Finding the right path forward for beach access at Beacon’s Beach in Leucadia is something the Surfrider Foundation San Diego Chapter takes very seriously – we all love the trail at Beacon’s and want it to stay open as long as possible!

Beacon’s Beach, a narrow stretch of coast in Encinitas, CA, currently has a narrow switchback trail from the parking lot down to the beach. The problem is the trail is not currently safe. It has a “factor of safety” of 1, which is not stable. Common practice requires a 1.5 factor of safety. The trail would become safer for continued use once the parking lot is reconfigured. Currently, seven parking spots are undermined and in danger of failing.

Because we consider beach access critical and value the trail so much, Surfrider has been engaged in the public process since 2001. Representatives from the San Diego Chapter have attended publicly noticed City Council meetings, reviewed documents and attended workshops to protect the coast and public beach access. When it comes to politics and civic engagement, the public has to actively pay attention, read local media, check City Council agendas, etc. For those wishing to protect the coast, the Surfrider Foundation often highlights critical issues; in fact, the access battle at Beacon’s has been on our San Diego Chapter website and in our newsletter numerous times over the years.

At one point, when Surfrider was still the only voice on this issue, the city arranged a meeting to have their consultants explain a proposed armoring solution in detail. We did not agree with the proposal, however, so we kept pushing – through the public process – for a non-armoring solution that complies with the State Parks General Plan.

That is why we have suggested specific permit language to ensure the city has to obtain a separate permit before making any changes to the trail. The City of Encinitas is also committed to maintaining the trail, continuing current levels of funding for trail maintenance, and upholding the requirements of their agreement with California’s Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR).

For more on this issue, check out this September 2018 blog post by Julia Chunn-Heer, Surfrider San Diego Policy Manager.

Relevant Posts


Beacons: The Real Story

The proposed solution to ensure beach access at Beacon’s in Encinitas is a hot button issue right now. With a lot of misinformation floating around,

Read More »

No Seawall at Beacon’s

In 2001, California State Parks awarded a grant to the city of Encinitas to protect the bluff and parking area. The city went forward with

Read More »


Our chapter maintains two volunteer-led committees dedicated to issues related to the preservation of our coast. You can learn more about them by clicking below, or start HERE to get some background on Surfrider’s Coastal Preservation Initiative