Cabrillo National Monument - go there!

San Diego Travel Blog

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What the... 15 minute wait at the guard shack! I think it was because it was late in the day and each person has to argue about the park closing at 5pm : )
It's only 5 minutes from my house, but I hadn't been there in probably 5 years. I'm too cheap to pay the lousy 5 bucks to get in... Well, today I sprung for the big $15 for an annual pass so I can go in and out at will! Now all Travbuddies visiting San Diego are invited to ride in with me for free, it's a pass per car rather than per person : )

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.
Juan Cabrillo monument - he like invented Point Loma and stuff.
...

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.
Busy San Diego Bay


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.
It's in the middle of a military base with all sorts of top secret crap and nuclear submarines, so it opens at 9am, and they kick everyone off of the whole peninsula by 5pm, they sweep through and clear everyone out, lock the road down about 2 mile short of the Park. Pets have to stay in the car, and the trails down to the bay and ocean are steep and about a mile long, so bring walking shoes.

Even if you have only a day here, this is sort of one of the things that you should spend your time seeing.
Figatellix says:
Nice review! I was here during my stay in SD. It's a very great place and the view, it's true, it's one greatest in SD!
Thanks for remembering me this place :)
Posted on: Oct 26, 2009
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What the...  15 minute wait at the…
What the... 15 minute wait at th…
Juan Cabrillo monument - he like i…
Juan Cabrillo monument - he like …
Busy San Diego Bay
Busy San Diego Bay
Actually, he was the first Europea…
Actually, he was the first Europe…
Coastal sage scrub, our aromatic b…
Coastal sage scrub, our aromatic …
Little model of the building layou…
Little model of the building layo…
Map of Point Loma and the Bay for …
Map of Point Loma and the Bay for…
Ready to hike the 1.2 mile path to…
Ready to hike the 1.2 mile path t…
Old WWI bunker now bristling with …
Old WWI bunker now bristling with…
More security equipment on old str…
More security equipment on old st…
Trail down to the bay
Trail down to the bay
A little stub of the narrow gage s…
A little stub of the narrow gage …
The giant searchlight would have b…
The giant searchlight would have …
Late afternoon shadows
Late afternoon shadows
Evidence of more subterranean infr…
Evidence of more subterranean inf…
Ballast Point, a former whaling st…
Ballast Point, a former whaling s…
US Customs boat lurking off the ti…
US Customs boat lurking off the t…
US Customs pursuit boat hovering a…
US Customs pursuit boat hovering …
Off they go to chase some sort of …
Off they go to chase some sort of…
Point Lomas made of this sugar li…
Point Loma's made of this sugar l…
Racing yachts coming home.  Those …
Racing yachts coming home. Those…
Sort of an anticlimactic end to th…
Sort of an anticlimactic end to t…
That spiky thing in the foreground…
That spiky thing in the foregroun…
Great blue heron looses his rock p…
Great blue heron looses his rock …
Tourists at the Cabrillo statue lo…
Tourists at the Cabrillo statue l…
Yesss!  Reptiles!!
Yesss! Reptiles!!
Downtown across the bay
Downtown across the bay
Huge sea lion following a fishing …
Huge sea lion following a fishing…
Meanwhile on the western, Pacific …
Meanwhile on the western, Pacific…
Stairs leading to underground bunk…
Stairs leading to underground bun…
I like these hand poured bunker ro…
I like these hand poured bunker r…
Mushroom bunkers, blast shutters c…
Mushroom bunkers, blast shutters …
Shell from the Big Guns.  These gi…
Shell from the Big Guns. These g…
The old Point Loma lighthouse
The old Point Loma lighthouse
The new lighthouse, still in ope…
The "new" lighthouse, still in op…
View up the coast towards La Jolla
View up the coast towards La Jolla
Shaws agave with last years flow…
Shaw's agave with last year's flo…
The big light!
The big light!
In the light tower
In the light tower
Spirals and ladders lead to the li…
Spirals and ladders lead to the l…
I of course have to take 26 pics o…
I of course have to take 26 pics …
Water collection and storage ciste…
Water collection and storage cist…
San Diego
photo by: Sunflower300