Image at Harbaugh Seaside Trails (above), L-R: Tom Golich, Gerri Retman-Opper, Gary Martin, Conservancy Director Doug Gibson, Janie DeCelles, David Winkler, and Joe Balla, representing The George & Betty Harbaugh Charitable Foundation. Photo by Sebastian Montes, UT Community Media

Harbaugh Seaside Trails is a 3-acre coastal overlook at the gateway between Cardiff-by-the-Sea and Solana Beach. This is a special place in coastal North County San Diego cherished for its open space and expansive marine views.

Its name honors a $1.15 million donation, that secured this property, made by The George and Betty Harbaugh Charitable Foundation. Read more about the Harbaughs.

Harbaugh Seaside Trails is a place for contemplation and enjoyment, dog walking, and a gathering spot for stunning sunsets over the ocean. It is adjacent to San Elijo Lagoon and creates an important buffer for protected wetland habitat. Positioned along the Pacific Coast Highway, it's a natural extension of the Coastal Rail Trail.

Plans are under way to create trails, a viewing deck, and a welcome area with commemorative tiles. Trail restoration and native habitat enhancement will begin once permitting and planning are finalized.  

From Commercial Zoning to Open Space Preserve, Harbaugh Seaside Trails Will Always Be Here

The 30-year journey to formally preserve Harbaugh Seaside Trails, three scenic acres along the Coast Highway 101 at the northern end of Solana Beach, came to a milestone on April 12, 2017. The Solana Beach City Council approved a zoning change, from commercial to open space preserve, that ensures Harbaugh Seaside Trails will remain as open space in perpetuity. 

Mayor Mike Nichols thanked San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy for taking the risk of putting up the $3.75 million needed to buy the land in December 2011, on the mere promise of eventual repayment. That set off a campaign to repay lenders for the property loan, which brought in donations large and small — from schoolchildren’s allowance to multi-million sums. Continue to Del Mar Times news article

Harbaugh Seaside Trails Proposed
Conceptual Lanscape Plan


Harbaugh Seaside Trails Proposed
Foundation & Donor Monument











Fall 2018

California Coastal Commission approves Coastal Development Permit for Harbaugh Seaside Trails (November 8, 2018).

Each step in the permitting process is coming together for the habitat restoration, trail planning, and donor monument installation at Harbaugh Seaside Trails. What's next? We have a few more local permits that need to be approved. We then move forward in creating trails that will connect to the lagoon and the Coastal Rail Trail, in addition to the donor monument and viewing deck. The land will be restored to its native coastal habitat in timelines that we will announce when permits continue. We will keep you updated as we continue to move forward with this exciting project!

Limited tiles are available:

  • $2,500
  • $5,000
  • $10,000

Please contact us at (760) 436-3944 x 708 to secure this last-in opportunity to honor someone special at Harbaugh Seaside Trails.

As Build NCC rail improvements are underway, the property area along the railroad access road is closed due to construction. Other areas, such as the overlook, are available for visitation on the property.


  • Share your comments or questions.
  • Sign up to volunteer. We'll contact you when restoration and foundation and donor monument opportunities are available.
  • Make a donation to restore Harbaugh Seaside Trails. 



HST [at] sanelijo [dot] org
(760) 436-3944 

San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Tax ID # 33-0358660.