The tide pools are located at the base of a cliff in Rancho Palos Verdes. These tide pools have a large shallow lagoon exposed during low tide that has large numbers of sea hares, sea anemones and urchins. Healthy populations of algae are also present in this area. The shallow pool area is protected from wave action by high rock benches. The outer portions of these rock benches have mussels, barnacles and other common marine life more adapted to greater wave action. Be sure to explore the pools on these benches as they have red urchins and lots of small fish, Chitons, giant key whole limpets and much more.
Location, Parking and AmenitiesThe parking lot for the tidepool area is located at the top of the cliff. The entrance to the parking area is from Palos Verdes Drive just south of Sea Cove Drive. Note that this is the only access to the tidepool area as there is no street parking available. There is a fee to park in this lot. Portable restrooms are available in the parking area and the beach area.
Tide Pool AccessAccess to the tide pool area is from a long dirt trail at the south end of the parking lot. There are two trails to choose from. The upper trail ( Chapel View Trail ) intersects the Beach School trail and ends at the beach. The lower trail ( Abalone Cove Trail ) follows a steeper narrow dirt trail down to the beach. Both trails end at the same location. Follow the path along the beach to the base of the cliffs to the south. Note that the tidepool area extends around this cliff and provides great opportunity to view marine life and is a bit less crowded.
Points of InterestThe tide pools at Abalone Cove allow visitors to see a wide variety of marine life. The area has a few large rock bench areas that surround a large, shallow lagoon area. This lagoon area is exposed at lower tides. This area is not too rough and easily waded. However, the rocks are covered with algae and very slippery. The lagoon area has large numbers of sea hares, sea urchins and anemones. The rock formations provide excellent habitat for these animals and are particularly abundant.
The rock benches further out have numerous smaller pools of water. These pools also have large amounts of urchins, anemones, lots of fish, chitons, barnacles and the occasional red urchin. Giant keyhole limpets can also be found near the deeper parts of the lagoon. Large beds of Mussels and barnacles can be found on the outer portions of the rock benches.
The more exposed outer portions of the rock benches are covered by a variety of red and brown algae. Most of the lower portions are completely covered by sea palms, feather boa kelp and a variety of red algae. Note that there are very few sea stars as this area was particularly affected by the sea start wasting syndrome.