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Black's Beach via the Ho Chi Minh Trail

San Diego, California

based on 10 reviews



0.61 miles

Elevation Gain

259 ft

Route Type



Added by Grant

Super hidden local gem that gives you an amazing hike and view of the surf at Black's Beach. Used by surfers and hikers as a tranquil way to access the beach...before/ during/ after a rain it can be very slick and dangerous, definitely take your time and turn around if the end falls are flowing. 

Finding the actual trail is 80% of the adventure. Once you turn down La Jolla Farms Road you will follow it for about 3/4 of a mile and there won't be anything too apparent that you are there, except a few cars parked along the street. Make sure to plug in the directions from the map so you know (I've also attached a photo from the street that shows where you start hiking between the mansions). 

After weaving between houses it will open up to an amazing view of the hills, trail and ocean...from there the trail will be fairly easy to follow. You will know you are on the right track when you get to a 4x4 piece of wood that acts as a makeshift bridge. Keep heading west along the trail that follows a stream which falls in areas. As you get closer to the ocean you will have to wedge yourself between the sandstone and descend down a cave like part of the trail that sounds harder than it is. After this is where the trail will get very narrow and falls, slips and injuries are the most likely to occur.

The final part of the trail (where you are directly above the beach) can be the best or worst part depending on how much water is flowing and how slippery the trail is. Be prepared to possibly get wet, a little muddy, or just walk down perfectly dry and clean...it's that fickle. From here you'll have the entire beach to roam (roughly 3miles). FYI the north part of the beach is still technically a nude beach, enter at your own ocular peril. 

You can come back up the same way you went or you can head south and follow the road up to the main gate and walk back to your car via La Jolla Farms Road (and you can look at all the multi-million dollar homes). 

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Black's Beach via the Ho Chi Minh Trail Reviews

As someone who has enjoyed and cared for this canyon my whole life, I would like to ask anyone reading this to PLEASE CONSIDER FINDING A DIFFERENT ADVENTURE. This route is being damaged by overuse and is frankly quite dangerous, and there are alternative ways to access the beach and cliffs nearby. This trail leads down through Box Canyon to Black's Beach. It has long been used by local surfers, but in the past decade has become VERY popular from the internet. The trail takes you down soft sandstone ledges above steep (>20 foot) drops, and it is very easy to slip and fall. As usage has grown, the rate of erosion in the canyon has greatly increased, and the trail is unrecognizable from its state a decade ago. Some sections are extremely steep and unstable. People need to be rescued from this canyon by emergency personnel every year--please do not add to the burden on our first responders! I encourage hikers and beachgoers to consider alternative routes to help preserve this beautiful and fragile canyon: Black's Beach can be accessed via the paved road (with restrooms!) off of La Jolla Farms Road. The beautiful cliffs above Box Canyon can be accessed by way of the glider port, and there is a well-maintained trail there down to Black's. Torrey Pines reserve to the north has wonderful cliffside hikes and a staircase that can take hikers down to the beach as well. If you are still intent on exploring Box Canyon, please be prepared with sturdy shoes with good traction. Go with a buddy. Do not go when it has recently rained. Don't leave any trash in this rare riparian ecosystem. And if you feel unsafe, TURN AROUND!

Hiked this trail to surf. Was fun but was hard to find

This is a really fun really quick hike in La Jolla that overlooks blacks beach.

After finding the trailhead, I was excited to see the flora and fauna before I reached the beach and watched the surfers and ocean for most of a morning.

I came out to this trail super early and definitely struggled to spot where it started amongst the neighborhood- looks like you’re headed for a driveway but it weaves between houses and drops down sharply, then cuts back up

Fun hike with awesome views.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


Black's Beach via the Gliderport

Surfing at Black's Beach via the Main Gate

Torrey Pines Gliderport

Swing on the La Jolla Tree Swings

Photograph Scripp's Pier

Dive La Jolla Shores