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October 13, 2020

Cardiff and Solana Beach - now connected by trail

Last week San Elijo Lagoon opened a new trail connecting the Nature Center with Harbaugh Seaside Trails at the north end of Solana Beach.  Two foot bridges over the lagoon and a pedestrian underpass were constructed to complete the trial.  I edited the map from their website to show the new trail in red.

But I am getting way ahead of myself.  This will be my destination, the reason to enjoy this sunny day near the beach.  I'll be doing this as a 'bike'n'hike', although 'hike' is a bit of an exaggeration. 

I unloaded the bike at the south entrance to Solana Beach.  Parking can be tight here, there is paid parking along Via de la Valle along with 2 hr free parking spots or free untimed spots in the residential area.  Start here because it's fun!


Solana Beach has completed its section of the Coastal Rail Trail that will eventually connect Oceanside to San Diego, some 44 miles of multi-use bike, hike, jog paths.

Like the Solana Beach welcome banner, the pillars of the Coastal Rail Trail are adorned with artwork of the regions history.  Note that water faucet on the left side of the following pillar!  It's important and a little known trivia of Solana Beach.  I'll get to that on my ride back.
The trail follows HiWay 101, and although there is a bike path on 101, this is a lot more relaxed and fun.
Rest benches on the trail are designed like waves, appear to be made out of sand, complete with shells.
Not just along the trail but throughout Solana Beach can be found fun quotes from poets, writers we've heard of ... even if the quote cannot be placed.
"The moon is distant from the sea,
and yet with amber hands 
She leads him docile as a boy
Among appointed sand" ~Emily Dickinson
Art and thoughts are not just underfoot, there's fun stuff at eye level too.

Be sure to stop at the foot bridge, it's well worth the time and is another work of art.  At the foot of the stairs is a drinking fountain for adults, kids and furry friends.  Yes the trail is pooch friendly for well behaved leashed companions.

The fountain stands in colorful sea life mosaic
The bridge floor is embedded with sea glass and colored stones.  A lot of thought and effort went into this.

Across the bridge is the Solana Beach artsy-fartsy-yuppie side, Cedros Avenue.  Well they do offer a Sunday Farmers Market for the gentry.

Crab Crossing?  That needs some research, any takers?

Yup, even the pedestrian crossings have artwork.

As mentioned at the beginning of this post and shown on my version of the trail map.  Both the Coastal Trail and the San Eligo hiking trail meet.

They meet at Harbaugh Seaside Trails.

The south entrance to the trails is in Solana Beach.  Guess that requires more artwork.

The Seaside Trail down to the pedestrian underpass is bike friendly!  Who Knew!  Yupper I walked it!

It's an easy walk through the newly planted native gardens and views to the horizon.

The west entrance to the passage under the train tracks.  Technically I would be in Cardiff-By-the-Sea at this point, but the tunnel also has artwork ... and not from the spray can artists.

Going through the tunnel the Nature Center is to the left and the south trails including Annie's Canyon are to the right.  I've hiked Annie's several times, the first time it was still called the Sand Canyons, then with Fran and there's a ladder at the end.

It's probably less than a half mile from the underpass to the Nature Center, which is my ultimate destination.  But there's a couple stops to share from the bike.

The right lane of 101 in both directions is a bike lane for the pedal pushers.  But the shoulder is set off as a safety path for families, or in my case slow geriatric bikers.  No pedestrians allowed in the northbound side of 101.  A bi-direction path is set aside in the southbound lanes

To reach the nature center turn right at the Cardiff Kook stay in the right lane and then right again after the tracks

Final destination achieved, but now have to backtrack to the underpass following the new lagoon trail.  No bikes allowed on these trails.

The first of the new foot bridges is the longer.

The second has the same construction of concrete with metal rails.

Nice views of the lagoon can be seen from most trails in the park

A side trip to the right of the second bridge leads to a lesser traveled overlook of the lagoon.  OK birds stamped into the cross members of the train trestle.

Homes in Cardiff are built right down to the waters edge.

The return bike path is with the southbound lanes of 101 and shared with pedestrians who travel both directions.  Again the righthand lane of 101 is a bike lane for the hardcore, with the same marked off section for families, peds and geriatrics.

Remember that water faucet on the pillar at the beginning?  Solana Beach is built on a sandstone bluff, originally there was no beach.  The early developers realized it needed to have  beach.  Fletcher Cove was carved out of the bluffs using water cannons!  Still the beach is best accessed at low tide.
This is a lot harder than it looks! 

"Sit in reverie and watch the changing colors of the water that break upon the idle seashore of the mind" ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In my last post I mentioned that Achilles Tendonitis is a bit of a problem.  I do not have a magic cure, for this outing I used tape and Ace bandages, and a lot of ice on the return!


Post settings Labels Solana Beach Published on 10/13/20 1:10 PM Links Location Options


  1. I love all the artwork along the way!

    1. it was indeed FUN! I knew there would be some but they've done a fabulous presentation of their section to the Costal Trail. Definitely worth a walk.

  2. Added to the list! What a great trail and I love that the government down there is prioritizing projects like this. So much detail and thoughtfulness in the design and the execution. Great stuff!

    1. It is definitely worth an afternoon stroll. I'll go back in the spring when the landscaping is in bloom.

  3. Such nice art on cool paths.

    1. Other sections of the Coastal Rail Trail are also open, but Solana Beach sure has raised the bar. Such a fun section!


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