La Jolla Swings

The tale of the secret La Jolla swings has been circling San Diego for years, like an old game of telephone. Many have claimed to have visited them. At one time there were three. Then there were none. Now, we know of at least one because we persevered and found it. 

La Jolla has been a beloved holiday spot since the 1880s, renowned for its superb climate, internationally acclaimed beaches, and an extensive selection of accommodations, shops, restaurants, and activities. This article takes you on a journey to uncover the mystery of the La Jolla Swings, guiding you on how to find them and sharing the unforgettable experience that awaits you.

The Mystery of the La Jolla Swings

The origins of the La Jolla Swings are shrouded in mystery, with no definitive account of who first installed them. These swings have a whimsical, almost ephemeral presence, often disappearing only to reappear anew, maintained by anonymous benefactors. Their existence speaks to a communal desire for adventure and a connection with nature, transcending the ordinary park swing experience.

How to Get the Secret Swing in La Jolla?

Once you spot a sign warning of “Danger Bluff Collapse,” you’ll know you’re in the right area. The sign warns that proceeding beyond it could result in injury or death, as the terrain ahead is unmanaged and poses risks such as ground collapse or falling trees. Venture forward at your own risk, paying close attention to where you step.

Following the sign, there’s a rope provided to help visitors navigate the descent safely. The route takes you downhill on an unstable path of loose dirt and rocks, making it easy to slip. Additionally, the path narrows, skirting a crevice just wide enough to pass through. After the rope ends, the terrain becomes somewhat flatter but still descends, so continuous caution is advised. The swing is located a short distance, about 10 feet (~three meters), from where the rope ends.

If the swing is unoccupied upon arrival, you can go ahead and enjoy it immediately, or if others are waiting, you can take your turn. As the swing gains popularity, it’s becoming less of a secret, but if you find it empty, a quick 15-minute visit should suffice for a few swings and capturing that perfect photo.

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How to Find the La Jolla Swings?

Locating the La Jolla Swings is part of the adventure, requiring a bit of exploration and determination. The journey begins at the end of Nautilus Street, where a trailhead leads you towards the cliffs. As you navigate the path, keep an eye out for hidden trails on your left, often marked by stones or faint footpaths.

These swings are not always in the same location, adding to the thrill of the hunt. Early morning visits are recommended for a serene experience, and parking can be found along the residential streets, albeit limited.

The Visiting Experience of Swinging Over La Jolla

Swinging on these hidden treasures offers a moment of pure bliss and exhilaration, as you soar above the breathtaking landscape of La Jolla. The panoramic views of the ocean, the cliffs, and the horizon beyond create a mesmerizing scene that feels both thrilling and peaceful.

Visitors often describe the experience as feeling free and connected to the vast beauty of nature, a moment that remains etched in memory long after the swing comes to a halt.

Walking Along the La Jolla Coast Walk Trail to the Secret Swing

Walking Along the La Jolla Coast Walk Trail to the Secret Swing

The La Jolla Coast Walk Trail stretches approximately 0.6 miles (around 0.97 kilometers) along the scenic coast of La Jolla. Starting near La Jolla Cove and Sunny Jim’s Sea Cave on its western end, the trail extends to its eastern beginning on Coast Walk Road, which diverges from Torrey Pines Road.

While visitors have the option to start from either end, most often start from the west, traverse the full length of the trail, and either circle back to their starting point or proceed to explore La Jolla Cove further.

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Safety and La Jolla Swings Travel Tips

While the La Jolla Swings promise an extraordinary adventure, safety and conservation are paramount. Visitors are encouraged to inspect the swings for safety before use, especially after recent re-installations. Families with children should exercise caution and supervise their young ones closely. Additionally, respecting the natural environment is crucial; visitors should stick to established trails, avoid littering, and leave the swings and surrounding area as pristine as they find it.

  • Parking: Parking can be limited in La Jolla, especially during peak times. Consider visiting early in the morning or later in the afternoon to find parking more easily. Respect local parking regulations to avoid fines.
  • Bring Essentials: Pack water, sunscreen, and snacks for your trip. Wearing a hat and sunglasses can also provide additional protection from the sun.
  • Leave No Trace: Preserve the natural beauty of the area by taking all trash with you and staying on designated paths. Respecting the environment ensures it remains pristine for future visitors.
  • Check the Weather: Before heading out, check the weather forecast. Avoid the swings during wet or windy conditions, as the path may become slippery and the swings more dangerous to use.
  • Enjoy Responsibly: While capturing photos or videos, be careful not to disturb the natural landscape or other visitors. Remember, the goal is to enjoy the scenery and the experience while keeping the area safe and clean for everyone.

