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The Inland Rail Trail runs alongside the Sprinter light rail service connecting Escondido to Oceanside. The trail runs for over ten miles through the San Diego County communities of Escondido, San Marcos and parts of Vista, with a 3-mile continuation through Vista added to the route in January 2021. A short, disconnected half-mile portion of trail was also constructed between North Drive and Melrose Drive in Vista and the edge of Oceanside, which will eventually be joined to the rest of the trail. In the future, the trail will extend a total of 21 miles to a terminus at the Coastal Rail Trail on Wisconsin Avenue in Oceanside.
The setting for the Inland Rail Trail between Escondido, San Marcos and Vista is urban with the rail line on one side and parallel roads nearby. The trail gives access to Palomar College and the Escondido Transit Center, where it also meets the Escondido Creek Bike Path.
Free parking for the Inland Rail Trail is available at the Escondido Transit Center (700 W. Valley Parkway).
The end section in San Marcos is quite good, the part along Mission Ave. in Escondido is OK. But in between the cities are a number of locations where tree roots have severely damaged the asphalt, some in shadow area surprising you when you hit them with your bike. So if coming from Escondido by bike I take Rancheros Dr. down to Woodland Pkwy, take a right and then a left on Mission Ave all the way to Twin Oaks Valley RD and get back on trail there. This is to bypass the poor section of trail.
So many street crossings, it was frustrating. Not worth the time.
Asked police and a few workers at transit station... still got on the wrong trail...cut through town to this trail... very very poorly marked... got outside Escondido and trail disappeared...detours through...poorly marked... smart to avoid trail
Better than nothing describes this trail. I biked the entire 10 miles each way starting from the transit center. The trail/path itself is nicely paved but could use more directional signs. I found there too many street crossings for my tastes and in many places you have to stop and really look for where the trail leaves off after crossing a street. About 30% of the trail passes through an industrial area with little scenery. This area is better off for sure with this trail but the trail itself when compared to others in the area lacks many desirable things.
Overall - this trail was a fun ride. Nice to speed down the couple of hills but remember what goes down must come back up..... Next time we will park @ the Buena creek station and start ride from there. Cant wait till they open more of the trail in Vista.
Parking: While there isn't designated parking @ the "Philips Street" trail entrance, there is side street parking. We discovered after the fact that there is more discreet parking if you drive further down to Philips street/Philips Circle. There is even a dip in the curb for easy bike entry.
Trail: I would call this stretch of the trail intermediate. There were a couple steady inclines that might be difficult for some on the way back or if your hauling a kid trailer like we do. There were 2 major lights that needed to be crossed to continue on the trail. This section of the trail from Philips to the Buena Creek station where the trail continues is a little more than 2.5 miles.
My husband and I rode our electric scooters from the Civic Center, Vista train station to the end in Escondido - about 10 miles. It’s nicely paved and some of the fencing had beautiful blooming vines. The trail is positioned, at times, right to the side of a busy street but mostly it’s away from the street and runs parallel to the railroad tracks. There are a few cute wooden bridges to cross. There are many stops at street crossings (signals) and the continuation of the route is not well marked at many of those points so look at the markings on the sidewalks when you have a choice to go two directions. There was great etiquette by all users, whether walking, jogging, biking, skateboarding, or rollerblading. We had breakfast in Escondido at Delight of France and then went back to Vista. We really enjoyed it.
This may not be the most senic run in the area, but it is a well maintiained asphalt path. It is a nice alternative when you are looking to put in some miles and you want to stay off the streets.
It's nice that the path is separate from the roadway EXCEPT for the numerous street crossings. There is plenty of parking at the Escondido Transit Center with direct access to the path. There are no restroom facilities on the path so be prepared. On the return trip you can ride in the street on a clearly marked bike lane. Overall I give this three stars. I think it could be much better and may be more functional if it is extended all the way to Oceanside.
From North side of parking lot, at Escondido Transit Center, on North side of West Valley Parkway/N Quince St
The Inland Rail Trail starts at N33.11965 W117.09129 elev 643’ crosses Rock Creek Trail then turns left along North side of Rock Creek. Trail signs say Oceanside, however the trail currently ends in 6.6 miles at N Pacific St., just past Palomar College. There are many street crossings with directions painted on the trail surface. To cross Woodland Parkway the trail goes s-west a short distance to cross at Rancheros Dr. Noel Keller 7 Nov 09
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