San Clemente Beach Trail Hike

The San Clemente Beach Trail Hike is a fun beach hike the whole family can enjoy in Orange County. This hike highlights San Clemente's beautiful beaches and provides you with excellent views of the Pacific Ocean. This is a very popular hike and you will likely see many other hikers, surfers, and runners while out hiking on the San Clemente Beach trail. This is technically an urban hike due to the proximity of beach homes however, the beautiful scenery on the San Clemente Beach hiking trail makes this hike well worth your time and makes your forget about the close proximity to homes. The hiking trail is well maintained and is perfect for the whole family. For more pictures make sure to check out our Facebook Page.

Directions to Trailhead: There are several options for parking along the San Clemente Beach Hiking Trail. The directions we are providing are two the North Trailhead and the South Trailhead in order to allow everyone to hike the entire trail. Directions to North Trailhead at North Beach by the Metrolink Train Station.  Take the 5 freeway south towards San Clemente. Exit at Avenida Pico in San Clemente and head towards the beach. Make a right on Pacific Coast Highway and then take your first left at the light into the Metrolink Train Station. There is ample parking at the North Trailhead. Directions to the South Trailhead at Calafia Beach. Take the 5 freeway towards San Clemente and exit at Avenida Calafia. Avenida Calafia dead ends at Califia Beach which is the Southern Trailhead for the San Clemente Beach Trail. There is an hourly cost for parking at both locations. The machines do accept credit cards, expect to spend probably about $4.00 to hike the entire length of the trail. Parking is free after 6pm.

Description of Hike: The San Clemente Beach Hiking Trail is an out and back hike that travels alongside the Pacific Ocean. The Northern portion of the San Clemente Beach Hiking Trail is open from 4am to Midnight and the Southern portion of the San Clemente Beach Hiking Trail is open from 6am to 10pm. the Pacific Ocean. The entire length of the hiking trail is 2.3 miles one way for a total hiking length of 4.6 miles. If you want to make the hike longer, you can add a trip to the end of the San Clemente Pier which adds an additional 0.6 miles to the trip for a total hike of 5.2 miles. There is minimal elevation gain to this hike. You are likely to see many other people on the hiking trail as it is well maintained by the City of San Clemente. Make sure to watch out for trains at the train crossings.

Further Thoughts: Ashley and I really enjoyed the unique beauty this hiking trail offers. The trail is well maintained by the city of San Clemente and it offers spectacular views of the California Coast Line on clear days. You have a great chance to see pelicans, seagulls, starfish, and possibly dolphins while on your hike. The train tracks actually add a neat element to the hike as you will likely get to see multiple trains traversing the tracks while you are on your hike.

We started our hike at the North Trailhead at the Metrolink Train Station. From the North Trailhead it is roughly a mile to the San Clemente Pier. Once we reached the San Clemente Pier we walked all the way out to the end of the pier and enjoyed the views. We saw several pelicans, seagulls, and many starfish on the pier's pylons. There are several restaurants in this area as well as places that sell ice cream and other treats if you are looking to have something to eat on your hike. We continued on the trail all the way to Calafia Beach where we enjoyed shaved ice and ice cream while sitting on the sand at Calafia Beach, before we began our return trip.  The San Clemente Beach Hiking Trail from the pier to Calafia Beach is a little narrower than the portion from the Metrolink Train Station to the pier.

One of the neat things about this hike is the many beach access points along the hiking trail. You can make part of your hike on the sand and enjoy the beach if you like. Additionally, the San Clemente Beach Hiking Trail is well marked and easy to follow. Make sure to watch our for bicyclists as this is a popular bike route as well. Ashley and I give this San Clemente hike two thumbs up. If you are looking for a true wilderness feel, you will not get that while on this hike. However, it is a spectacular beach hike. For a trail map of all the hiking trails in San Clemente, click Here.

Rating: Elevation Gain: < 50 ft. (Easy), Distance: 5.2 Miles Roundtrip (Easy - Moderate).

Time to Complete Hike:  2 - 3 hours.

View San Clemente Beach Trail in a larger map


  1. Hi Ashley and Brian!

    I've used your site as a reference for many hikes with my family. Just wanted to say THANK YOU so much for all the time and effort you put in to your blog and sharing so much information. My family really appreciates it!!

    1. Thank you for the wonderful comment! So glad you and your family have found our website so helpful.


Post a Comment

Ashley and I encourage and welcome our readers to submit comments about their experiences on the trails we have posted on our blog or about their own hiking experiences in general.