MORE INFORMATION: San Onofre State Beach 3030 Avenida Del Presidente San Clemente, CA (949) 492-4872
HIGHLIGHTS: San Onofre State Beach is a 3,000-acre state park located three miles south of the City of San Clemente, CA. The State Beach was created by governor Ronald Reagan in 1971, and is among the Top 5 most visited state parks in California.
This hike is in the San Onofre Bluffs section of San Onofre State Beach – which is south of the nuclear power plant. (A section of the State Beach north of the nuclear power plant is used mostly by surfers and not hikers).
In the bluffs section, there are six trails that access the Pacific Ocean along a 3.5 miles stretch of old U.S. Route 101 that now serves as the main access point to the trailheads and to the park campsites. Both are situated right next to the sandstone bluffs. If you are not camping, make sure to park across old US 101 in the day use area. The parking spaces next to the bluffs are for campers and not for day hikers.
You can either hike a beach trail down to the Ocean and back, or use any series of beach trails to hike a small or larger loop in the park. Old US 101 will return you to your car in all cases. It is 5.6 miles round trip from Beach Trail #1 to Beach Trail #6.
The nuclear power plant can be seen easily from Beach Trail #1, but as you get down to Beach Trail #4 and further South on the beach it is barely noticeable in the distance.
Overall, this is a great hike with interesting bluffs and stones along the beach. You are likely to see people sunbathing, swimming, kayaking, and surfing here so it’s a relaxing way to spend a few hours or the entire day.