Solana Beach Coastal Rail Trail
Via de la Valley & Hwy 101
Solana Beach, CA 92075
Dog-Friendly: Yes Kid-Friendly: Yes
Hike: 1.7 miles out and back Level: Easy
The Solana Beach Coastal Rail Trail is a true hidden gem in town! Although this hike will guide you right alongside a highway 101, the sporadic art installations and bursting, colorful flowers are almost guaranteed to make you feel lost in your own world. This 1.5 mile trail actually takes you along the entire length of the City of Solana Beach.
Created by Schmidt Design Group, Inc., this trail is actually part of a much larger project, Rails-to-Trails. Rails-to-Trails covers 44 miles of bicycle and walking trails from Oceanside all the way to downtown San Diego. These trails were created as a unique way to promote fun and safe ways to get more exercise! The portion of trail that passes through Solana Beach was designed to celebrate the edge between land and sea.
Take note of the details along your walk because there is some phenomenal artwork along the way. You begin the entire trail with some jaw-dropping mosaic arches that are brimming with historic details of Solana Beach. The gateway, poetry, and public art were created by local artists and incorporated into the design.
Personal Experience: What a GREAT way to get in some exercise while enjoying the natural beauty of Solana Beach. This was such an enjoyable walk for my dog Sage and I. Usually I wouldn’t want to take a trail that is literally right alongside highway 101, but you truly get lost in all the natural and artistic details around you. I must note that we did this hike in the middle of spring when every flower was blooming.
After we got to the end, we crossed the street and had an enjoyable lunch at a coffee shop, then made our way to ANOTHER secret garden nearby that I will be posting about later! Solana Beach is one of my favorite coastal towns in San Diego. It has all the right vibes and balance of art, beauty and nature that creates a very welcoming atmosphere. We are so lucky to have such diversity in our city!
You will be walking alongside the train tracks the entire time, although the plant life will hide it most of the walk. I parked one street up from the trailhead which is a residential area with 2 hours free parking;
Here is the amazing entrance! For all artists, art-appreciators and history buffs, I’m sure you’ll be as blown away by these pieces as I was!
The pieces pay homage to the early settlers and history that helped shape the beach town that we see today:
Let the colorful walk begin!
Even fruit trees are growing here!
Sage was one happy camper on this trail! The bench she is sitting on is one of 11 benches created by artist Michelle Griffou, meant to depict sea creatures and sea life:
Pride of Madeira:
Some type of daisy I believe:
As you can see, it’s a very clear-cut trail. It’s all about those details though!
This piece is “Sunburst of Color,” a stained-glass mosaic by Amber Irwin:
Make sure you go up the steps where the bridge is. You will not be disappointed! My jaw dropped when we walked up here:
There are short poems along each side of the bridge. One has a short verse by Lord Byron: “By the deep sea, and music in his roar, I love not man the less, but Nature more.”
So many happy flowers!
Mexican bush sage: