Railroad Safety Trail


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Railroad Safety Trail Facts

States: California
Counties: San Luis Obispo
Length: 1.9 miles
Trail end points: Alex G. Spanos Stadium on California Blvd. and Orcutt Rd. west of Laurel Ln.
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6132443
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking

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Railroad Safety Trail Description

Open in two disconnected segments, the paved Railroad Safety Trail parallels active Union Pacific freight and Amtrak passenger lines through the heart of San Luis Obispo. Future plans call for the linking of the two segments, significantly increasing the trail's utility for city residents and visitors.

The northern portion of the rail-with-trail heads south from Cal Poly's football stadium to a point just north of US 101. Farther south, the older trail segment provides convenient access from San Luis Obispo's southeast neighborhoods to the local Amtrak station and downtown. A pedestrian crossing is provided over the railroad tracks at Osos Street. On the west side of the railroad tracks, a great attraction to visit is the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum (1940 Santa Barbara Avenue), just a block south of the railroad overpass.

Also, about midway along the southern segment, a spur runs up to Boulevard Del Campo, where travelers can take a side trip to reach Sinsheimer Park and the baseball stadium.

Parking and Trail Access

There are no official parking areas for the northern portion of the Railroad Safety Trail, but parking may be available on Cal Poly's campus. Be sure to obey any posted parking restrictions.

Street parking for the southern segment is available at the end of Boulevard Del Campo. Ample parking is also available in nearby Sinsheimer Park (900 Southwood Drive).

Railroad Safety Trail Reviews

For my cross country (Canada-Mexico) via trails only ride, I needed to go from 35:23584 to 35.3030 degrees latitude (4.7 mi). With this trail being only 1.5 miles, I had to ride, streets and sidewalks from RFK Library on the Cal Poly-SLO campus to the county airport. The RR Safety Trail is short and not well marked, especially as to which side of the three tier overpass bridge one needed to take to get on the SLO Railroad Safety Trail. A runner that was coming off the bridge said I needed to cross to the west side of the tracks. After wheeling my bike up the ramps and across the bridge, I could see the trail was actually on the east side of the tracks. So back up the ramps, across the bridge and down the ramps to the trail I went. Some homeless folks along the safety trail were into hard begging so I rode as fast as I dare to get away from them. I guess I expected a longer trail and no hassle from the "did not stay at the Holiday Inn Express" crowd, so I was not impressed with the trail situation in SLO. For trail riders it appears it will be a long time before SLO has destination bike trails. It's too bad given it is a beautiful area including an interesting old town area and a large state university. Come on SLO, get some some more safe trails built and include signage for the out-of-towners. If you had destination trails, you might find people from other states and countries spending money there.

TRAILBEAR on the RR Bike Path – short and sweet.

San Luis Obispo, 5.31.2010

Four days out on the Spring Migration and already the TrailBear is homesick for the SoCal. Hard to believe, but then there are lots of trail choices in the SoCal. If you are looking for Class I bike trails on the Central Coast of CA, the pickins is slim.

The TrailBear has already surveyed the 1 mile Morro Bay Embarcadero Trail and the 4 mile Bob Jones “City to the Sea” Trail on both ends – the delightful beach ride in Avila Beach and the educational sewer plant ride in SLO. About the only other Class I trail around SLO is the Rail Road Safety Trail, a challenging 1.5 miles.

Normally TB would eschew a 1.5 mile trail. It takes him that long to adjust his helmet mirror. However, this one is an orphan trail on TrailLink. It has the map, no pix, no reviews. TB is a sucker for an orphan trail. It has something else – a magnificent three story overpass on the tracks with a ramp and stairs. There should be some good photo angles there. Which is why Der Bear is assembling the Gutterbunny in the station parking lot.

First stop – the station. The map does not show any restrooms on the station end. Surely there are some. Sure ‘nuf, there are some. They are for the Amtrak customers. You need a token to open the door. This might explain the row of used TP wads alongside the bushes beneath the overpass ramp.

NOW, THAT’S A RAMP, GE: N35.27493 W120.65525

TB is impressed. This is not your usual prosaic overpass. It’s a symphony in steel. The bike/ped/wheelchair ramps rise three stories to the bridge deck over the tracks. Great views of the town from up here. Interesting place for photos. TB snaps away. Then over the bridge, down the far ramp and off down the trail to …

BUSHNELL ST. ACCESS, GE: N35.26957 W120.65238
You can access the trail from the bottom of Bushnell St. You will notice that the trail is well-signed. There are informational signs where you need to find them. They call the trail the Rail Road Bike Path. The dedication plaque at the far end calls it the Railroad Recreational Trail.

Nowhere does the name “safety trail” appear. Wonder where TL got that? Probably off some document. These trails start out with grand names which morph into truncated forms when the sign makers get a hold of them. Onward to the …


There is street end parking and access at the end of Del Campo. This is also the access to Sinsheimer Park and the baseball stadium. There is no bike path access to the Sinsheimer complex. Take the dirt paths uphill. You probably can find restrooms up there. TrailBear rode on to the …

TRAIL END ON ORCUTT RD., GE: N35.26144 W120.64425

That’s all, folks. 1.5 miles of good blacktop and a turn around here on Orcutt. You can retrace your steps or take to the bike lanes which SLO has in some abundance.

Ride on!

Riding the ramps at the station overpass

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