Ascent of Leucadia State Beach High Point on 2021-07-01

Climber: Jeffrey Swain

Others in Party:Susan Stenstadvold Chapman
Date:Thursday, July 1, 2021
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Leucadia State Beach High Point
    Elevation:89 ft / 27 m

Ascent Trip Report

Trailhead for this hike was the Solana Beach Amtrak station, alt 93ft. There is plenty of parking and no parking fee. I parked at the north end of the lot near the giant fig tree and the pedestrian bridge. There were no discernable facilities, although there were restroom symbols near the station, but the station and visitor center were closed. Perhaps there were facilities nearer the Amtrak platform.

Northern boundary of the parking lot is Cliff Street and a pedestrian bridge crosses the train tracks leading to Highway 101. Legendary Highway 101 used to be the main route from Los Angeles to Tijuana back in the days when the beach communities of Carlsbad, Leucadia, Solana Beach, and Cardiff were agricultural communities. In those days, there were wide open spaces between the communities. Now it's pretty much one continuous beach town from Solana Beach to Carlsbad. Now the communities are separated by assorted lagoons which are worthy of exploration in their own right.

CARDIFF STATE BEACH HIGH POINT alt. 41. Highway 101 leads down to Cardiff State Beach. There is a scenic overlook with various memorials on the east side of 101 and evidence of restoration work. This scenic overlook leads to the Harbaugh Seaside Trails which enable exploration of the San Elijo Lagoon and a detour out to Annie's Canyon. There is no crosswalk at this point, so you will need to hustle across Hwy 101 to get to the beach side. The High Point of Cardiff State 41 feet above sea level. As you descend to the parking lot there is a stairway and bluff leading off to the left and the Brown Dot is a couple of feet off the stairway. The stairway leads back toward the east and up into a residential neighborhood at the corner of East Circle Drive and Driftwood Lane. I'd suggest that the Brown Dot be relocated to that vicinity. There are facilities at Cardiff State Beach. There is also a parking fee, which is monitored by automated pay stations near the restroom. No one asked to see my State Parks Parking Pass, which was fine, because I left it in the car. There is no camping at Cardiff. Cardiff was originally settled by English immigrants, hence a large number of English place names among the streets.

SAN ELIJO STATE BEACH HIGH POINT Alt. 81.A staircase leads back up to Highway 101 and continues to San Elijo State Beach which is a camping park. Civilization of the Beach Town kind resumes on the other side of 101. Again, there is a set of stairs leading down to the campground and the beach. The High Point, or Brown Dot, is at the top of those stairs. There are facilities in the campground.

MOONLIGHT STATE BEACH HIGH POINT Alt. 81. Back on Hwy 101, the next stop is Moonlight State Beach. Parking is close to the highway, but there are roads leading down to the beach. Moonlight is a photogenic little "pirate cove which crams all manner of facilities into a relatively small area. Again, a staircase leads back to Hwy 101 and High Point is at the top of the staircase. This leads into the City of Encinitas, the lotus-domed Self Realization Fellowship, and the Vulcan Avenue pedestrian underpass. (I crossed the street and posed for a Live Long and Prosper hand signal under the Vulcan Avenue crossing. There is a Swami's Beach, presumably operated by City of Encinitas, which I skipped. There is also a Swami's Café, which is now a chain operation.

LEUCADIA STATE BEACH HIGH POINT Alt. 89. A left turn leads into the wealthy residential community of Leucadia, which has been incorporated into the City of Encinitas. The private homes and condos are spectacular in design, especially since the lots were originally occupied by ticky-tacky suburban housing. Some of those lots are in their original stucco exterior state. Taking a left turn into the residential neighborhood, I followed Neptune Avenue. A number of coastal access points along Neptune Ave feature steep stairways leading down to the beach. Neptune leads eventually to Beacons Beach. The top of those stairs marks the High Point of Leucadia State Beach and the highest point in altitude for this hike. One of the condos listed M & L Romney as a resident. Mitt Romney sold his house in La Jolla, and I thought this might be him. His wife's name is Ann Lois Romney, so she might be going by her middle name.

SOUTH CARLSBAD STATE BEACH HIGH POINT Alt. 85. Neptune Avenue (You will notice a lot of street names from Roman mythology) continues north among the fancy homes until it reaches an access point called Grandview Beach. At this point, the topo map becomes quite obsolete. The alleged trailer park is gone and has been replaced by parking facilities for the State Beach. While the Brown Dot is only a few feet away from this point, a gated community blocks access to the area. This means we walked back to Grandview Avenue, and east to Hwy 101. At this point 101 leads to the Alila Marea Beach Resort, a rather Ozymandian concrete bunker-type building which, at first glance, resembles a Mesa College parking garage. Once past the service road, however, you can see it's quite a fancy place stretching inland from the highway to the bluffs. A road leads down to State Beach, where there are facilities. A stairway leads from the parking lot to two separate viewpoints, one marked with compass points, the other, higher up, seems to provide access to the pool area of the Alila Marea Beach Resort. Pursuit of the elusive Brown Dot proved quite elusive as it firmly rests inside the grounds of the resort, perhaps along the service road. In any case, it is quite unattainable by us mortals.

Having pursued the Brown Dot and satisfied our curiosity about the Alila Marea Beach Resort, it was time to head back to the car. We called for an Uber, but they were slow in responding. There was, however, North County Transit Bus Route 101, just up the hill from the Resort, just a wee bit behind the Leucadia welcome sigh. Bus arrived at 4:10 p.m. and took us back to the Solana Beach Amtrak Station. Word of Caution, the Amtrak station is on your left, and back across the pedestrian bridge. Senior fare was $1.25 apiece.

Stats are a little wonky on this trip. The trailhead at Solana Beach Amtrak is 93 ft., followed by a series of dips down to sea level. In turn the High Points peak out at 89 feet at Beacon's Beach.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:212 ft / 63 m
    Total Elevation Loss:123 ft / 36 m
    Round-Trip Distance:8.5 mi / 13.7 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Perfect Southern California day
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:147 ft / 44 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 89 ft / 27 m; Extra: 58 ft / 17m
    Loss on way in:58 ft / 17 m
    Distance:8.4 mi / 13.5 km
    Route:Hwy 101 and Neptune Ave.
    Start Trailhead:Solana Beach Amtrak  0 ft / 0 m
    Time:6 Hours 23 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:65 ft / 19 m
    Gain on way out:65 ft / 19 m
    Distance:0.1 mi / 0.2 km
    Route:Hwy 101
    End Trailhead:Solana Beach Amtrak  89 ft / 27 m
    Time:1 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: 20210701

Complete Trip Sequence:
 San Elijo State Beach High Point2021-07-01 
1Cardiff State Beach High Point2021-07-01 
3Moonlight State Beach High Point2021-07-01 
4Leucadia State Beach High Point2021-07-01212 ft / 65 m
5South Carlsbad State Beach High Point2021-07-01 
Total Trip Gain: 212 ft / 65 m    Total Trip Loss: 123 ft / 37 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Jeffrey Swain
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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