Ridgway's (Clapper) Rail (Photo: H. Knufken)



  • East to La Orilla trailhead: 1.32 miles
  • North to Dike: .32 mile
  • West to Solana Hills trailhead: 1.36 miles

Enjoy one of the quieter trails for passage along Santa Inez trail, with easy access to Dike trail and inland to east-west trails. Spring ushers in a wildflower bonanza of brilliance and fragrances, evidenced in the abundance of Blue-eyed grasses, lupines, and wild hyacinth. Ample parking is located at the trailhead. You can also access Dike Trail from Santa Inez Trail:

Along the Dike trail, visitors can witness each season’s most impressive displays in bird sightings and flowering plants. During summer water evaporates, leaving salt pans where Killdeer nest. Winter brackish ponds shelter hundreds of waterfowl. The dike area was an early part of restoration efforts in the East Basin beginning in the 1980s. It received an Orchid Award for creating nesting islands and restored habitat for sensitive and endangered species.


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

Google Map and Directions

From I-5 Southbound: 

    • Exit Lomas Santa Fe
    • Left on Lomas Santa Fe
    • Proceed under I-5 and take first Left on Santa Helena
    • Left on Santa Rosita
    • Left on Santa Florencia
    • Left on Santa Inez

From I-5 Northbound:

    • Exit Lomas Santa Fe
    • Proceed directly onto Santa Helena (do not turn on Lomas Santa Fe)
    • Left on Santa Rosita
    • Left on Santa Florencia
    • Left on Santa Inez

Directions if coming via Lomas Santa Fe:

    • Coming east on Lomas Santa Fe: proceed under I-5 and take first left onto Santa Helena
    • Coming west on Lomas Santa Fe: turn right on Santa Helena, which is the last street before the I-5 N-bound on-ramp

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.

  Killdeer (Photo: B. Wechter)