Long Distance Trail Alignments


In San Diego County, there are several efforts for long distance trails which over the years have had various degrees of momentum for closing the gaps that exist in their alignments.  SDMBA engages regularly with the County of San Diego, the San Diego River Park Foundation, the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy and other partners on the progress of these efforts and to provide input for the mountain biking community.  

Coast to Crest Trail

Land Manager:  Multi-jurisdictional


The vision for the Coast the Crest Trail  is for the regional multi-use alignment planned from the crest at Volcan Mountain near Julian to the coast in Del Mar. 49 miles of the 71-mile-long planned trail are complete today, but several gaps remain. 

The planning for this alignment is headed up by the San Dieguito River Park and the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy, both of which SDMBA values as important partners. SDMBA holds a seat on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee and on the Trails Subcommittee in order to stay with touch with trail opportunities and issues in the San Dieguito River Park as well as progress on the Coast to Crest Trail. 

There are significant gaps with a major one existing on a short section of existing old roadbed in Boden Canyon.  The section of trail begins in Pamo Valley through USFS lands to the Highway 78 staging area. There is no bike access along this portion managed by California Department of Fish and Widlife.  SDMBA, SDRP and SDRVC stand aligned with the county of San Diego and other stakeholders in advocating opening this section of the trail to cyclists. In additional there are alternate proposed alignments in the area.    

SDMBA volunteers took part in work days in 2021 and 2022 in opening two new sections of the Coast to Crest Trail - Scorpion Ridge at the top of the Crosby Switchbacks in Del Dios Gorge area and the completion of the Surf Cup section near the Del Mar Polo Grounds/soccer complex.  

San Diego River Park Trail

Land Manager: Multi-jurisdictional


To be added to a list to receive project updates from the County, email: trails@sdcounty.ca.gov

The San Diego River Park Conceptual Plan envisions a trail system from the mountains to the ocean. The main trail is called the San Diego River Trail, a multi-purpose trail and pathway for pedestrians, bicycles and other users. The vision of the River Trail includes equestrian users east/upstream of Mission Trails Regional Park into Santee, Lakeside and beyond. This connected system serves as the unifying thread for the San Diego River Park system and will offer recreational opportunities and access to park facilities and nature, in general.

The County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) assists in this effort by trying to  acquire property, build trails and open access to land along the San Diego River. Plans to connect this 52-mile corridor have been in play for several decades – a collaborative effort involving the County, the City of San Diego, The San Diego River Park Foundation, the San Diego River Conservancy, various stakeholders and the greater San Diego County community. 

A project of this magnitude requires funding. In March 2021, the County Board of Supervisors convened a task force to identify issues for the San Diego River Park and Trail. DPR is spearheading a San Diego River Trail Funding Feasibility Analysis. The Analysis recommended the creation of an enhanced infrastructure financing district which would generate money any time a parcel within a half a mile of the river sees it’s property tax go up in the next 45 years.  This plan was approved by the Board of Supervisors in November 2022. Article regarding the funding plan HERE. 

Trans-County Trail (TCT)

Land Manger: Multi-jurisdictional


The San Diego Trans County Trail, aka the Sea to Sea Trail or the TCT, is an ~155-mile route from the eastern boundary of San Diego County near the Salton Sea to the western edge of the county at the Pacific Ocean. The route connects Anza Borrego Desert State Park and Wilderness in the Colorado Desert to the world-famous Torrey Pines Natural Preserve. The TCT uses a combination of the California Riding and Hiking Trail, Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), Cedar Creek Falls Trail, Los Peñasquitos, and other trails.  As with any long-distance trail, this one has gaps and constraints along the route which must be considered if you are going to try to traverse the entire route.  The route may be best explored in sections rather than attempting the entire thing.  

Traversing the entire route is a considerable adventure best for hiking and backpacking.  Large sections of the route are suitable for mountain biking or bikepacking. Certain established sections do not allow for mountain biking such as the PCT.  

The San Diego Trans County Trail is really a route more than a well-delineated and marked trail.  The character of the route changes from well-marked singletrack trails to bushwhacking to road walking to well-marked urban paths.  At certain points the alignment particularly in the backcountry, the TCT follows or will follow the San Diego River Park Trail. There is not one entity that manages the entire route. 

The eastern part of the San Diego Trans County Trail visits areas that are ancestral homes to bands of the Cahuilla people, also known as íviluqaletem or Ivilyuqaletem. The western part of the trail is the ancestral home to groups of the Kumeyaay people. Descendants and members of both groups are still active in San Diego and surrounding counties. The trail crosses Native American Reservations of the Iñaja and Cosmit and near reservations of other groups. It’s essential to be respectful of private property while traveling in these areas. 

The county of San Diego is expending some time on this alignment/route, especially where it intersects with the proposed alignment of the San Diego River Park Trail.