Tidepools at La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove Tide Pools

The tide pools at La Jolla Cove are located on the northern end of Scripps Park near downtown La Jolla San Diego. The tidepool area starts at the northern end and wraps around the point for quite a distance. The tide pools are composed of a large rocky bench area that slopes down toward the ocean. The tide pools provide a convenient location for visitors to view tidepool life without having to travel too far. There are abundant limpets, anemones, hermit crabs, mussels and barnacles of different shapes and sizes. Plenty of algae cover the rocks making the rocks very slippery but also makes exploring a bit exiting. The mussels and barnacles can be found lower in the tidepool area along with abundant seagrass. Expect to share the area with many visitors as this is a very popular tourist location.
Tidepools at La Jolla Cove Tidepools at La Jolla Cove La Jolla Cove Tidepool - Wave action at tidepool area can be rough La Jolla Cove - Mussels, Barnacles and algae on rock outcropping La Jolla Cove - Limpets are plentiful on rocks La Jolla Cove tidepool - Calmer inner tidepool area La Jolla Cove tidepool - Rock pitted with holes made by Chitons La Jolla Cove tidepool - Rocks with various limpets Clam in tidepool area Rock with areas of aggregating anemones Tidepool with anemones, chitons and algae Whelk slowly moving on the rocks Exposed rocks at low tide. Notice seagrass area at back Clumps of Barnacles attached to rock Hermit Crab in Whelk shell

Location and Parking

The tidepools are adjacent to the La Jolla Cove on the northern end of Scripps Park in La Jolla San Diego. Free parking is located along the streets around the park. Note that this area is very popular and finding an open parking space can be challenging at times. There are restroom facilities and plenty of shops and restaurants within a short distance.

Tide pool Access

Walk to the northern end of Scripps Park and find the access ways in the low retaining wall. The access ways provide and easy access to the tidepool area. The tidepool area extends all around the point and down the coast a bit. There are multiple entry locations. Each area provides a slightly different topography and opportunity to see different seaweeds and animals. Note that the tidepool area is exposed to the ocean and strong wave action can provide unsuspecting visitors and unpleasant experience. I have seen more than one group of visitors get rescued by lifeguards.

Points of Interest

The first thing a visitor may notice is the upper tidepool area is covered by thousands of small pits in the rock. These pits where formed in part by chitons burrowing in the soft stone over time. The chitons can still be seen at the bottom each pit in many instances. Mussels and other animals will also inhabit these small depressions when the chiton moves on.

The area also provides a good set of horizontal and vertical surfaces that allow for many areas for seaweed and animals to attach too. Mussels and Barnacles can be seen in the more vertical areas farther out in the tidepool area. Most of the lower tidal area is covered by red algae and sea grass in the sheltered areas.

Another point of interest is the limpets. There are a variety of limpets that can be seen on the more exposed rock surfaces higher in the tide zone. On occasion, these limpets will also form a small depression in the rock as limpets tend feed in the same area and return to the same spot during the day. There are numerous shallow tide pools throughout the area that harbor many Anemones and other animals. Take a few moments to explore these areas as there is quite a variety of animals to see. The patient victory will see hermit crabs, plenty of snails, whelks, crabs and the occasional sea start and urchin.
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