The Secrets of Trails

We live in Orange County, California, which is just south of the Los Angeles basin. It’s a huge suburban sprawl, with more than 3 million residents. Who would ever guess that you could drive down the coast on Interstate 5, and at the border between OC and San Diego county there are miles and miles of open, public, remote and staggeringly beautiful beaches?

This is looking south. San Diego is down there somewhere.
The entrance is to the north, just past the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, which you can see way in the distance.  This part of San Onofre State Beach and Park is known locally as “Trails,” and even people who have lived in Southern California all their lives still don’t know about it. It’s named after the six trails down to the beach from the cliff-top road. It costs $15 for the day. (Dogs are allowed at Trail 1 and 6. We are heading down Trail 6, the farthest south.)

The BEST thing about Trails is that you not only feel free, you can act free.
As you will see, people like to express themselves here. This is looking down at some ocean rock designs.
 It’s amazing how you can lose about 98 percent of “the others” just by a little hike like this. 

Here are those ocean rocks we saw from above, with my dog, Jenny,
 doing a little meditation trot in the Yin-Yang.




Another creative expression. Ocean rock, shells, sticks and trash.
 The artist was not in residence at the moment.

Nature and plastic trash. Not sure I like this combo.
But I am a sucker for found art pieces.

It could use a little editing.

Let’s continue south.

Everyone just kind of pretends they don’t see this sign. Trail 6 has a long history as a nude beach. 
If you head south, and look east, you start to see these rock carvings in the sandstone.

If I were an alien, I would land here!

Some architectural carvings.

You will almost always see some of these balanced rocks called cairns. 

If you can, stay for sunset. 
We like to head down to the beach about 3 p.m. or so, when a lot of people start to head home.

We met some friends down there just to chill. We shared a couple beers, talked about our kids, and threw the ball for our dogs. We kept our clothes on, and no one seemed to mind. It was chilly, after all!

You can also catch the rising moon on the way out!
Make sure to look back. That’s Catalina Island in the distance.
I probably shouldn’t be advertising this piece of heaven,
 but I just wanted to show you that this is one of the main reasons OC isn’t a bad place to call home–or visit! Now you are in on the secret!

10 thoughts on “The Secrets of Trails

  1. Next thing, Sunset Magazine will do a spread on it, and you'll have to drive to Del Mar to experience solitude. I like to be vague about my cool, quiet spots near Abq or Las Vegas. Or I could lie, like the Vikings did about "Greenland" vs. "Iceland"…

  2. Great post – I'm always looking for trails that we can take our pooch on, and this looks like an amazing place with incredible vistas.

  3. Thank you for sharing this wondrous spot! Unfortunately I doubt I'll be taking advantage of it but it is nice to know such places exist.

  4. Thank you for sharing these photos. It's been grey and damp here for days now so nice to see some sunshine for a change via your photos. Gorgeous location!

  5. What a great travelogue you and Jenny have provided. There are some great places in the OC. I'm just a few miles away but it might as well be another state, so thanks for showing it off!

  6. Beautiful captures…I really love California. It has so much natural beauty to offer. Big Bend is like that here in Texas…(a little more off the beaten path than Trails) but relatively unknown and breathtakingly captivating!

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