San Clemente Beach Trail runs along the coast from North Beach to Calafia Beach south of the San Clemente Pier. The trail starts at North Beach where there is a large parking lot at the Metrolink station. There is an hourly fee to park here and if you don’t have change you can pay by credit card. Some nearby free street parking is available.
The trail leads out of the parking lot with steep cliffs on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. The San Clemente Beach Trail is open to both pedestrians and bicycles and is also used by runners, dog walkers and families with kids.
The ever-present railroad track next to the beach trail is used by Amtrak Trains, chances are you will see at least one train on your hike. The trains are fun to watch but please keep off the tracks. Only cross at designated points.
As your hike down the trail notice the homes perched on the bluffs. Many homeowners are in a constant battle to save their home from falling into the ocean and have come up with creative ways to battle nature.
About a quarter mile from North Beach the trail is elevated above the tracks and gives you a spectacular view of the beach and San Clemente Pier in the distance. The Pier is the halfway point of the trail and a perfect place to stop and rest.
If you have worked up an appetite Fisherman’s Restaurant at the foot of the pier is rated best seafood in San Clemente.
For a lighter snack head out to the end of the pier and enjoy some homemade clam chowder at the Pier Shack & Grill. From the pier, the San Clemente Beach Trail continues past T street, a well-known surf break, and finally ends at Calafia Beach. The total length of the trail including a trip to the end of the pier is about three miles.
Walkers, joggers, cyclists and dog owners the San Clemente Beach Trail is a wonderful place to enjoy a hike along the coast.
The San Clemente trail can be accessed at several points. The two main parking areas are at North Beach and the San Clemente Pier.
Between North Beach and the pier, you can San Clemente Beach trail access points at Dune Beach, El Portal Beach, Mariposa Beach, Linda Lane Beach and Corta Lane Trail. South of the pier access points includes T Street, Lost Winds Beach, Riviera Beach, Montalvo beach and Calafia Beach.
Most parking areas are metered, but free street parking can be found with a little effort. San Clemente trail is mostly flat with the exception of the elevated section near North Beach.
This coastal hiking trail is suitable for everyone and is dog-friendly. Take a trip to one of the most scenic beach trails in Orange County, you will not be disappointed.
There are a few rules to follow while using the San Clemente Coastal Trail: Bicyclist’s use caution when approaching and passing other trail users.
Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day Weekend there is designated “Walk Bike Zones”. Dogs must be a 6 foot (or shorter) leash. Please pick up after your pet. There are disposable bags and waste containers along the trail for your convince.
Trail hours are 4 a.m. to midnight, except on the segment from the south T-Street restrooms to Calafia Beach where the hours are from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Finally, Pedestrians are prohibited from trespassing into the rail corridor, which is owned by the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA). There are plenty of safe places to cross the track don’t take a chance and jump the fence.
Trains travel up to 50 mph along the beach trail and can be upon you in seconds. Be safe and use the marked train crossings.