Trestles train

Trestles train

Trestles Beach attracts surfers from all over the world to experience the perfect wave. Trestles are named after the railroad bridge over San Mateo Creek near the entrance to the beach. The 3½-mile-long beach consists of five separate surf breaks: Cotton, Uppers, Middles, Lowers, and Church

To get to Trestles, you will have to walk about a mile from the parking lot down a winding paved trail. The path and the beach are posted no dogs so you will have to leave your four-legged friend home on this trek.

Trestles still is a secluded surfing spot, but a little bit of Southern California surfing history was lost with the replacement of the wooden bridge. One highlight of the new concrete bridge is the letters TRESTLES built into the new structure.


Royal Terns dancing on the beach

Royal Terns dancing on the beach at Trestles


The royal tern (Thalasseus maximus) is a tern in the family Laridae. The genus name is from Ancient Greek Thalasseus, “fisherman”, from thalassa, “sea”. The specific maximus is Latin for ‘”greatest”.

This bird has two distinctive subspecies: T. m. maximus which lives on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the North and South America, and the slightly smaller T. m. albididorsalis lives on the coast of West Africa. The royal tern has a red-orange bill and a black cap during the breeding season, but in the winter the cap becomes patchy. The royal tern is found in Europe, Africa, the Americas, and the Caribbean islands. The royal tern lives on the coast and is only found near salt water. They tend to feed near the shore, close to the beach or in backwater bays. The royal tern’s conservation status is listed as least concern.


Trestles – the Yosemite of surfing

  • You can stand with one foot in Orange County and the other foot in San Diego County on the beach!
  • It’s a fun nature-filled walk to the beach.
  • Entertaining for the kids to watch the trains go by.
  • Off-season it was pretty quiet on the beach. Great views of Dana Point Headlands and the San Clemente coastline looking north. See the infamous San Onofre power plant and views of north San Diego to the south.
  • San Mateo Creek provides more wildlife viewing.
  • We liked walking over the concrete bridge and looking down into the creek.
  • If you’re lucky, you can see some world class surfing. In fact, type in “Trestles” on YouTube and you’ll see some fun surfing videos.
  • There’s still evidence of the fight to “Save Trestles” from a proposed tollroad.  Trestles is known as the “Yosemite of Surfing.”


Trestles beach

Trestles Beach is the northernmost part of San Onofre State Beach and of San Diego County, but access is from San Clemente in Orange County. Surfers know this area near San Mateo Point as Uppers, Lowers, and Middles for the different surf spots near the train trestle the beach is named after. Unfortunately this surf area is fraught with localism which can be seen in the various spray-painted warnings along the path to the beach. Under the trestle at the beach San Mateo Creek stagnates and sometimes flows through the sand to the ocean. This wetlands area is called Trestles Wetland Natural Preserve and it is popular with local bird-watchers. It is a long walk down the trail from the parking area to the beach (about 1 mile each way).

The parking area is located near the intersection of S El Camino Real and Cristianitos Road east of Interstate 5 in San Clemente. A dirt path begins at this intersection and dips under I-5 on the way to the beach. Another path, which is flatter and paved, begins on the other side of I-5 and can be reached by walking over the bridge. San Mateo Campground is near the beach trail parking lot. The San Mateo area of San Onofre State Beach State Park has many hiking trails to explore.



Rancho San Clemente – trail view 3

Rancho San Clemente – trail view 3


This was taken during my morning run on the Rancho San Clemente trail…there is a lot of smoke from a nearby wildfires that started at Camp Pendelton on the other side of the ridge. Unfortunately wildfires are now a fact of life in CA… Everyday I thankful for the men and women fighting these fires daily #CalFire

San Clemente blossoms

San Clemente blossoms

This was taken during a recent trail run in San Clemente in southern California…Everywhere you look you will see unbelievable colorful flowers and plants, that thrive in the “almost perfect climate”


SoCal Sunset Fall 2017

SoCal Sunset Fall 2017

The sunsets most days are spectacular in Southern California…the weather and temperature is unbeatable…

…and the beaches aren’t so bad either

Southern California is famous for its year-round sunny weather, celeb-spotting ops, and, of course, miles and miles of incredible beaches. From Malibu to San Diego, here are the best California beaches to soak up the sun, splash in the waves and make all your California dreamin’ come true.

San Clemente CA

Almost Paradise…

San Clemente residents often think of their town as paradise—where the 1920’s vision of a Spanish Village by the Sea still lingers, the sun shines 342 days a year and the conveniences of metropolitan Southern California are balanced by fresh ocean air and beaches untouched by time. Just 75 years ago, most of the coastal land between Los Angeles and San Diego was no more than barren rolling hills covered with mustard and sagebrush. San Clemente was no exception.


