Portuguese Bend Landslide Area

Portuguese Bend Landslide Area

Here is the largest active landslide in the United States. It covers around 250 acres and moves at variable rates around the landslide area from 0.1 to more than an inch a day.

View Larger Map

The original landslide occurred hundreds of thousands of years ago and stopped mysteriously. When officials decided to build the extension of Crenshaw Blvd. to connect to Palos Verdes Drive South in 1956, the landslide was reactivated.


This is one proof that the land is still moving, a small fissure in the ground. There are much larger fissures all around the area which are hidden by the flora that have grown around.

Land Movement

Here is some more proof. You can clearly see the pipe that has separated due to the land movement.

One of the mitigation solutions they have implemented that has seemed to work is using dewatering wells to reduce the amount of ground water. The ground water acts like lubrication for the land to slide over the slippery foundation of bentonites which when wet turns into a clay-like substance. While the land continues to move, thanks to the wells the land doesn’t move quite as fast as it did during the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Unfortunately for the homeowners to the north of the landslide area, the head of the landslide is migrating north at a pretty alarming rate. But I’m not really crying since that land is in the City of Rolling Hills where residents can afford to find other housing alternatives. Plus since that city is completely gated with 24/7 checkpoints, it really fucks up navigating around the peninsula. So boo-fucking-hoo.

The hike isn’t too bad. I was out of breath a couple of times, but I think that was more because I’m a fat mess. The walk was labeled as “moderate” but I didn’t think it was too bad. But then again since we had a geologist as a tour guide with many stops, there was plenty of opportunities for rest.

Portuguese Bend

I know the pictures here don’t do the walk any justice, but when you have the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop how can you go wrong? This site tell you how to navigate to the area. It sounds complicated, but don’t worry about which trail to go or whatever. Just get there and get lost. It’s completely worth it. But just be sure to stay on marked trails since one wrong step you can suffer quite a fall.