The tide pool area is composed of two distinct areas. The southern part is known as Treasure Island that has is a rocky bench with a separate small island. This smaller island is only accessible at very low tides and is covered by water entirely at high tide. The northern part of the tidepool area is Goff Island. Goff bay separates the two locations. This area has a large island that remains dry even at the highest tides and surrounded by gently sloping rock bench. Both areas are covered by mussel and barnacle beds with lots of seaweed at the lower tidal zones. There are also plenty of sea stars, urchins and very good pools of water making this area one of the best tidepool locations in the area.
Location and ParkingThe tide pools at Aliso Beach are located at the very north section of the beach right under the Montage resort. There is a large parking lot available at Aliso Beach. There is a fee to park in this parking lot. The tide pool area can also be reached from a footpath that follows the cliff line around the Montage Resort. The footpath can be reached by parking on the street adjacent to the resort. Note that the parking is metered in this area.
Tide pool AccessThe tide pools can be accessed by a moderate walk from the parking area at Aliso Beach. The tidepool area can also be reached by one of two pathways that lead down to the beach from the footpath at the top of the cliff. The tidepool area is located right at the base of these pathways.
Points of InterestThis area is a very popular photography area and it is common to see ten or more photography sessions going on at the same time. This area is also very popular with tourist visiting the beach and area.
The Aliso Beach tide pools are extraordinary in their diversity and amount of marine life. Both locations have extensive mussel and barnacle beds with sea stars eating away at the edges. The Treasure Island area is a flat rocky bench area with several large and small channels in the rock where seawater can rush in and out. The edges are covered by mussel beds and red algae at the lower tidal zones. There are also several large seagrass beds on the less exposed edges. There is a large tidepool located in the middle of this area that has hundreds of urchins, anemones and many small juvenile fish.
Treasure Island is a smaller island separated from the main rocky area. This is only accessible at very low tide with small waves. Along with mussels and Gooseneck Barnacles, many other snails, limpets, sponges, clams, tube worms and several species of algae can be found. There is even more abundant life due to the limited exposure to visitors on this island.
A short walk across a small bay ( Goff bay ) leads to Goff Island. This area has a larger island in the middle that is surrounded by a rock bench that gradually meets the ocean. These rock bench areas provide ideal surface area and water coverage to encourage lots of mussels and barnacles. There are also several channels where seaweed is attached to the sides of the rocks. Several of these channels have thousands of mussel shells littering the bottom. This area is a bit less crowded than the Treasure Island.
Both of these locations provide a great opportunity to view a wide abundance of tidepool life. The area is easy to walk on and explore. There are areas of slippery algae covered rocks but overall provides a good area to walk on. Together with the stunning beaches and easy access, this tidepool area is one of the best in the area.