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In the hustle and bustle of the greater Los Angeles area, the Hermosa Valley Greenbelt provides a cool, peaceful escape that is just minutes from the beach. This 3.5-mile trail nestled in a greenway of lush vegetation and flowers seems almost hidden, meandering through the ocean-side suburbs of Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach. These communities, about 20 minutes south of Los Angeles, have all the quintessential qualities of classic Southern California towns, including palm-tree-lined boulevards and an assortment of surf shops, beachfront bars and restaurants.
The northern end of the Hermosa Valley Greenbelt starts by a large parking lot off Rosecrans Avenue in Manhattan Beach and heads southwest. The trail surface, like that of many trails in Southern California, is primarily woodchip. Note that bikes are not permitted.
As you begin, you are quickly surrounded by greenery. After passing through a tranquil Manhattan Beach neighborhood, you reach Live Oak Park where there are ball fields and picnic areas. Looking off to the right, you can see a distant hillside lined with gorgeous homes and, just beyond it, the Pacific Ocean. Continuing south, it becomes more obvious that the trail runs between two roads, North Admore Avenue to the west and North Valley Drive to the east. Both cities have landscaped the trail beautifully to make the roads as unobtrusive as possible.
Where the trail crosses into the city of Hermosa Beach, you will find yourself on a gentle downhill slope. Here, the trail is surrounded by pleasant, quiet neighborhoods. Near the home stretch, you cross Pier Avenue. Just 200 yards down this street (right or left), you'll find a wide variety of restaurants and shops that overlook the Pacific Ocean. You will also find the expansive beaches that this community has to offer.
The trail ends at the intersection of Herondo Street and Valley Drive at the border of the town of Redondo Beach.
To reach the northern trailhead from Interstate 405 in Manhattan Beach, take the Rosecrans Avenue Exit. Head west on Rosecrans Avenue for 1.5 miles to a point just before its intersection with Sepulveda Boulevard. Turn left (south) into the large parking area that serves both the trailhead and the large shopping center on Rosecrans Avenue. The lot stretches toward the trailhead, which is opposite the shopping center at the far southwest end and is well signed.
To reach the southern trailhead from I-405, take the 190th Street Exit and follow 190th west (it becomes Herondo Street) for 4.8 miles. The trail is on the right (north) at the intersection of Herondo Street and Valley Drive. There is no good parking at the southern endpoint, but there is street parking in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Although the app says biking is allowed, the sign posted on the trail at the north and says no cycling.
Urban trails do not get much better than this one. The surface is very soft--a slight disadvantage, but it beats concrete! Water is plenteous along the route, the scenery is lovely, the people were pleasant, and the downtown areas that you pass offer nice cafes and entertainment, even a bit of shopping and restrooms at facilities in parks placed next to the trail. This is a great place to be if you are stuck at LAX for a long day--just catch a bus and get in a hike, as I did.
This trail goes right through the beach communities of Manhattan and Hermosa. It is a pleasant run. There are a couple intersections where you need to cross with cars present. At these intersections, the trail is broken and you need to cross and make your way over to the trail again. It is not always seamless. The trail is also a little bumpy so watch the ankles and knees when running, but on the flip side, the dirt and wood chips provide much more cushion than running on the street. I love being almost completely removed from the cars. I will be back to run this trail often.
A commentor on this trail section stated that the 'real' name of the Hermosa Valley Greenbelt is "Veteran's Parkway". This is not correct. "Veteran's Parkway" is a section of the entire 3.8 mile long greenbelt and is located in adjacent Manhattan Beach.
"This trail is really named Veteran's Parkway.
It's 3.75 miles end-to-end, with 1/4-mile-post markers along the way.
Great for walking and running, but the signs indicate NO Bikes. Also, Dogs OK on leash.
The best parking is at the north end (near Sepulveda Bl. and Rosecrans Av.).
Great use of an old rail line!
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