having to walk back up on the trail.

Video of Terranea Discovery Trail Hike

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