Trails & Open Space

Explore Encinitas' Wilder Side!

The City of Encinitas and its residents value the importance of nature and open space.  Encinitas boasts abundant opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy a hike or some quiet time in nature.  The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department is responsible for 85 acres of open space and 40 miles of trails. The City's Recreational Trails Master Plan includes plans to develop an additional 40 miles of trails and pedestrian connections throughout the City.

City trails provide pedestrian, bicycle and/or equestrian access to undeveloped open spaces such as Indian Head Canyon and Manchester Preserve. The Olivenhain community enjoys an extensive network of trails relative to other parts of the City. The Encinitas Ranch Specific Plan area has a great trail system as well. The San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve includes approximately five miles of trails managed by the County of San Diego, which serve City residents and visitors. 

To report a maintenance problem at one of the City's parks, beaches, or trails, please call the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department at (760) 633-2740 or email [email protected]

General Trail Information

Trail Head Parking: 5am - 10pm 
Trail Use: 5am - sunset 

Trail Guides and Maps

Encinitas Ranch Trail System
Map Only: pdf download
Trail Guide for print: pdf download (print two-sided and fold for a handy pocket guide)
No Restrooms
On-Street Parking

Manchester Preserve and other area trails
Map Only: pdf download
Trail Guide for print: pdf download (print two-sided and fold for a handy pocket guide)
No Restrooms
Dirt Parking Area

Olivenhain Trail System
Map Only: pdf download
Trail Guide for print pdf download (print two-sided and fold for a handy pocket guide)
No Restrooms
Street Parking

Using the Trails

The City of Encinitas’ 40-plus miles of trails are meant to be enjoyed and shared with other humans, with their dogs and horses, and with the creatures who inhabit the surrounding natural environment.

Trail Users

Motorized vehicles are not permitted on any trail. Most trails are open to hikers (also joggers, walkers and runners with jogging strollers), bicyclists and equestrians. Unless otherwise noted, all trails are open to all three user groups.  Olivenhain trails attract the greatest diversity of users.  Horses are not permitted on the Manchester Preserve Trail, which is owned by the Center for Natural Lands Management and operated by the City of Encinitas. Bicyclists are not permitted on some of the Encinitas Ranch Trails.

General Rules

Please take note of the rules posted on signs at trail heads and access points. These include:

  • Trail hours are sunrise to sunset
  • No littering or dumping. Please use the trash receptacles located along pathways or dispose of your refuse when you leave
  • Dogs must be leashed. People must pick up after their pets
  • No fires or smoking
  • No camping

Trail Courtesy around Horses Guidelines

Bicyclists Should:

  • Slow down when approaching equestrians. Some cyclists are going at a high speed and may not see the horse and rider until they are upon them.
  • Announce their presence, whether approaching from the front or rear, within a reasonable distance so they can be heard. Say, “Bicyclist approaching.”
  • Ask the equestrian how to safely approach and how to pass. The rider knows how the horse will react and an accident can be avoided.

Hikers with Dog(s) Should:

  • Keep dogs on-leash
  • Gather, secure and control their pets as they approach a horse and rider
  • Yield priority to the equestrian to pass, then proceed

Joggers with Children in Strollers Should:

  • Yield priority to the equestrian to pass, then proceed.

Trail Tips

1. Carry water with you on your hike or ride on the trails
2. Wear sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses
3. Make sure to complete your hike or ride while the sun is still out
4. Know the length of the trail you’re hiking or biking on
5. If taking your dog, please make sure they are on a 6-foot leash
6. Many trails are adjacent to private property, so please be courteous to property owners
7. Please follow the trail courtesy signs- generally, cyclists yield to all other trail users and hikers yield to equestrians.
8. Report any issues or concerns to the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department at 760-633-2740 or
[email protected]

Please obey all posted rules and regulations on trails and open space areas.  Enjoy!

Quick Links

County Parks and Rec Trails
Encinitas Trails Coalition
San Elijo Ecological Reserve 
Department of Fish and Wildlife
Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve