La Orilla Trailhead (Photo: T. Bredehoft)



  • to Santa Helena trailhead: .68 mile
  • to Santa Carina trailhead: .96 mile
  • to Santa Inez trailhead: 1.32 miles
  • to Rios Avenue trailhead: 2.97 miles

La Orilla Trail Guide (Download PDF)

La Orilla Trail begins on the east side of San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve and continues westward for about 3.5 miles. Enjoy a stroll through four distinct plant communities: from the shade of riparian woodlands, farther down to the marsh, along hillside chaparral and coastal sage scrub. Listen for the tapping of woodpeckers, or watch for mule deer grazing vegetation along creek banks. Sections of the trail can be muddy during the winter rainy season.



Trails open daily from dawn to dusk
No restroom facilities on this trail

Google Map and Directions

  • I-5 to Lomas Santa Fe exit
  • Drive east off exit
  • Turn left on Highland Rd (4-way stop)
  • Turn left on El Camino Real
  • Look for the parking area on the left before the 90-degree bend in the road. 

 San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve is owned and managed by: 


  • Walk, jog, or hike on established trails only
  • Dogs on a leash no longer than 6 feet
  • Equestrians are permitted on trails east of Interstate 5


  • Off-trail access
  • Bicycles, motorcycles, and any vehicles
  • Recreational water use, including SUPs, kayaks, canoes, or swimming
  • Any remotely piloted aircraft 
  • Smoking, fireworks, or camping/campfires
  • Collection of any plant, animal, mineral, or cultural artifacts
  • Feeding wildlife, or release of any animal 
  • Fishing, hunting, or weapons
  • Litter and dog waste can harm wildlife. Please dispose properly in the provided receptacles.

  Lorquin's Admiral