The Coast to Crest Trail links Del Mar to Julian along 55 miles of the San Dieguito River. Don't worry, we have not hiked that far with the kids. We did do a little over 3 miles recently, but that was a round-trip.
This short hike, or should I say walk, because really, there are no hills, just a long flat trail and boardwalk where we were, was the ultimate torture for the kids. Not only did San Diego put on some beautiful sunny weather, but we had the San Diego County Fair in sight almost the entire time.
The particular sections we walked along were the Lagoon Trail and the Riverpath Trail, you can read more about these trails along with the other trails (with map links) on the San Dieguito River Path website.
We began on the east side of the Lagoon Trail, where there is street parking just east of the shopping area. From there we walked under the I-5 freeway, passed the overflow carpark for the County Fair and we followed the path all the way to dog beach in Del Mar.
You can see all of the freeway traffic in the photograph above. In all of the times I have driven down this stretch of the freeway I had never noticed this trail. I actually found it on-line and still didn't fully understand exactly where it was until we started walking. It's so easy to skip over things that are right in front of you apparently.
They've been doing a large restoration project around this area. You will find lots of wildflowers, fiddler crabs, great blue herons, and olive and silver striped mullet jumping out of the water. You have to be quick to see them though, and have a little patience, you will hear the splashing but by the time you look, they are already gone. After popping our cameras on sports mode both Jay and I were finally able to capture a few shots.
Once you get to Jimmy Durante Blvd, you will turn left and cross over the bridge, cross over the road and meet up with the Riverpath trail on the other side which will take you over the train tracks and across to dog beach.