Located in the City of Dana Point off the sunny California coast, is the Dana Point Headlands Trail, also known as the Dana Point Preserve trail. This preserved trail is a part of a trail system that is 3 miles total and weaves in and around the Dana Point Headlands Conservation area that has beach access, scenic overlooks, and the Nature Interpretive Center.
The Dana Point Headlands Trail is an easy 10-minute hike to the Nature Interpretive Center, where visitors can learn about the protected habitat and vegetation unique to the coastal bluff. The Headlands trail also gives the public access to Strands Beach so visitors can explore the tidepools below. To protect endangered species, like the pacific pocket mouse, and other sensitive areas of the surrounding ecosystem, dogs are not allowed on any of the dirt trails within the Headlands, and people must stay on the marked trails at all times.
The parking lot for the Dana Point Headlands Trail is located at Strand Vista Park on Selva Road in Dana Point.
Within the 60-acres of open space in the Dana Point Headlands Conservation Area are hiking trails and conservation parks. There are four trails, and each has its own name and offers visitors a slightly different perspective of the area.
While all of the trails have exquisite views of the Southern California coastline, some allow beach access, like the South Strands Conservation Park Trail and the Dana Point Headlands Trail, while others like the Hilltop Conservation Park Trail and the Harbor Point Conservation Park Trail take in the ocean’s beauty from the bluffs above.
The Dana Point Nature Interpretive Center is located within the Dana Point Headlands Conservation Area. It is a great educational stop for families and visitors to learn about the local ecosystem and endangered species within the Dana Point Headlands.
The Dana Point Headlands Trail and the Nature Interpretive Center, within the Dana Point Headlands Conservation Area, are owned and operated by a non-profit called the Center For Natural Lands Management.
The Nature Interpretive Center parking lot is located at Green Lantern's end above Dana Point Harbor and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am-4 pm.