© San Elijo Lagoon CONSERVANCY
Harbaugh Seaside Trails- This location is actually adjacent to San Elijo Lagoon and is a separate 3.4 acre open space park with amazing ocean views. The entrance is where Cardif-by-the-Sea and Solana Beach meet and is great for dog walking and sunset gazing ocean side. Bird watching is also exceptional from the seaside trails as Cooper’s Hawk and many other predatory birds are abundant here. This park is also an extension of the Coastal Rail Trail and was a gift from The George and Betty Harbaugh Charitable Foundation which gave $1.1 million towards the purchase of the land. Harbaugh Seaside Trails will be expanding soon to include a welcome area, viewing deck and trails.
La Orilla Trail- Nature lovers enjoy walking this easy rated trail because they can stroll 3.5 miles through four different communities of plants. Begin on the east side of the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve where you can enter the head of the trail in the shady riparian woodlands. As you walk, jog or walk your dog, you will come upon marsh, chaparral, and coastal sage scrub. Many visitors will see deer at the creek beds, butterflies, wood peckers, and other small woodland creatures along the trails.
N. Rios Trails- These trails are located on the south side of the lagoon and are rated easy. This collection of trails head off in several different directions all with a moderate descent into woodlands and coastal sage scrub. There are views of the salt marsh from the trail head and just east is a one mile loop known as Gemma Parks Interpretive Trail. Pole Road is located to the west of the trailhead where you can find Isthmus, the migratory bird watching station, or continue to the lagoon inlet where you can use binoculars to view the endangered Ridgeway’s Rail that nest here.
Solana Hills Trail- This easy to moderate 1.4-mile trail has a steep descent that early morning runners enjoy. The trail is lined with beautiful wildflowers such as sage, everlasting, Monkeyflower, Yerba Santa, and gooseberry. The top of the trail provides views of the East Basin. A plant guide can be downloaded online that provides more information about the wildflowers that can be seen on the Solana Hills Botanical Loop of the trail.
Santa Inez Trail- A quiet trail that is known for its abundance of wildflowers and grasses, the Santa Inez Trail is connected to the Dike Trail and is rated easy.
Santa Carina Trail- Less than a mile long and rated easy, the Santa Carina Trail traverses coastal sage brush on the south side of the Lagoon where visitors can view the freshwater marsh and chaparral communities.
Santa Helena Trail- just over a mile long, the Santa Helena Trail is an easy trail that runs through coastal sage brush and connects to the Stonebridge Mesa Trail to take hikers to the East Basin. The Stonebridge Mesa Trail is only open April through November due to winter flooding.
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