Malaga Cove and Flat Rock Point
Hiking distance: 4 miles round trip Hiking time: 2 hours Configuration: out-and-back with loop Elevation gain: 300 feet Exposure: exposed beach coastline Difficulty: easy Dogs: allowed.
Maps: U.S.G.S. Redondo Beach
Malaga Cove and Flat Rock Point are at the north end of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Malaga Canyon, formed by a major water drainage, slices through the northern slopes of the peninsula and empties into the ocean at Malaga Cove. Flat Rock Point borders the north end of Bluff Cove under soaring 300-foot cliffs. The point has some of the best tidepools in the area.
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This hike begins on sandy Torrance County Beach and quickly reaches the rocky tidepools and near-vertical cliffs at Malaga Cove. The trail continues along the rugged, rocky shoreline along the base of the eroded cliffs to Flat Rock Point. For extended hiking, Hikes 48-50 are adjacent to each other with connecting trails.
To the trailhead
From the Pacific Coast Highway/Highway 1 at the south end of Redondo Beach, turn south on Palos Verdes Boulevard. Drive 1.1 mile to Paseo De La Playa and turn right. Continue 0.7 miles to Torrance County Beach. Park in the lot on the left. A parking fee is required seasonally.
Take the ramp down from the bluffs to the sandy beach. Head south (left), strolling on the sand towards the Palos Verdes cliffs. The views extend out to Palos Verdes Point (Hike 49). At 0.7 miles, the sand gives way to rock at the foot of the cliffs. Curve west and follow the wide walking path into Malaga Cove. Just before reaching the Palos Verdes Beach Club, a paved access path our return route follows stream-fed Malaga Canyon up an easy grade to the bluffs at Via Corta and Paseo Del Mar. Continue along the shoreline beneath the steep cliffs on the rounded shoreline rocks, passing Malaga Cove and the beach club. The shoreline reaches Flat Rock Point and the tidepools at 1.7 miles. From the point, cross over the rocky ridge into Bluff Cove.
Curve into the crescent-shaped cove to an access trail. Hike 49 continues along the shoreline.
To return, ascend the cliffs on the wide, easy path for a quarter mile to the bluffs on Paseo Del Mar. Follow Paseo Del Mar to the left a half mile to Via Arroyo. Walk through the intersection into the parking lot on Via Arroyo, on the ocean side of Malaga Cove School. Pick up the paved Malaga Canyon Trail on the left, and descend through the canyon to the ocean, completing the loop. Return to Torrance Beach on the right.