Rio Del Mar Trail is a 6 mile out and back trail located near Aptos, California that offers scenic views and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 6.0 miles Elevation Gain: 639 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

road biking

walking

bird watching

running

beach

views

There is currently no vehicle access to this trail or others in the park and parking on roadways is prohibited to protect public health from the COVID-19 pandemic. The beach is fully closed from 11 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, meaning there are no public access during this time. During the other times, the beach is open to local residents. See here for more info: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=30355

hiking
no shade
8 months ago

3 miles down and 3 miles back up a picturesque stretch of wide sandy beach.

walking
11 months ago

The map is slightly incorrect about the trailhead. It starts exactly at the parking (and not on the Summer Ave as the "Direction" function of AllTrails would lead to. You must enter into the Resort parking, there is a public parking area. Right at this parking there is a sign "Beach Access" which leads to a short and narrow dirt trail. This is the trailhead. Also the elevation gain is wrong, it's not 195m (640 ft) as indicated. It's around 30m (100ft). The short distance (250m, 800ft) from the parking to the beach is the only downhill portion. After that it's just a flat beach walk. Not sure why the trail map shows variation in elevation. Unless the map author left the beach and climbed back onto the cliff. In which case this is off trail and probably not recommended. I have uploaded 2 photos showing the small cliff, I suppose the map author had climbed off-trail there to get back on top back to the resort.

hiking
Sat Feb 10 2018

When I do this beach walk, I park on the beach side of the road at the entrance to Dolphin Beach, near the intersection of Sumner and Dolphin Dr. The trail is a staircase down with some garbage cans and dog poop bags. The trailhead takes you down to the beach via a dry creek known as Bush Gulch. As other reviewers have mentioned, this is not so much a trail as a literal walk on the beach. It really is a wonderful place, with a seemingly endless, wide open expanse of sand, big surf, and tall, jutting bluffs dotted with coastal trees and plants. Often times the cliffs open up into small sandy coves, gulches, or inlets, areas with soft grass and sometimes flowers, and large pieces of driftwood that make great places to sit, where friends and I have camped and had bonfires. The full moon looks beautiful rising over the cliffs. On clear days, there are views of the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Monterey Peninsula on the south side of the bay, and the Santa Cruz Mountains to the north. The best thing about this place is that it is absolutely ok to have your (friendly!) dog off leash. Rangers often drive the beach, and none have ever stopped me with my pit bull mix running around chasing her ball into the waves. If you are so inclined, as far as I can tell, you could walk along this beach for miles and miles. I have seen seals, whales, dolphins, all kinds of seabirds, crabs, jellyfish, and this is also a great place for collecting shells and sand dollars.

walking
Tue Aug 08 2017

It is a walk along the beach, not a hike. It is a very nice beach to walk on though! Not crowded, at all. Other people had dogs on the beach. The water as nice. Got to see a lot of birds, crabs, and some whales. The beach had many sand dollars as well if you're into that.

Sat Jun 10 2017

Not a hike - it's on the beach bit nice boardwalk

walking
Sun Jun 12 2016

Love walking/ running here!

hiking
21 days ago

recorded Rio Del Mar Trail

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

walking
6 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

walking
8 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
Sat May 25 2019

hiking
Mon Feb 18 2019

Thu Jan 03 2019

hiking
Sun Nov 25 2018

Sat Jun 02 2018

Thu Feb 15 2018

Wed Nov 23 2016