San Onofre State Beach, located south of San Clemente on I-5, sits at the edge of a 3,000-acre scenic coastal canyon area. Native Acjachemen, Spanish missionaries, rancheros, caballeros, the United States Marines and surfing legends have all made history at San Onofre. The diverse recreational and natural offerings of this park’s three distinct sections - San Onofre Bluffs, San Onofre Surf Beach and San Mateo Campground - make it one of the most popular state parks in California. San Onofre Bluffs offers camping and day-use parking along Old Highway 101 adjacent to the sandstone bluffs. The beach below is popular with swimmers and surfers with six rugged dirt access trails cut into the bluff above. All campsites include a fire pit and picnic table. The campground offers cold outdoor showers and chemical toilets. No hookups are available however there is a dump-station. San Onofre Surf Beach offers a world renowned and historical surf break. The beach is strictly available for day-use with no camping. Chemical toilets and a limited number of fire pits are available. Alcohol is no longer permitted. San Onofre - San Mateo Campground lies a short distance inland from the 3.5-miles of sandy beaches within San Onofre State Beach. A 1.5-mile Nature Trail connects the campground to Trestles Beach, a world class surfing site. San Mateo Creek flows just east of the campground outward towards the ocean creating key riparian and wetland habitats which host some rare and even endangered species. All campsites include a fire pit and picnic table. Hookup sites are available with electricity and water. Other amenities include a dump-station, hot indoor showers, and flush toilets. Camping is available year-round.
The area and views are beautiful. Extremely secluded, and there are neat structures made out driftwood on the beach. The portion of the trail from Trail 1 that goes along the beach is all (well, mostly) rocks... dinosaur egg sized rocks. We tried to make it across them, then attempted to walk in the surf barefoot, to end up getting a wave up to our waist. Super amusing, and very beautiful, but we just turned back and explored the beachy part at the bottom of trail 1. Fun, but not what we expected.
I actually hike/walked from the north end of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. There is a Vernal Pool Restoration Area there. The loop is .66 miles; however, I did a lot of side trails, circles and figure 8's to make this a 5.16 mile hike in 1hr 28min. All flat, very easy, and great views!
Flat well groomed trail, most of which is packed decomposed granite. Very easy coastline trail that is busy most daylight hours. Bikers, runners, walkers, dogs on leashes. Not a peaceful walk by any means, but on warm days, the coastal breeze keeps you cooler than inland. Trains run parallel and frequently to the trail. Keep your eyes open, some bikers are less than considerate, as are some dog owners, leaving do-do on the path. Several entrances have paid parking and a few areas have free street parking.
I ran the trail as my 6 year old followed in his MTB. The trail was a fine single-track with a lot of twists and turns, something I'm sure the MTBrs enjoy. In some areas the trail is overgrown, which seems impossible since the area is in middle of a severe drought. It's much hotter as you delve deeper into the canyon. Ensure you pack enough water to sustain life. The trail's signage needs improvement as a newcomer to the area I down myself asking local MTBrs about best routes. I will certainly venture back out again and often.
According to their map Bluffs Beach is the one located at the Southwest from the Nuclear Plant (now shut down). The one on the Northwest from the Nuclear Plant is actually the Surf Beach. Between the two! Bluffs Beach is environmentally more scenic. The Photographic opportunities are abound. There are considerably less Surfers at Bluffs Beach. The views are awesome at Bluffs Beach because the Canyons are extremely tall and ten times larger. Once you pay the parking fee which cost $15, it's good for both places. You're required to tape the pass on your windshield. At Bluffs Beach there are six defined trails. The map is totally inaccurate, doesn't resemble what the trail what so ever. They drew only straight dashed lines. You'll crack up when you actually hike down the trail because it curves everywhere. When you're at the top of the Canyon the Trails are clearly labeled with a signage on a 2"x2" metal channel. Once you're at the beach it's difficult to find the trail to go back up because there's no markers or any signage. The association they've done to give you an idea which trail is near, The lifeguard towers are numbered corresponding to the trail adjacent. You'll want to get here early to pickup a parking pass. Check-In Booth truly controls the speed of entrance to the beach. Everybody has to wait until you see one worker standing outside the Check-In booth signal you with the wave of his hand to let you know your next. First thing you'll notice about Surfers waiting in line inside their cars. They're very patient crowd. In fact many of them started taking a nap inside their car. To give you an idea how slow the line was going. This beach provide benches, trashcans, restrooms and outdoor showers (for surfers). There's a campground for those who are staying longer. Plenty of parking stalls here which are paved. At the Surf Beach all the parking area will be on dirt ground.
David D. on San Onofre State Beach: Bluffs Beac...
Great Beach I take trail #6 and make a left at the beach and get some sun.
I see people here complaining about the hike. The 5.4 mile loop in description is to make a loop from trail 6 to the beach and up trail 1 and back to your car. I think thats what this loop is.....