Sandy beach
Hike-in Required
Snorkeling / SCUBA
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Gliderport Trail is one of a few ways to reach Black’s Beach, including the Ho Chi Minh Hike. Unfortunately, you are in for a steep and relatively short hike no matter where you begin. This particular path is just shy of a mile long and descends 308 feet. The rugged terrain means that it is inadvisable to use the trail after dark, and you may want to lace up your hiking boots even if this is the only bit of hiking you’re planning for the day. Partway down the dirt path you will find stairs, some of which are in various states of disrepair. If you have been staring at your feet thus far, take a moment to look out over the beach and across the water. When you reach the beach you can swap out your boots for sandals.

There are two distinct areas within Black’s Beach. The state owns the northern half of the beach, where nudity is allowed. The City of San Diego owns the southern half of the beach, and though nudity was once legal here as well, it is now prohibited. The entirety of the beach spans 2 miles of land. Lifeguards keep an eye on swimmers and surfers, but that should not lull you into a false sense of security. This can be a particularly dangerous place to swim due to the strong rip tides that stem from Scripps Canyon, and inexperienced surfers may want to give this beach a pass until they get more comfortable with the sport.     

If you feel like you want a break from the sand and surf, there are plenty of other adventures to be had in the area. Torrey Pines Gliderport is at the top of the Gliderport Trail, and the Salk Institute is less than a mile away. Mount Soledad is within 5 miles and provides a beautiful view of the greater San Diego area.

Logistics + Planning



Parking Pass

Not Required


Secluded beach. Surfing. Great trail vistas.


Steep Trail. Dogs not allowed.


Whale watching


Nearby Lodging + Camping


additional photos of blacks beach
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