Palos Verdes Nature Preserve


View Palos Verdes Nature Preserve: Portuguese Bend & Forrestal Preserves in a larger map
blue marker = Portuguese Bend Nature Preserve
yellow marker = Forrestal Nature Preserve

horse in Palos Verdes Nature Preserve

horse on a trail in Palos Verdes Nature Preserve

The Palos Verdes Nature Preserve is composed of 1200 acres of land on the south side of the Palos Verdes Peninsula owned by the city of Rancho Palos Verdes and managed by the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy. This preserve is divided into 10 smaller reserves only a few of which are contiguous. The Portuguese Bend Nature and Forrestal reserves are contiguous, and together comprise approximately 560 acres of land. Few places offer such a unique opportunity for horseback riding in Los Angeles County.

Palos Verdes Nature Preserve trail head sign

Palos Verdes Nature Preserve trail head sign

When you ride on the miles of trails through the Portuguese Bend and Forrestal reserves you may share the trail with hikers, some with dogs, and on some trails cyclists. Trail signs clearly indicate who may use each trail. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on any of the trails, even though some of the trails are actually fire roads wide enough to accommodate the fire trucks needed to protect the surrounding communities from wildfires. You will also share the trail with wildlife. I have personally seen skunks, rabbits, raccoons, foxes, snakes (including rattle snakes), and all kinds of birds. Gypsum track traps have revealed the presence of coyotes.

view of equestrian trails in Portuguese Bend Reserve

view of equestrian trails in Portuguese Bend Reserve

Trails found here vary from wide fire roads to one-horse-wide tracks that wend through bushes 10 feet high. Elevation ranges from approximately 50 ft to 1300 ft. Although there are only a couple of trails closed to equestrians, that's not the same as saying that all other trails are suitable for all equestrians. Many trails skirt precipitous drops, or are very steep. Know before you go. Trails are often rocky. This is a landslide area and the lower part of the Portuguese Bend Reserve is especially unstable. Occasionally the earth opens up cracks large enough for a horse's hoof to slip into. Watch for hazardous cracks in this area. A map of the trails in the Portuguese Bend and Forrestal reserves can be found in the Palos Verdes Peninsula Horsemens Association Trail Guide.

Palos Verdes Nature Preserve trail marker

trail marker

You may also follow this link to view a trail brochure of this area.

horse on Burma Road Trail

horseback riding on Burma Road Trail

Visitors may enjoy this preserve from one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset.

Vanderlip Trail in Palos Verdes Nature Preserve

Vanderlip Trail

The Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy is one of those organizations that truly enriches our community. Not only have they raised funds to buy large tracks of land to preserve open space, but volunteers have worked thousands of hours to complete land use and plant and wildlife surveys, conduct habitat and trail restoration projects, handle fuel modification (brush clearance) and install trail signs. Members of the Conservancy continue to monitor use of these lands and plan future projects for further habitat restoration. I want to thank every volunteer who worked on this preserve for making Los Angeles County a better place. Follow this link to read more about the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy and the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve.

Have some fun with Horse-Report's horse names page.

Follow this link to leave Palos Verdes Nature Preserve and return to the page on Horse Boarding in Los Angeles County.