San Clemente Beach Trail


8 Reviews

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San Clemente Beach Trail Facts

States: California
Counties: Orange
Length: 2.3 miles
Trail end points: Metrolink Station, 1850 Avenida Estacion (San Clemente) and 251-399 Avenida Califia (San Clemente)
Trail surfaces: Boardwalk, Sand
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015301

San Clemente Beach Trail Description


Hugging one of the most picturesque shorelines in Southern California, the San Clemente Beach Trail is one of the premier rail trails in the area.

The trail is a rail-with-trail, as it shares the corridor with an active Amtrak line with service between Los Angeles and San Diego, as well as Metrolink trains that are part of the L.A. commuter rail system. The trail is separated from the active rail corridor by a wood post fence. The trail surface is composed mostly of compact sand from the beach.

The city has banned the use of e-bikes on this trail.

About the Route

Beginning at the northern endpoint of the San Clemente Beach Trail near the San Clemente Metrolink station in the area known as North Beach. The trail leads south out of the Metrolink parking lot. It is narrowly situated between high cliffs on the left and the railroad tracks and beach on the right. Be sure to check out the unique flora that covers the cliff, as well as the impressive beach houses high atop the cliffs. After several hundred yards, the trail flows onto an impressive bridge. Running about 10 feet off the ground for roughly 0.25 miles, the bridge serves as a glorified boardwalk over sensitive beach habitat.

Once across the bridge, follow the trail across the railroad tracks and continue to the primary beachfront area of San Clemente at the Pier Bowl trailhead. Here trail users will have access to restaurants, shops, and beach picnic areas. A pier jets out into the ocean here and is a prime location for watching surfers ride the waves. There are public restrooms and plenty of parking near the pier.

The trail continues south along the beach and crosses the railroad tracks again about 0.25 miles beyond the Pier Bowl area. Be careful because the crossing is at grade with the tracks. The trail continues for another 1.5 miles south along the beach to the southern endpoint near San Clemente State Beach, which has parking and beach access.


Just on the other side of the MetroLink Station, trail users can access the Coast Highway Protected Trail.

Parking and Trail Access

The San Clemente Beach Trail runs between the San Clemente Metrolink Station, 1850 Avenida Estacion (San Clemente), which offers parking and public transit, and 251-399 Avenida Califia (San Clemente), which has additional parking.

Parking is also available at:

  • 104-122 N Alameda Ln (San Clemente)
  • 340-398 Linda Ln (San Clemente)

See TrailLink map for all parking options and detailed directions.

San Clemente Beach Trail Reviews

Nasty comments, No ebikes, no signs

We are elderly and use peddle assist bikes. We NEVER speed through areas with pedestrian use. Both of us had so many people barking at us about being on the trail, and it be guy intentionally pushed me. When we finally unearthed a sign, it was very small - prohibiting e-bikes and peddle assist. Meanwhile bikers carrying surf boards are allowed. It was a horrible experience.

Beautiful visuals

Nice trail. Beautiful views

Trail Interrupted

Unfortunately this winter a landslide forced the closure of this trail, starting at the North side, about 3/4 of a mile in. There’s no way around it unless the tide is ultra low - then go around on the sand. The city officials have no opening projected as the must involve geologists, etc to repair the slide. Sad day for this lovely trail. You can pick the trail back up via street at Mariposa or Linda Lane and continue South.

My Slice of Heaven on Earth!

When I need serenity at heart and peace at mind, I come to this flat woven trail that hugs the coastal train tracks and has magnificent views of the Pacific shore cliffs and the vast turquoise ocean. A pure delight of a trail with restaurants and clean restrooms along the way. As you walk you'll be greeted by the toots of the Amtrack train as it wind its way past you demonstarting the power of engineering. This is definitely one of the sweetest gems in south O.C.!


nice walking trail

Walked this trail today. It's a chilly (for S Cal) Saturday in February. Unpaved but well groomed. Very narrow. Lots of walkers with dogs and strollers. It was difficult walking through with a dog in tow. Would not bike it unless it was very very early. Can be done but not worth the short ride.

Too Good to be True

The path was too perfect, there was too much sunshine, too many trains, too much beach front, and just way too nice...too much scenery and just way too perfect in each and every way. Great Morning/ afternoon in San Clemente...

Peril for the San Clemente Beach Trail

At this point in my life, not having the San Clemente Beach Trail would leave a big void for me. I walk about 20 miles week on the trail and it is absolutely fantastic! There are plenty of benches for sitting, access to the sand and surf and wonderful views.

All of that said, the North Beach trail is in serious trouble. The bridge so beautifully built is on a fast track to ruin. It is turning into a rust bucket.almost every joint and every bolt is in some stage of real decay from rust and in some cases the situation is extremely bad.

The simple truth seems to be twofold; 1) There must be no budget for maintenance and 2) Nobody "owns" the bridge. Meaning, there is no overseer of its condition it would appear. There telltale signs of rust are unmistakable.

My goal is to raise awareness. I for one would be happy to pay some reasonable annual fee to use the trail provide 100% of the contribution went to trail (bridge first) maintenance.

San Clemente Pedestrian Beach Trail (Beach Trail, Coastal Trail):

Free parking along Coast side of Pacific Coast Highway north of Beach Road, or One $ @ hour in the Capistrano Beach Parking lot.
The San Clemente Bike Path with concrete barrier along PCHwy is new smooth asphalt for 1.7 miles from Beach Rd N33.45548 W117.66788 to Camino Capistrano N33.44152 W117.64538 There the 50mph speed limit south bound Hwy changes its name to N El Camino Real, and a 35mph speed limit, and changes to a bike lane for 0.9 mile to Avenue Estacion N33.43298 W117.63333
Pay parking is available at the Metro Line Parking Lot on Estacion. On the east side of N El Camino Real a north bound bike path extends 0.7 mile than changes to a bike lane for 0.2 mile to Camino Capistrano with button activated crossing lights.
At Beach Road, cross the active AT&Santa Fe Rails and ride north for 0.95 miles through the Doheny State Park, with water fountains and port-a-potties. Enjoy the beach scene and activities. Total trail length 3.55 miles. By Noel Keller

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