People love the beautiful things…

casaoldA unique combination of personality, foresight, luck, and a good dose of marketing savvy transformed this stretch of land. But unlike so many other communities in the region, San Clemente’s geographical isolation helped protect its small-town charm from the homogeneous urban sprawl that permeates so much of this region.

As town founder Ole Hanson said in the late 1920s, “I get credit for building San Clemente. I am doing my best, but San Clemente’s development was as natural as a well-watered and fertilized tree to grow. It is on the coast. Its climate is superb. It is far enough from San Diego and Los Angeles to fill a real necessity. Besides, people love the beautiful things.”

People indeed love beautiful places and the boom in San Clemente’s population, this year reaching 67,892 in this 80 year-old community, reflects the popularity of San Clemente and the development that has transformed all of Orange County in the past century.

However, San Clemente started and has evolved differently than many of its neighboring communities.

San Clemente was among the first master planned communities built from totally open land in the United States. Before erecting a single structure on the rolling coastal hills, Ole Hanson laid out an expansive plan based on the Spanish Colonial architectural style including restaurants, a clubhouse, residences, public parks, a public pool, a fishing pier, and even equestrian trails.

Many thought Ole Hanson had lost his mind! Many thought Hanson had lost his mind, investing so much effort to build a community an hour’s distance from either Los Angeles or San Diego, the only two major cities in Southern California at the time.

In fact, his initial plan submission to the Orange County Board of Supervisors was rejected—the Board simply couldn’t imagine funding public streets when no building had yet been built.

But that didn’t stop Hanson. He opted to retain ownership of the roads, and in a stroke of marketing genius (or perhaps deception) Hanson whitewashed the unpaved roads to make them appear as clean, new concrete in the aerial photos he commissioned for his marketing brochures.

Hanson did not allow deviation from his Spanish Village dream. On a rainy day in December 1925, Ole Hanson managed to attract 600 people from Los Angeles and beyond to hear his real estate spiel. He chartered luxury limousines to transport prospective buyers; others were attracted by the free hot meals that accompanied his presentation. That was the birth of San Clemente, when average lots sold for $300. Prime lots went for $1,500. Within the first six months, Hanson set a record by selling 1,200 lots. Hanson was as “hands-on” as land developers get. Every home ownership deed mandated that residents comply with stringent Spanish Colonial Revival style guidelines, enforcing uniform handmade red tile roofs and whitewashed stucco walls. A tile and wrought iron foundry was even established in town to meet the needs of the rapidly growing community. Hanson did not allow deviation from his Spanish Village dream. In fact, if a home was built that didn’t comply with his guidelines, he would either pay for its remodeling or purchase it himself to rebuild in accordance.

Increasingly look to the past to anchor their sense of local identity. Today, the Spanish Village by the Sea is more heterogeneous than Hanson had envisioned, but historic homeowners and current planning and development all reflect increasing esteem for his red-roofed, white-walled Spanish architecture dream.

As San Clemente grows, people increasingly look to the past to anchor their sense of local identity.

Historic homeowners must abide by city codes that protect the aesthetic spirit and style of early San Clemente. New development east of the 5 freeway now elevates Spanish Colonial Revival architecture to new interpretations, incorporating red roofs, balconies, and promenades as the demographics of San Clemente shift and new residents are drawn to the Mediterranean charm of this community. City development officials have leveraged new growth to funnel money into programs that reinvigorate and restore the historic downtown.

Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens Perhaps the best example of San Clemente’s increasing appreciation for its past is the exciting restoration underway at the Casa Romantica, which was Ole Hanson’s bluff top home at the time of the City’s founding. The Casa Romantica was completed in 1928, and after Hanson lost it to the bank during the Great Depression, the Casa passed through various owners. The wear and tear of time and neglect took its toll and at one point the outstanding landmark seemed destined for demolition. Fortunately, a group of local activists pushed hard for the Casa Romantica’s rescue, and directed its destiny away from commercial alternatives and toward a use that will benefit all of the community—that of a Cultural Center and Gardens.

The Casa Romantica project has garnered attention from a wide-range of San Clementeans. In addition to the lengthy list of donors who are funding its restoration, nearly 100 residents have offered to volunteer as the future site of performing and visual arts, educational programs, and world-class gardens.


SoCal beaches

SoCal beaches

San Clemente Pier Beach is the main city beach of San Clemente, California. The beach is a wide sandy spot on both sides of the pier between T-Street Beach and Linda Lane Beach. Although the railroad tracks run right behind the beach, it is a nice setting with palm trees and grassy areas near the pier entrance. A large parking area at Parque del Mar City Park provides access to San Clemente Pier, the beach, and many shops and restaurants. Street parking is available when the lot fills up. The San Clemente Coastal Trail runs north and south from here to access all the beaches between San Clemente State Beach and North Beach (2.5 miles end to end).

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