The Cabrillo National Monument on the Point Loma Peninsula is a popular destination for locals and visitors to the San Diego Bay area, and it features shore trails that offer furtastic views of the Pacific and the Bay. However, the only trail open to dogs is the Tidal Pool Trail, a short walk that leads from the southernmost parking area down to the rocky intertidal pools that are home to many coastal plants and animals.
The pools are accessible during low tide and are teeming with wildlife left behind by the receding ocean, many like mussels and barnacles clinging tightly to the rocks, others floating on the shallow sea water left behind. There are even creatures lurking under rocky shelving or in holes carved in the sandstone, like moray eels, waiting for a fish (or a hand that looks like a fish) to come creeping into its den. Small fish are prey to the beautiful sea anemone, whose flower-like petals are actually stinging tentacles that gather in and devour their catch. You may also see octopus, snails, juvenile lobsters and crabs, among many others.
Beyond the signed path down to the rocks, the Tidal Pool Trail continues a short way along the cliff, where you and Fido can stroll to vantage points that provide views of open water and craggy shoreline, and if you're lucky, you may see whales and sea lions. Have a sit, and rest or contemplate, or just wait for the tide to go out so you can head down to the pools. You can also share a picnic lunch with your fur-baby, but remember to take any trash out of the park with you. Open every day, year-round, the pools are most conveniently visited during summer and fall when the low tides occur during daylight hours.
Parking fees vary from $7.00 for a walk-in to $15.00 per car, or you can gain admission with an annual national parks pass for $30. And your admission fee is good for an entire week, so you can re-visit the pools to see if anything has changed!
Whether you're a resident or just visiting, the Tidal Pool Trail is a woofderful short walk that both you and your furry pal will enjoy!
This trail runs along the top of the sandstone cliffs above the ocean, and down wet, often slippery rocks covered with algae and sharp-edged barnacles. To avoid slipping or cutting your feet, wear sturdy, non-slip shoes. The sandstone can crumble under pressure, so don't walk too close to the cliff's edge, to prevent a fall. Be aware of the oncoming tide and don't turn your back on the waves to avoid being stranded.