Bayside Trail at Cabrillo NM



As you gaze out to sea from the Monument erected in honor of Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo, you can imagine the excitement Cabrillo and his crew felt when they discovered what is now Point Loma and San Diego Bay.

Shortly after Columbus discovered the Americas, Pope Alexander VI proclaimed the New World to be the property of Spain and Portugal, banning England, France, and the Netherlands from the waters, leaving them without a trade route to Asia–and the race to find the Northwest Passage was on. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was commissioned by Antonia de Mendoza, the viceroy of New Spain, to chart the uncharted coastal waters of what is now California. He was to find the then mythical Strait of Anian (the Northwest Passage), look for the Seven Cities of Gold (Cibola) and to find new places to colonize.

Cabrillo was living and working in Navidad in Jalisco, Mexico as a shipbuilder after a career as the Captain of crossbowmen and Conquistador for Hernan Cortes in the fights against the Aztec Empire, when he accepted the commission. After 3 months or so, Cabrillo’s three ships landed in what is now San Diego Bay, and claimed the land for Spain, naming it San Miguel. After a 6 day stay to wait out a storm, Cabrillo continued his exploration up the California coast, discovering the islands of Santa Catalina and San Clemente, (which he named San Salvador and La Victoria after his ships), before turning toward the mainland, into what is now San Pedro Bay.

Established October 14, 1913 and protecting 144 acres, Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego, California, tells the stories of 16th century exploration, 19th century lighthouses and WWI and WWII military history. Military defense systems, gun batteries, bunkers and control stations are preserved here and the Point Loma Peninsula provides terrific views of the ocean and the San Diego harbor.

Located in Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego, California, the Bayside Trail is a scenic and paved 2.5-mile trail that leads you down an old US Army roadway, through endangered coastal sage scrub habitat and views of San Diego Bay. On clear days you may be able to see Mexico, the Laguna mountains, North Island Naval Air Station, and Coronado Bridge. Both the kelp beds and the coastal chaparral provide homes for a diverse number of native species, both plant and animal. If you visit in the fall, you may see Gray Whales on their way from their summer feeding grounds in the Arctic, back to Baja California to bear young. In January and February, they will head north again with calves in tow. The cry of seabirds overhead, the crashing waves, the smell of crisp sea air–all makes for a wonderful experience.

Cabrillo National Monument is a walk through seafaring adventure and military defense drama, coupled with the mystique of sea creatures and fantastic views. See our Travel Planner here and learn earn more at

JIGSAW PUZZLE: Watch our Big Blend Video “60 Second #OneHourWalk – Bayside Trail,” and then enjoy piecing together this online jigsaw puzzle of the Bayside Trail. Use the full screen icon to make it easier. Use your mouse roller or arrow keys to rotate the puzzle pieces and click and drag to put the pieces in place. Use the Image Icon to see the picture and the Ghost Icon to set your workspace.



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