San Diego Trail Tramps ~ Scheduled Hikes for 2012

 Campout at San Mateo Campground
Trestles Beach (Surfing Mecca) Walk & San Clemente Coastal Trail Hike

Date:  Sunday, September 16, 2012  9:00 AM - 5:00 PM (Campout Friday night, Sept. 14th & Sat. night, Sept. 15th)

Location: North of Oceanside, Camp Pendleton and San Onofre State Beach. Trestles Surf Beach. The San Clemente Coastal/Beach Trail runs 2.7 miles north, along the coastline, towards Dana Point


The San Mateo Campground at San Onofre State Beach is located at 830 Cristianitos Road, in San Clemente, CA 92672 Google Maps will give exact directions.

If hikers leave from the Hillcrest carpool at 9 AM on Sunday, it'll take about 1 hour to drive north along CA-163/I-805/I-5. Head north past Oceanside and Camp Pendleton, then take exit 72 for Cristianitos Rd. and turn right. Go about 1 mile and turn right, into the campground. Pay the day use parking fee and park in the day use area. Parking is limited, so please carpool!

Our hikers who have camped out there for the weekend will meet up with you at the day use parking area around 10 AM to proceed with the day's activities.

Map of San Mateo Campground/Trestles Beach, north to San Clemente Coastal Beach Trail:

Hike Description:

The San Clemente Coastal/Beach Trail is a 2.7 mile trail, running between San Clemente State Beach Park (north of Trestles Beach) and North Beach, just south of Dana Point. The San Clemente Pier is about halfway along the trail. Print out a brochure of the trail to carry with you. That way you'll be able to decide when to turn around and return. Click here: San Clemente Beach Trail Guide

Dogs on a 6 foot leash are welcome, but no dogs are allowed on the beach at any time. If you do bring your dog, you'll have to drive over to the San Clemente State Beach Parking area to begin the hike there, as no dogs are allowed on Trestles Beach. Bicycles are also welcome on the San Clemente Coastal/Beach Trail. Please see bicycle restrictions in brochure listed above.

The total distance for the hike, from the San Mateo Campground, over to Trestles Beach, then north, along San Clemente Coastal/Beach Trail to North Beach, and back again to the campground, is about 10 miles. (Turning around at the San Clemente Pier will cut off about 2 miles, roundtrip.)

Yelp Reviews of San Clemente Beach Trail
"One of the brightest stars among many in this sleepy surf town jewel of California."

A biker's helmet-cam video of part of the route, on YouTube!:

Campout at San Mateo Campground:

We have a number of hikers planning to camp out for the weekend, from Friday to Sunday morning, when others will drive up from San Diego for the day. For details, please contact the Cyberhiker @

San Mateo Campground lies a short distance inland from the 3.5-miles of sandy beaches within San Onofre State Beach. A 1.5-mile Nature Trail connects the campground to Trestles Beach, a world class surfing site. San Mateo Creek flows just east of the campground, outward, towards the ocean, creating key riparian and wetland habitats which host some rare, and even endangered, species. All 157 campsites include a fire pit and picnic table. Hookup sites are available with electricity and water. Other amenities include an RV sanitation station, hot, coin-operated indoor showers, and flush toilets.

San Mateo Campground information, with map

Warning:  Rattlesnakes are found in this area, use caution. 

The area near San Mateo Campground and San Mateo Creek is a Native American Sacred Site, an ancient Acjachemen Nation village called Panhe which is about 8,000 thousand years old. For more info. and photos of the area, please check here: California's Open Spaces- San Mateo/Trestles Beach Area

Environmental Issues of the area:

In the recent past, the proposed 241 Toll Road extension has threatened to be very destructive to Trestles Beach, especially San Mateo Campground, San Mateo Creek and Donna ONeill Land Conservancy. 

If built, the 241 Toll Road South would cause closure of 60% of San Onofre State Beach.  Public access to Trestles would be cut off, the toll road would run through San Mateo Campground, people would literally be camping next to a 6 lane highway.  The nature trail to Trestles Beach (named "Panhe Trail" on the San O trail guide) would be replaced by or have a 6 lane highway above it. 

The toll road would run through the San Mateo Creekbed for 4 miles before connecting with I-5.  "Catch basins" would be dug into the creekbed in numerous locations in attempt to keep polluted water runoff from reaching the ocean--these "catch basins" would also stop the rock and sediment from reaching the ocean.  This rock and sediment forms the offshore reef which forms the world famous Trestles surfbreaks.  Interrupting this natural process will eventually degrade the surf quality at Trestles.

On 2/6/08 the California Coastal Commission ruled the proposed 241 Toll Road extension was not consistent with the California Coastal Protection Act and denied the project.  The company seeking to build the toll road (TCA) is seeking an exception to the Coastal Protection Act and is currently in the appeal process to the Federal Goverment

A public hearing was held September 22, 2008, much to TCA's disappointment, as they did their best to pursuade the Commerce Dept. not to allow a public hearing.  The purpose of the hearing was for the US Secretary of Commerce to hear public testimony and a couple of thousand people attended, an overwelming number of them against the toll road.  In addition around 10,000 letters were written to US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Guiterrez.  The US Secretary of Commerce ruled not to allow the toll road and it is possible (maybe) San Onofre is saved now, after a more than 10 year long battle.