Dana Headlands Open Space Trail

Trail Map

Description Suggest an Edit

Want an enjoyable loop hike with ocean views and three new parks plus a preserve? Check out the new parks while you hike the Dana Headlands Open Space Trail.

Start at new Nature Interpretative Center atop the headlands and head out across the California Coastal Scrub and one of the last refuges of the Pacific Pocket Mouse. There are five overlooks along this section of the trail. It then climbs to Dana Strand Rd. and down the sidewalk to the South Strand Switchback Trail. A bit further on you catch the bike/ped trail to the Pacific Coast Highway and start the loop back.

For a longer loop hike, go down the switchbacks and along the Strand Beach to the funicular on the north end. Your choices here are stairs or funicular to the top, then back along the edge of Strand Vista Park to the Veteran's Memorial Plaza. Here you take the bike/ped trail up to CA 1, then get on the trail through Hilltop Park. Take the side trail up to the highest overlook on the trail and one with 360 views. Then through the park, down to the Harbor Point Park (3 overlooks) and back up the sidewalk to the Center.

Parking and Trail Access

From CA 1: Take Pacific Coast Highway southbound in Dana Point, turn right onto the Street of the Green Lantern and follow it to the Nature Interpretative Center at the end of the road on the headland. The name changes to Scenic Drive where it meets the Cove Rd.

Reviews

Hike the Dana Point Headlands

   January, 2014 by mickpee

This has to be one of the best 2-3 mile trails in the country. Views of the ocean, surfers, marine mammals like whales, birds, fauna, the whole thing right on the ocean. I took my lunch and a telescope and made a day of it. Enjoy. read more

Headlands trail in Dana Point

   December, 2013 by danapointpete

For those of us who enjoy a two mile trail near the ocean, this is ideal. Not too challenging. Very beautiful. The Dana Point Headlands is one of my favorite places in California. If you go during the right time, you can see all kind of whales and ...read more

Great for single file cows who don't wish to really see anything.

   December, 2012 by markdraws

Too narrow. Too far from the cliff edge. Montage walk way should have been looked at for proper design. Goes nowhere. Brush has been filled with endless white pvc pipe to water desert area plants. Horrible tax write off to just make it easier to build ...read more