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Metrolink Trestles Beach S
The namesake railroad tracks

Trestles is a collection of surfing spots at San Onofre State Beach in San Diego County, California. Trestles consists of, from north to south, Upper Trestles (Uppers), Lower Trestles (Lowers), and Middle Trestles (Middles). North of Upper Trestles is the surf spot called Cottons. South of Middles is the surf spot called The Church. It is named after Trestles Bridge, a wooden trestle bridge that surfers must walk under to reach the beach, replaced in 2012 by a concrete viaduct.

Lower Trestles consistently has the best waves of the group. There is an WSL World Tour surfing competition held at Lowers every year, as well as the NSSA Nationals. Uppers is less consistent, but it has the potential to be a good wave with a long ride. North of Uppers is Cotton's Point, the location of former President Richard Nixon's home, La Casa Pacifica, aka "The Western White House", and the associated surfing spot of Cottons.

Access and amenities

Getting to Trestles is a trek.

  1. Visitors can park and walk down an asphalt trail to Trestles from the trailhead at Cristianitos Road, near where Cristianitos crosses over the San Diego Freeway. Visitors can expect to see surf graffiti on the sidewalk, with such phrases as "no kooks", "surf hard", "you're going the wrong way", and "duckbutter". There is a pay parking lot near the Carl’s Jr. restaurant on Coast Highway at Cristianitos, along with some public parking on streets near the restaurant. There is no fee to walk, skateboard, or bike into Trestles by means of this trail. Most visitors enter Trestle by this trail. It's about a 15-minute walk from the parking lot to the beach.
  2. Visitors can park at San Onofre State Beach by exiting the San Diego Freeway at Basilone Road, then heading westerly from the freeway exit to the entrance to the portion of San Onofre State Beach named Surf Beach. The hike northwest to Trestles from Surf Beach at San Onofre State Beach is considerably longer than the hike southwest from the Cristianitos Road bridge and the San Diego Freeway. There is a fee to drive into the State Park at Surf Beach.

Plant and animal life

Brown Pelican Trestles Park
A California brown pelican at Trestles park.

Trestles park is home to a variety of plant and animal life. The most common plant is the coastal sage scrub, which is native to the coast of California and thrives in the area's Mediterranean climate. Trestles park is also home to quite a lot of animal life, including California brown pelicans. These animals used to be endangered species, but the populations recovered so well that the species was removed from the endangered species list in 2009. During times of heavy rains, there is usually a river delta flowing into the ocean where there are often tadpoles.

One plant which grows right out of the sand is the beach evening primrose. Each plants creates a large mat of roots and foliage which is an extremely important aspect of the ecosystem, because other plants are able to grow from the stable surface this plants provides. The primrose can be identified by its bright yellow, four petaled flowers which open in the morning, and turn reddish as evening progresses. The primrose has unique medical benefits as well. These flowers aid in the treatment of sore throat and eye diseases.

Seasonal stream

During periods of strong rain, Trestles park has a stream that runs through its center and empties into the ocean. Usually you find the stream flowing during winter, and spring which are the seasons with the most rain in Southern California. The stream does not usually contain much animal life, as it dries up fairly quickly without a steady water source. The stream does create a small pool which contains mainly tadpoles. When the stream dries up above ground, an underground water flow still exits into the ocean, just not through a river delta. It is an interesting phenomenon to see the river drain from under the sand into the ocean.

One significant problem is littering. Many visitors leave trash in the dried stream bed. When the stream flows again, it brings the waste into the ocean and onto the beach. This is one of the main reasons why Trestles has numerous signs reminding visitors to dispose of waste properly.

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