Trail History

La Playa Trail Association was founded in 2005 to continue the work  of the 1930's historians who erected six monuments along the historic La PlayaTrail that stretched from Ballast Point (the first port of San Diego), to the San Diego Mission and beyond.  

There are 70 registered historic sites between Ballast Point and the Presidio. 

Our goal is to reconstruct, refurbish, and add new markers  that identify historic sites along the trail along with educating the public about Point Loma's  history.


Beginnings On Ballast Point & La Playa

The European Beginnings

La Playa Trail follows the shore of Point Loma starting at  Ballast Point and continuing north along Rosecrans Street to Old Town, across  Mission Valley Nature Preserve to Frairs Road and eastward to  Mission San Diego, and beyond. La Playa Trail has witnessed most of  the early history of San Diego. Early European references to the Trail are found in the accounts of  Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo (1542) and Sebastian Vizcaino (1602).  La Playa Trail has been in continual daily use by the Europeans since April 1, 1769, when the Spanish packet San Antonio arrived from La Paz as  part of the advance party of the Serra-Portola Expedition, which  colonized Alta California for Spain.

Californian Literature

  • Alfred Robinson in Life in California (1846), describes the ride from Hide Park in La Playa to Old Town.,
  • In 1840 Richard Henry Dana in Two Years Before the Mast  tells of riding horses with his shipmate, Stimson, to the Mission along the Trail.
  • The New York Tribune journalist Bayard Taylor, in his book Eldorado, on his way to the gold diggings in 1849 noted that San Diego harbor  was: "...the finest on the Pacific with the exception of Acapulco."  Taylor later wrote the epic poem El Paseo Del Mar, which was a romanticization of the La Playa Trail.
  • George Derby noted in the August 26, 1853 edition of The Alta California:  "Leaving the Playa in a wagon drawn by two wild mules, driven at the  top of their speed, Mac and I were whirled over a hard road, smooth and  even as a ballroom floor, on our way to 'Old Town'."  
  • Point Loma Images of America  an exeptional collection of pictures and commentary by La Playa Trail Association. It cronicles Point Loma peninsula, its neigborhoods, meritime traditions and military connections. 

Registered Historic Sites