• The tidepools of Cabrillo National Monument


    National Monument California

There are park alerts in effect.
hide Alerts »
  • Visitor Center Scheduled to be Closed Until Mid to Late July

    The Visitor Center is undergoing a Seismic Retrofit. Visitors will still be able to access the Auditorium, Ballast View and the East Patio. These dates are subject to change. Please call 619 557-5450 for updated information

A Virtual Visit to the Tidepools

High Tide

High tide at the intertidal area of Cabrillo National Monument. Lots of water, but no tidepools!

Low Tide

Now that's more like it! A good example of low tide - let's begin our exploration!


When you arrive at the tidepools, stop first at the kiosk at the trailhead and check out the latest exhibit.

Visit the Education Table if volunteers are working.

Tidepool Trail
Less than 150 yards, a short trail heads from the kiosk to a set of stairs leading to the tidepools.
The tidepool trail ends at the first set of stairs.....
Tidepool Stairs
.....then proceeds down a second set of stairs.
Balanced Rock

The trail ends at a grouping of balanced rocks, deposited on their rocky perch by strong wave action.

Tidepool Cliff Steps
A short scramble down natural sandstone steps and you're standing in the tidepool's rocky cove. Remember to use caution when negotiating the steps, as they can be uneven and slippery.
Enjoying the tidepools

Venture out and discover what waits in the pools between the rocks after the tide has receded.

Enjoying the tidepools
An entire new world is revealed at low tide.
Mussels robustly cling fast to their exposed rock.....
Bat star
.....while a bat star patiently waits for someone to discover its quiet beauty.
Tidepool close-up

Don't be afraid to crouch down low to get a close-up view.

High splash zone

When you leave, be sure to discover the beauty of the high splash zone, located by the balanced rocks. Be careful, however, and watch your step: you are now back on top of the cliffs.


The end of another picture-perfect day at the tidepools of Cabrillo National Monument. What did you discover?

Did You Know?

Lighthouse lantern

Did you know that, back in the mid- to late-1800s, children of lightkeepers at the Old Point Loma Lighthouse at Cabrillo National Monument had to row a boat from Point Loma to Old Town San Diego to get to school?