An impressive rail-with-trail project is taking shape along the southern coast of California. A handful of miles of the Coastal Rail Trail have already opened in what will be a 44-mile route between San Diego and Oceanside along the Coaster commuter rail line. This summer, another 1.3 miles of the pathway was laid down between Encinitas and Cardiff-by-the-Sea, safely connecting residents to the vibrant centers of both communities, to parks and to the beach.
The Coastal Rail Trail will one day run 44 miles from Oceanside to San Diego along the Coaster commuter rail. Short sections of the developing trail are currently open in Oceanside, Carlsbad, Solana Beach, and Encinitas.
In Oceanside, two trail segments allow for non-motorized travel through the city’s dense downtown. From near the Oceanside Transportation Center at Tyson Street to Oceanside Boulevard, the paved trail runs on the west side of the train tracks. Two blocks west of the north end lies Tyson Street Park, which offers an ocean beach and a large grassy area perfect for picnicking. A second paved segment south of Loma Alta Creek runs from Morse Street to Vista Way, with a crossing of the active train tracks required at Cassidy Street (adjacent to Lions Club Park).
In Carlsbad, another short segment spans the distance between Oak Avenue and Tamarack Avenue on the east side of the Coaster tracks. Plans are in the works to extend the trail southward.
In Solana Beach, the Coastal Rail Trail meanders between Highway 101 and the Coaster line from Ocean Street in the north to Via de la Valle in the south. The trail passes through a landscaped area and features public art along the busy corridor. It provides direct access to the Solana Beach Transit Center as well as dozens of restaurants and shops in the city’s downtown. The beach itself can be accessed from Plaza Street near the center of this trail segment.
In May 2019, 1.3 miles was added between Encinitas and Cardiff-by-the-Sea. The shared-use trail sits in the open space east of the rail-line, running from Santa Fe Drive in Encinitas south to Chesterfield Drive and San Elijo Avenue in Cardiff.
Parking and Trail Access
Because the Coastal Rail Trail passes through dense downtown parts of Oceanside, Carlsbad, Solana Beach, and Encinitas, parking is generally limited to metered on-street spaces adjacent to the trail. Be sure to obey any time limits and other posted restrictions.