Beyond the Swings: Exploring La Jolla

The adventure doesn’t end at the swings. La Jolla is home to a plethora of other attractions worth exploring, such as the serene La Jolla Cove, the vibrant marine life at the Underwater Park, and the eclectic shops and galleries downtown. After your swing adventure, refuel at one of La Jolla’s charming cafes or restaurants, many of which offer meals with stunning ocean views.

Other Attractions in the Area

San Diego is brimming with attractions and activities to keep you occupied. Should you find yourself with an open day or evening, I highly suggest exploring one or both of the following hikes!

Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail

Head northeast for about 25 minutes to reach the Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail. From this point, embark on a roughly 3.4 miles (~5.5 kilometers) hike one way to get to the Los Penasquitos Creek Waterfall. Although the waterfall isn’t particularly grand, especially in the dry season, presenting more as a modest cascade along the creek.

It’s advised to undertake this hike during cooler temperatures due to the limited shade available on the trail. Despite this, the trail provides a pleasant hiking journey, culminating at a scenic creek and waterfall.

Ho Chi Minh Trail 

Drive north for 15 minutes to reach the Ho Chi Minh Trailhead. From there, a roughly 0.4-mile (~0.6 kilometers) hike one way will lead you to Black’s Beach in La Jolla. This trail stands out for its distinctive features, including a wooden plank path, steep ravines, and a rope provided to help hikers navigate the final 20-foot (~six meters) descent.

On our journey, we even encountered surfers tackling the trail barefoot with their surfboards in tow. However, first-time hikers of the Ho Chi Minh trail are advised to wear appropriate footwear and exercise caution due to potential steep drops and the presence of loose dirt and rocks along the route.

Mount Soledad Memorial

Just a 10-minute drive eastward will take you to the Mount Soledad Memorial. The journey involves ascending a mountain, but as a reward, you’ll be treated to sweeping views of the water and the San Diego cityscape. Officially known as the Mount Soledad National Veterans Memorial, it serves as a tribute to all veterans, commemorating both those who have passed away and those who continue to live, in recognition of their service.

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How Many Hidden Swings Are There in La Jolla?

In the enchanting area of La Jolla Cove, curiosity and adventure drive many to seek out its secret swings. Recent explorations and shared experiences from adventurers like myself have revealed that there are three hidden swings to be discovered. Each swing offers its unique view and experience, adding to the allure and mystery of La Jolla’s landscape. 

As an avid explorer and chronicler of these hidden gems, I’ve compiled insights to guide fellow enthusiasts in their quest to uncover these secluded spots. Join me in the adventure to experience the charm of La Jolla’s hidden swings.

Why is La Jolla Famous?

La Jolla has been a beloved holiday spot since the 1880s, renowned for its superb climate, internationally acclaimed beaches, and an extensive selection of accommodations, shops, restaurants, and activities.


The La Jolla Swings offer a unique blend of adventure, mystery, and natural beauty, creating an experience that resonates deeply with those who seek them out. As you plan your visit, remember the importance of respect for the environment and the shared joy these swings bring. The La Jolla Swings are more than just a destination; they are a reminder of the simple pleasures and the profound beauty that surrounds us.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

What are the La Jolla Swings?

The La Jolla Swings are a set of hidden, makeshift swings that have appeared at various locations around La Jolla, California. These swings offer visitors a unique way to enjoy panoramic views of the ocean and the surrounding area.

How can I find the La Jolla Swings?

The exact locations of the La Jolla Swings can change as they are sometimes removed or relocated. Typically, they can be found along the coastal trails or near popular viewing spots in La Jolla. Social media and local online forums often have the most recent updates on their locations.

Are the La Jolla Swings safe to use?

While many enjoy the swings, it’s important to inspect them for safety before use. Check the ropes, seat, and branch or structure they’re attached to for any signs of wear or damage. Use them at your own risk and exercise caution, especially with children.

Is there a fee to use the La Jolla Swings?

No, there is no fee to use the La Jolla Swings. They are free public installations enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. However, parking in La Jolla can sometimes come with fees or be limited.

What should I bring to the La Jolla Swings?

For a comfortable visit, bring water, sunscreen, and a camera, and wear sturdy shoes for the hike. If planning to stay for a while, snacks and a light jacket for the ocean breeze can also enhance your experience.

Can I install my swing in La Jolla?

Installing swings or any structure on public land without permission is not recommended and can be illegal. It’s best to enjoy the swings that are already there and leave the area as you found it.

What else can I do in La Jolla after visiting the swings?

La Jolla is filled with attractions, including beautiful beaches, the La Jolla Cove, boutique shops, art galleries, and exquisite dining options. Nature lovers can also explore the nearby tide pools, kayak in the sea caves, or go snorkeling or scuba diving to see local marine life.