Enjoy the Cliffside Trail
For a family-friendly hike with an amazing view, head over to Sunset Cliffs! Experience the remarkable beauty of this stretch of the Pacific coast as you hike along the 3-mile cliffside trail, with the ocean straight below. Hiking on Sunset Cliffs is featured on the Most Fun Things to do in San Diego
Expect to be surrounded by San Diego natives and worldwide tourists alike. This flat trail is great for people of all abilities. Although Sunset Cliffs has no official opening or closing hours, it's best to plan your hike during daylight for maximum visibility.
Parents should watch their children, keep them safe by steering clear of the edges of the cliffs, which are suffering from erosion at some spots. Look out for signage, which identifies areas that are dangerous or under restoration. Never cross any marked barriers and you will be able to safely enjoy this natural beauty.
There are several access points along the trail, but the best place to start is at the corner of Ladera Street and Sunset Cliffs Blvd, in the Hillside section. Although it is not a strenuous hike, most people take their time to enjoy the expansive views or explore the stairs that lead down to the coast.
Osprey a Must
The Osprey Street area is used for sunset viewing and weddings, which can be permitted for up to 50 people. There is a small parking lot at the park site, but parking is also available on the street. There are no restrooms available.
There are multiple staircases along the trail that lead down to sea caves just waiting to be explored, as well as secluded beaches or other offshoots of the cliffs. Popular viewpoints include the Sandstone Arch, known locally as "that great photo spot", and Cormorant Rock, which is part of the California Coastal National Monument.
Cormorant Rock is located near Froude Street and Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. It was established as a monument by President Bill Clinton in 2000.
The Ladera Street staircase leads down to the coast, where you can check out tide pools and hidden beaches that only appear at low-tide. The 'secret' sea cave can be accessed from Luscombs Point. The rewards of reaching the open-air cave will be well worth climbing over slippery rocks and wading through tidal pools.
Catch a Breath-taking Sunset!
As a credit to its namesake, Sunset Cliffs offers spectacular sunsets over the Pacific Ocean. However, the secret is OUT!
If you're planning to view the sunset from the cliffs, the best advice is to arrive early to beat the throngs of people who arrive daily at dusk to catch a glimpse. Another suggestion is to plan your sunset viewing during the week, rather than on a weekend which is much more crowded.
There are multiple look out points from the cliffs to settle on, and many people arrive early to find parking and stake a claim on their cliffside spots. The panoramic views of the ocean and the cliffs are well worth the advanced planning required.
The park is popular among couples searching for a romantic moment, photographers and picnickers anticipating the beauty of the day's end. Grab a picnic dinner and blanket and be prepared to be amazed! Don't forget to bring a sweatshirt, as it often gets chilly along the coast.
Surfing and More
Everyone enjoys Sunset Cliffs! On any given day, you're sure to find hikers, ocean gazers, yoga enthusiasts, bird watchers and meditators enjoying the park. Hiking in the Coastal Trail is featured in Best Hikes in San Diego .
It is also a popular spot for San Diego Surfing, and is well-known for having breaks all along the cliff sides. The Ladera Street staircase leads to a popular surfing spot. This area is called Luscomb Point, which is named after Happy Luscomb, who was a local surfer.
The ocean exposure in this area produces ideal conditions at low tide, which attracts surfers from all over Southern California. Surfers should always be aware of big swells and breaks close to the rocks.
There is also great scuba diving in the kelp beds of this area, which can be reached by taking a boat off-shore.
The jagged edges of the cliffs and crashing waves make this area unsafe for swimmers, and there is no lifeguard on duty. Cliff jumping off the cliffs into the ocean is also very dangerous, and strictly prohibited.
Book an Event
All three Sunset Cliffs coastal parks, Osprey Point, Pappy’s Point and Luscombs Point, are available to be booked for private events up to 50 people. The scenic background is popular for weddings, vow renewals and professional photo shoots. However, it is important to note that there are no restrooms available for use.
Applications for an event permit are processed through the San Diego Parks Department, and cost $187. Please note, permits are required for an elopement ceremony, even if it is only 3 people.