White Point and Point Fermin Park
Hiking distance: 4 miles round trip Hiking time: 2 hours
Configuration: out-and-back or return along South Paseo Del Mar for a loop Elevation gain: 100 feet
Exposure: exposed coastline and shady blufftop park
Maps: U.S.G.S. San Pedro
White Point in San Pedro was home to the Royal Palms Hotel, a booming spa resort with hot sulphur pools predating the 1920s. Falling victim to storms, pounding surf, and an earthquake in 1933, all that remain are majestic palms, garden terraces, and remnants of the concrete foundation.
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To the east of the point is White Point Beach, a rocky cove with tidepools below the sedimentary cliffs. From the point, the trail continues two miles to Point Fermin Park, located at the southernmost tip in Los Angeles County. The long coastal park sits atop grassy tree-shaded bluffs that jut prominently out to sea. The scenic 37-acre park has flower gardens, mature fig trees, and curving pathways that lead from the bluffs to the rocky shoreline. Point Fermin Lighthouse is an historic Victorian structure that sits on the edge of the vertical cliffs. It was built in 1874 with lumber and bricks shipped around Cape Horn. The lighthouse was in use for nearly a century. It is now a museum and open for tours (Tuesday through Sunday).
From the intersection of Western Avenue and 25th Street in San Pedro, drive 0.5 miles south to the end of Western Avenue at the coastline. Curve left onto Paseo Del Mar, and drive 0.1 mile to the White Point Bluff Park parking lot on the right. Park in the lot for a fee or alongside the road for free.
Descend the cliffs on the dirt path or walk west down the paved road to Royal Palms Beach Park. Head east and follow the coastline around White Point, crossing over small boulders and slabs of rock. Stroll along the rocky shore of White Point Beach below the ruins of the Royal Palms Hotel. Continue following the shoreline past a group of old homes at the base of the sheer 120-foot cliffs. At 1.2 miles, take the distinct path on the left, and head up the cliffs to the west. Half way up, the path becomes paved. Wind through a palm tree grove and to the top of the bluffs across from Barbara Street, at the west end of Point Fermin Park. Continue east for one mile through the narrow tree-shaded park along the edge of the grassy bluffs to Point Fermin and the lighthouse. This is the turn-around point. Return along the same path.