Hike to the "Sunken City" in San Pedro and observe the fate of a 1920s subdivision.
Hike to what remains of the "Sunken City" and partake of great coastal views.
Hike to what remains of the “Sunken City” and partake of great coastal views.

It started out like any other coastal development: a six-acre community of bungalows, perched on the San Pedro cliffs. Then, one day in 1929, the earth moved. A lot. One foot a day!

Turns out what was prime real estate was actually subprime ground. High amounts of bentonite (a kind of clay that is quite slippery when wet) might be to blame for what became known as “Sunken City.”

Hike to the "Sunken City" in San Pedro and observe the fate of a 1920s subdivision.
Hike to the “Sunken City” in San Pedro and observe the fate of a 1920s subdivision.

The view of where southernmost Los Angeles really went south is quite intriguing—particularly of the ground itself, full of deep cracks and fissures and eroded into Bryce Canyon-like badlands. Slabs of concrete from foundations and sidewalks, once horizontal are now angled vertically and covered with graffiti of better-than-usual artistic merit. Adding a post-Apocalyptic touch are broken brickwork, remnants of electrical connections and palm trees, still thriving after all these years.

Directions: Hikers traditionally access trailheads for the short but steep hikes to the Sunken City at the end of Pacific and Carolina avenues in San Pedro. Please observe posted restrictions.