San Clemente Beach Trail

San Clemente, California 92672

Elevation Gain187ft
Trailhead Elevation24ft
Elevation Min/Max14/37ft
Elevation Start/End24/24ft

San Clemente Beach Trail

San Clemente Beach Trail is a hiking and biking trail in San Clemente, California. It is 2.4 miles long and begins at 24 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 4.6 miles with a total elevation gain of 187 feet. The North Beach is near the trailhead. There is also drinking water. El Portal (elevation 13 feet), The Pier Beach, T Street Beach, and another beach can be seen along the trail. There are also sun shelter shelters, parking, and a viewpoint along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Lasuen.

San Clemente Beach Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

"This hike makes a loop along the shoreline, then returns along a road atop the bluffs. The trail begins at Calafia Beach Park, a day-use area at the foot of Avenida Calafia. The beach provides a pedestrian crossing over the railroad tracks. The route follows the coastline from Calafia Beach Park to San Mateo Point, where it loops back along the top of the bluffs. En route, the trail passes former President Nixon’s “Western White House.” The estate was also used during his retreat into isolation after resigning from office. The Spanish-style stucco home, with a red tile roof, sits on 25 blufftop acres. It is obscured, but recognizable from its surroundings, by a dense cover of palm trees."
Orange County: A Day Hiker's Guide (The Trailmaster)
John McKinney
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"San Clemente State Beach is a great place for a hike. The beach is mercifully walled off from the din of the San Diego Freeway and the confusion of the modern world by a handsome line of tan-colored bluffs. Only the occasional train passing over Santa Fe Railroad tracks, located near the shore interrupt the cry of the gull, the roar of the breakers. The trestles located at the south end of the beach at San Mateo Point give Trestles Beach its name. Trestles Beach is one of the finest surfing areas on the West Coast. When the surf is up, the waves peel rapidly across San Mateo Point, creating a great ride. Before the area became part of the state beach, it was restricted government property belonging to Camp Pendleton Marine Base. During the 1960s and 1970s, surfers carried on guerrilla warfare with U.S. Marines. Trespassing surfers were chased, arrested and fined, and on many occasions had their boards confiscated."
Driving the Pacific Coast: California (The Globe Pequot Press)
Donna Peck Editor
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"Relatively unknown outside southern California circles only a few decades ago, San Clemente stepped into the world arena in 1969 when Richard M. Nixon purchased property that once belonged to one of the city’s founding fathers. The estate soon became known as the Western White House, and whenever the president and his family occupied it, the network news anchors were sure to mention San Clemente in every broadcast. With much of that fame, if not notoriety, in its past, San Clemente today is mainly a community of contented retirees and summer vacationers. Rumors, rumblings, and nearby multimillion-dollar property deals, however, indicate that the “Spanish Village” is on its way to resort status and will no doubt begin attracting greater numbers of visitors all year to its pleasant climate and recreational opportunities. If San Clemente is about to arrive, Dana Point is already there. Named after Richard Henry Dana, who first came to these shores in 1835 aboard the brig Pilgrim and later wrote the classic adventure romance Two Years before the Mast, Dana Point plays well its role of romantic seaport. Everywhere are reminders of the city’s nautical heritage, from its fine little maritime museum to the exquisite sailing replica of the Pilgrim moored in the $20-million harbor. Dana Point is a shipshape town, with sandy beaches and grassy parks shaded by fan palms and eucalyptus trees. Although malls, plazas, shops, and galleries stand here and there, the focal point of interest for most travelers is the beautiful harbor, where there is plenty to see and do, including picnicking, boating, shopping, dining, exploring tide pools, or just relaxing on the beach. For anyone driving the Pacific Coast, Dana Point is significant as the starting place for California Highway 1, the state’s premier coastal route. It hugs the Pacific shores for most of its length, skimming over coastal lowlands and along the edges of mesas, winding switchback by switchback up craggy mountains, descending into the canyons and valleys of rivers and creeks, twisting through forests, hanging precariously on cliff faces, and straightening out on the broad marine terraces and poppy-dotted meadows. This is the Pacific Coast Highway, famous or infamous, depending on your point of view and the hurry you’re in. Those of us who enjoy its quirks and kinks say, “Welcome to it.” Those who prefer the rush and crush of freeway driving say, “You’re welcome to it.” This eTrail includes information on lodging, campgrounds, RV parks, restaurants, entertainment, shopping, and outdoor activities near these coastal cities."
Best Rail Trails California (Falcon Guides)
Tracy Salcedo-Chourre
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"From the stunning houses perched on cliff s above to the small crowds of surfers bobbing below and off-shore, this rail trail offers the best of both southern California’s “scene” and scenery. Surface: Asphalt, with a generous coating of sand in sections."
Afoot & Afield: Orange County (Wilderness Press)
Jerry Schad and David Money Harris
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"From Dana Point to San Mateo Point, a long, gently curving stretch of sand and surf beckons surfers, swimmers, sunbathers, and strollers. In the north half, both the old coast highway and the tracks of the Santa Fe Railroad follow the beach. South into San Clemente, the highway turns inland, while the tracks, chiseled along the base of tan-colored cliffs, continue near the tide line."

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Trail Information

San Clemente
Nearby City
Additional Use
U.S.G.S. San Clemente
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