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September 07, 2019

La Playa Loop - Urban Hiking San Diego

La Playa is the section of Point Loma that is along the west end of San Diego Bay.  The Kumeyaay Indians were active along this seashore long before Juan Cabrillo landed at Ballast Point.  Cabrillo mentions the trail used by the Kumeyaay in his journal.

By 1769 the Spanish used the Kumeyaay path to unload their ships giving it the name La Playa Trail, which by then stretched to Mission de Alcala.  Thus making this the ‘Oldest Commercial Trail West of the Mississippi.

The hike today is from Jerry Shad’s ‘Afoot and Afield’.  His article in the San Diego Reader is found HERE.  As Jerry suggests we will pick up the trail at the Bessemer Path at the southwest corner of the San Diego Yacht Club and Talbot Street.

The trail begins at Bessemer Path as a well maintained dirt path with massive mansion homes on one side and the San Diego Bay on the other.


There are 3 public piers along the Bessemer Path.  Although the pier is open for birdwatching the docking area remains private.


It is pretty clean that No Fishing is allowed from the pier!  However surf fishing is allowed.

At about a half mile is the whimsical Fairy Tree.

With a nice swing to relax on.

The dirt path then joins San Antonio Ave for a few blocks.  There was an ‘Estate Sale’ in progress as we passed one of the beachfront homes.

Nice pool and jacuzzi overlooking the bay.

One of the 7 bathrooms

One of the 5 master bedrooms

I asked to make an offer on the house,but it had already been sold for $5 million!  Well I wasn’t going to offer that much.  The lot was only a quarter acre, and on the water, and with a private dock …

The path again turns to dirt as it comes to its end at Kellogg Beach.  It’s a nice neighborhood beach with limited parking and no facilities.

Kellogg Beach can be used as a turnaround for an easy 2 mile stroll along a historic neighborhood and easy access to the bay.  Walking with the dogs this is a good option.  However, we continued on following Jerry’s directions to the pepper tree lined San Fernando St.

Now this is what I’d like to do with our front yard!  It'd be worth the $5million :)

But Fran has other ideas!, but a vineyard would be kinda fun.

When San Fernando ends, we drop down to San Elijo, a block east. And immediately have to gain that elevation lost and a bit more!

But look at the sit-down views these residents have!  Wow! But I’m thinking we started down there at water level, and now we have to go back down.

At the top of the hill, San Elijo Street ends at Rodgers Street.  Here we put our trust in Jerry’s decades old book and go west – AWAY – from our destination.  And sure enough there is indeed a pathway between the first two houses on our left.

Who Knew?   Jerry knew!

Of all the new construction and old homes we saw on this walk, this is my favorite.  An oldy, but a goody.

A colonial that just needs to be by the ocean.  It would be out of place anywhere else.

We return to the Bessemer Path trailhead, where I just could not pass up on this photo.

This was a perfect day for an adventure!  I am still using a cane and going downhill is more painful on my knee than uphill.

We’re already thinking of doing this route again in the opposite direction to avoid that steep downhill … and lunch at Point Loma Seafoods!  Care to join us?

BTW – well behaved leashed pets are allowed on this loop.  But along the waterfront most of the pets we saw were off-leash, but very well behaved.

RIP Jerry Schad 1949-2011


  1. What a wonderful hike Point Loma Seafoods sounds like and awesome place to enjoy lunch, wish we were closer to the left coast.

    1. The 'left' coast is the 'right' coast for us ;-) Hope our paths cross again on your winter traves.

    2. That would be wonderful looking forward to it.

  2. Replies
    1. LOL- they do offer up a nice selection of fresh-from-the-ocean meals. I'll buy! You just have toget here :)

  3. I use this book as my bible when we are in San Diego County. Love it! I like the diversity of this hike you did. Looking at the homes, we'll never have, is always interesting. And any time you can hike along the water it is a winner. Going down hill is a knee killer.

    1. I have a signed copy of 'Coast to Cactus' by Diana Lindsay, which was recognised by the Canyoneers as the replacement for 'Afoot and Afield' - nope it's not! Save your copy as they are getting hard to find, and not replaceable!

  4. If you wait till late October we would join you for this stroll...

  5. Very nice site. Keep up your hiking exploits.

    1. Thanks Jeff. Declan might like the on-leash path, but most of his hiking is off-leash.

  6. Just discovered your review of the La Playa trail. Thank you for reminding me of Jerry. He was a truly amazing person. He was taken from us too soon!


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