The Coast to Crest Trail is an ongoing project to create a major hiking network through San Diego. When completed it will run 70 miles from the coast at Del Mar to Volcan Mountain outside of Anza-Borrego Desert. This is our overall guide to San Diego’s Coast to Crest Trail with links to individual segments.
The San Dieguito River Park was established in 1989 as a protected area that runs 55-miles from the beach at Del Mar to Volcan Mountain near Julian. It is a Joint Powers Authority consisting of the County of San Diego and the cities of Del Mar, Escondido, Poway, San Diego and Solana Beach.
When completed the Coast to Crest Trail will run 70 miles through the heart of the park. As of 2019, 48 miles have been completed. There are another 20 miles of auxiliary trails that split off from the main trail. Our house is right near the portion of San Dieguito River Park next to Black Mountain Open Space Park.
San Diego’s Coast to Crest Trail officially starts in Del Mar at Del Mar North Beach. This is right by the Del Mar Fairgrounds, home of the San Diego County Fair as well as the Del Mar horse races. There are a few completed trails in this area we will be covering. However, the main completed section starts a few miles inland near Santa Fe Valley.
Our initial coverage of the Coast to Crest Trail will focus on the area around Lake Hodges in Escondido. This is right off the I-15 interstate, running along the Del Dios Highway. We will be adding new hikes as we go and also be covering auxiliary trails.
The hikes we are doing are designed to be 5-mile or shorter segments. The idea is that doing an out-and-back segment will be no more than 10-miles. Of course, you can combine hikes for a longer walk.
New trails are constantly being opened so this is a work in progress. For the latest status of trails go here. As of 2019, the largest continuous open section is a 22-mile stretch from Santa Fe Valley through Lake Hodges to the Highway 78.
Segment 1: Coast to Polo Fields
This is a 3.6 mile section of the trail that will start at Del Mar North Beach. As of spring 2019, 2.5 miles or 71% of this segment is complete. This does not include the section at the beach. The completed section starts at Jimmy Durante Blvd, just south of the Del Mar Fairgrounds. It runs to El Camino Real by the Polo Fields.
Segment 2: Polo Fields to Santa Fe Valley
This 6.87 mile stretch will run through some of San Diego’s wealthiest neighborhoods. As of spring 2019, it is only 14% complete. This is a one-mile stretch that runs along Lusardi Creek Preserve. Right now this segment is the most notable gap in the trail.
Segment 3: Santa Fe Valley to Highway 78
Currently, this 22-mile section is the heart of the Coast to Crest Trail. This section is 100% complete and will be the focus of much of our initial coverage.
Our 5-segment trail goes from Sikes Adobe to the Hodgee statue at Del Dios Community Park. Along the way you can take some auxiliary trails including going across the David Kreitzer Lake Hodges Bicycle Pedestrian Bridge or hiking the Bernardo Summit Trail.
Segment 4: Highway 78 to Boden Canyon
This is a 4-mile segment that as of Spring 2019 is 0% complete.
Segment 5: Boden Canyon to Sutherland Reserve
This 12.6-mile section is 91% complete as of Spring 2019. The incomplete section is the last mile running towards Sutherland Dam.
Segment 6: Boden Canyon to Sutherland Reserve to Santa Ysabel West
This is an 8.38-mile section that is currently 0% complete. Combined with the other incomplete sections in segments 5 and 7, this is part of the longest gap in the Coast to Crest Trail at over 10 miles.
Segment 7: Santa Ysabel West to Highway 79
This is a 2.7-mile section that is for the most part incomplete. The only completed section is an 0.4 portion through Santa Ysabel West Preserve
Segment 8: Highway 79 to Volcan Mountain
The final 11-mile stretch of the Coast to Crest Trail is 90% complete. The incomplete portion is a 1-mile section along Farmer’s Road that connects Santa Ysabel East Preserve to the Volcan Mountain Summit Trail.
A project like the Coast to Crest Trail is a major undertaking. Not only does it require obtaining right-of-way, but this is an open area subject to wildfires. The 2007 Witchcreek fire destroyed 50,000 acres of the San Dieguito River Park including 40 miles of trail. Always keep in mind how sensitive this resource is and treat it with proper care.