SD - Hike - Bayside Trail Nature and Culture Interpretive Hike

  • Sun, November 13, 2022
  • 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive San Diego, CA 92106



The Bayside Trail is a 3.9-km out-and-back trail, within the Cabrillo National Monument Park. Because it is on the east facing side of Point Loma, it faces San Diego with expansive bay views along the way. It is located in one of the last coastal areas in the San Diego region with well-preserved coastal scrub and chaparral habitat. Many kinds of wildlife—birds, reptiles, marine mammals—may be observed. It was here that Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo landed in 1542 and claimed the land for Spain, although it has belonged to indigenous peoples for thousands of years. 

On this interpretive hike our special emphasis will be about seeing the area in a whole new way, by learning about how different cultures have interacted with the area through time. For thousands of years Kumeyaay people who have lived in the area and have made use of every plant and animal, both those of the land and of the sea. We will stop and talk about different plants along the way and how native peoples have used them for food, medicine, tools, construction materials, regalia, ceremony and more. We will also learn about more recent history, including the arrival of the Spanish in 1542 and other historical happenings throughout the years. Keep in mind that this walk is not so much a “power hike” but rather a fascinating educational stroll with stops along the way. Our guide, GO member Mike Wilken, is an anthropologist, naturalist and author of the book Kumeyaay Ethnobotany: Shared Heritage of the Californias. 


Meeting Date & Time:Sunday, November 13, 2022 @ 9:00am 

Meeting place: 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive, San Diego, CA 92106 - VISITOR CENTER

We will be at the entry to the visitor center right off the roundabout for passenger drop-off. 

Host: Mike Wilken

Parking:Ample parking is available near the Visitor Center. 

Cost: To enter the park, the National Park Service charges:

•  Cabrillo National Monument Vehicle Permit - $20 (U.S. Dollars)

Admits one single, private, non-commercial vehicle and all its passengers. 

•  Cabrillo National Monument Motorcycle Permit - $15 (U.S. Dollars)

Admits one single, private, non-commercial motorcycle and its passenger(s).

•  Cabrillo National Monument Individual Permit - $10/person (U.S. Dollars)

Admits one individual when entering by foot or bicycle. Groups of up to 4 people walking in or on bicycles are capped at $20 total.

Carpooling is a great idea!

Time Commitment Plan for approx 2-3 hours 

Trail: From the Visitor Center, we will walk to the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, from there the road to the Bayside Trail starts just northeast of the lighthouse.

Here is the write-up from Alltrails:

Here is the write-up on the trail from NPS:

Length: 3.9 km (about than 2.5 miles) 

Difficulty: EASY but some slopes, basically downhill for first half then uphill coming back. 

Elevation Gain: ~107 meters 

Accessibility: Wide and well-maintained trail, NPS says: The Bayside Trail starts as asphalt (with moving cars) then turns into a wide, hard-packed dirt path. It is an out and back trail which is a gentle downhill on the way out and uphill on the way back. The trail can be uneven at times. There are several benches along the trail for beautiful bay views.

RSVP: Not necessary

Dogs: No dogs, sorry. 

What to Bring

  • Snacks
  • Ten Essentials
  • Phone/camera 
  • Warm weather clothing
  • Any prescription or other needed medications
  • Sun protection (hat, sunglasses, sunblock, lip block)

Cell Phone Service: No reception issues anticipated.

Health Problems/Allergies: It is the responsibility of participants to carry on their person a record of significant allergies, medications and medical history in the event of a medical emergency. Discuss any medical concerns with a trip leader if you wish. Bees have been reported in the area. 

Contact/Question - If you have any questions not addressed by the information above or on our registration page, please feel free to contact the trip leader: Mike Wilken (

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