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The Abandoned Mushroom House on Blacks Beach San Diego

Have you heard about the Mushroom House at Blacks Beach? Here’s everything you need to know.

We love discovering hidden secrets wherever we live, and San Diego has been full of them, including a secret sea cave and dangerous surf trail named after the famous trail in Vietnam. While hiking the Ho Chi Minh Trail, we discovered yet another San Diego secret: the Mushroom House.

The Abandoned Mushroom House La Jolla San Diego & Blacks BeachPinPin

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Last Updated: January 20, 2023

About the Abandoned Mushroom House on Blacks Beach San Diego

A unique mushroom-shaped building hides at bottom of the cliffs at Blacks Beach. The architect Dal Nagle designed it and built it in 1968 to withstand naturally occurring rock slides, earthquakes, and waves. The original name was the Bell Pavillion (for Sam Bell of Bell’s Potato Chips), and you could access it from the cliffs via a nearly vertical tramway running almost 300 feet down the cliff. It was also used as a guest house, and it offers a 180-degree view from Torrey Pines State Park to La Jolla.

Rumors say it was last owned by UCSD as a place for professors and administrators to take a sabbatical. You can’t enter the house since it’s private property, but we enjoyed taking photos and relaxing on the beach.

See More: Secret Surf Trail – Ho Chi Minh Trail San Diego

The Abandoned Mushroom House & Blacks Beach San DiegoPin

Directions to the Mushroom House

The Mushroom House has an official address: 9036 La Jolla Shores Ln, La Jolla, CA 92037 (map)

It is tucked away in the cliffs on the south side of Torrey Pines City Beach / Black’s Beach. To get there, you can either take the Ho Chi Minh Trail or hike down the paved road just north of the house. Once you arrive at the beach, just go south and you can’t miss it. Here is a map of the trail that we took with the Mushroom House marked on it.

If you’ve explored the beaches in San Diego, you’ll know that Blacks Beach is also known as the nude beach in San Diego. If you want to go nude, you can find the nude side at the north end of the beach.

See More: Ultimate Guide to San Diego Beaches Bucket List

Our Experience

We headed out to the area primarily for the Ho Chi Minh Trail. We took our time exploring different angles and seeing the beautiful landscapes before we started making our way down the beach. As we headed towards the road that would take us back to the car, we saw the Mushroom House in the distance and couldn’t resist getting closer to see it in person.

Since we didn’t know what it was, it was fun to speculate before doing research. It was also and an awesome spot to hang out during sunset. Since we found the house, we ended up spending another 45 minutes at the beach enjoying the scenery before leaving.

See More: 25 Free Things to Do in San Diego

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Have you checked out the abandoned Mushroom House or what about any other abandoned spots near you?

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Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Mary V Melcher

    It was part of the property above it, a very nice but relatively modest house) which is on the highway. It was owned by the Bell family (Mr. Bell was the heir to the General Mills fortune). I think at the time (1970’s) these properties were in possession of one owner, Mr. Bell. I have stayed in the mushroom house, but the interior is nothing to shout about….

  2. J

    I went to high school with a gal who’s dad bought it in the 80s and it then went to another LJHS fam after that. I’ve got a couple old pics of us inside it…..

  3. James A DeVore

    That is a very cool house I do not why it’s not being used just sitting empty I would love see it and make an offer to purchase it I could see it rented out it would pay for itself it in no time at all

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