New segment of Coast to Crest Trail to bridge missing link

A new segment of Coast to Crest Trail will feature a bridge over the San Dieguito River.

The San Dieguito River Park is making progress on a local missing link of the Coast to Crest Trail. Known as the Osuna segment, the trail will provide a new connection near Morgan Run Golf Club and over the San Dieguito River to where the trail picks up along San Dieguito Road.

At the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board’s Oct. 28 meeting, they approved sending a letter in support of the San Dieguito River Park JPA’s efforts.

“Osuna is important to link four miles of coastal trails to 31 miles of inland trails and even more in the future as we keep closing the gaps,” said Ayden Zielke, San Dieguito River Park environmental planner.

The Coast to Crest Trail stretches from the San Dieguito Lagoon to the San Dieguito River’s headwaters at Vulcan Mountain in Julian. Of the 71-mile trail, 49 miles have been completed with missing links sprinkled throughout.

Shawna Anderson, San Dieguito River Park general manager, said the gaps are filled by demand for use and the opportunity for easements and funding.

“The Osuna segment is a longstanding gap in our Coast to Crest Trail,” said Anderson. “It’s a complicated area because there’s a private property, there’s other land uses in the area and very little room to put the Coast to Crest Trail through.”

The San Dieguito River Park was able to secure a trail easement a couple years ago from the private property owner and completed a feasibility study for a new bridge over the San Dieguito River. They applied for and received a $1.3 million grant from the state to design, permit and construct the Osuna portion of the Coast to Crest. The grant funding will cover the California Environmental Quality Act review for the project and the build will also be supported by donor funds.

The new one-mile trail segment will start east of the lagoon between Via De La Valle and San Dieguito Road, near Surf Sports Park. It runs the perimeter of the city-owned Fairbanks Ranch Country Club and connects to San Dieguito Road, which leads to Lusardi Creek Preserve and the Black Mountain Open Space Park staging area.

The new trail will feature a 160 feet bridge and access to some beautiful views that have long been hidden to the public, Zielke said. They also hope to incorporate tribal art and interpretive signage along the trail.

The goal is for the trail to begin construction in the next year and be completed in 2024. While it seems far away, Zielke said it’s very exciting that this missing link is well on its way to becoming a reality.

This new segment of Coast to Crest Trail will connect with the 1.3-mile portion that runs through the Surf Cup Sports Park. Work on this segment has been delayed for several years but a work party has been planned for Saturday, Dec. 4 in collaboration with Surf Cup Sports, the San Dieguito River Park and the San Diego Mountain Bike Association.