La Jolla’s bluffside ‘secret swing’ is mysteriously replaced soon after being mysteriously removed

People use the makeshift “secret swing” tied to a tree on the bluffs next to Coast Walk Trail earlier this year.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

As quickly and mysteriously as the “secret swing” in La Jolla was removed, it has been reinstated. And some people who frequent the area say it is more dangerous than ever.

The secret swing is a makeshift rope and tire or plank hanging from a tree overlooking the bluffs beside Coast Walk Trail. It was removed recently under uncertain circumstances.

It isn’t clear who removed the swing from a tree downslope of Coast Walk Trail, but the president of the nonprofit that supports the trail says she’s happy about it.

“I have no idea who took it down, [but] it’s a great thing,” Brenda Fake, president of the nonprofit Friends of Coast Walk Trail, which works to maintain and preserve the scenic walking trail, said Oct. 24. “I have been bugging the city to remove it because it is an attractive nuisance.”

City of San Diego spokesman Anthony Santacroce said the city had not removed the swing.

Then on Oct. 31, Fake told the La Jolla Light that the swing has been replaced, again by an unknown party. But instead of a new rope tied around the tree, rope has been tied to the one that was cut when the swing was removed.

“It’s really stupid and dangerous,” Fake said.

The swing, which was installed by trail-goers and is not sanctioned by the city, is not accessed by any formal walkway or path.

Earlier this year, Santacroce said the tree with the swing is “not on the trail but downslope from the trail. ... The [city] Transportation Department doesn’t maintain trees on this rocky slope.”

Fake said the swing has attracted people who would climb over a fence to reach it and often engage in unsafe behavior, including having fires. She said that was a particular problem because of dead and dying trees in the area.

In March, Fake said she was worried that a palm weevil infestation that appeared to be affecting trees near the swing could eventually kill or weaken the tree with the swing.

“I tell people that it is dangerous, but people are down there all the time,” she said at the time. “I tell them using the swing is at their own risk.”

A sign directs visitors not to stray beyond the trail boundaries. ◆