Cabrillo National Monument - go there!
San Diego Travel Blog› entry 13 of 20 › view all entries
October 25th, 2009 – by: cneoridium
Why would I want to go more than once a year? Only because it's one greatest spots in San Diego... Here's the setup. It's on Point Loma, the peninsula that forms the entrance to San Diego Bay. It's basically a 400-foot tall island sitting on the otherwise flat coastal plain so you can see all of downtown, the bay and Mexico from the east side, and a the Pacific Ocean and coastline from the west. Whatever's going on is visible from there - wildfires or snow in the mountains, storms coming in off the ocean, aircraft carriers returning from war, migrating gray whales streaming by offshore.
Biologically, it's a pretty unique place too. You see species along the trails that you pretty much can't see anywhere else, bizarre habitats that are more reminecent of Mexico than California, and the "wind trimmed" vegetation of the west side, where a constant salty breeze has bent everything to the east and dwarfed shrubs that are normally 20 feet tall to only a few inches. Everything is very moist and lichen covered, a mix of aromatic sage scrub and maritime cactus species growing above high cliffs.
It's also a "migrant trap" if you're a birder - all the weird species end up caught there on migration as the follow the coast southward and suddenly come to the end of the land... All sorts of things have shown up there over the years, species never otherwise seen in San DIego.
If you like military history, the entire point is riddled with underground tunnels and bunkers. Unfortunately, most of them are still in use and off limits, but you can explore a couple bunkers and see a lot of artifacts left from all the efforts to defend San Diego Bay over the years from intruders. You can climb up inside the old lighthouse too.
There's also a road down to the ocean and some great tidepools on the west side, I'll cover that on another trip... now that I have a pass : )
Combine your trip here with stops at the National Cemetery that you drive through on the way to the park, and all of the little turnouts along the entrance road that straddles the ridge of Point Loma with views of the Bay and Pacific.
Things to know: It costs $5 per carload to get in, $3 if you're on foot or bicycle.
Even if you have only a day here, this is sort of one of the things that you should spend your time seeing.
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