San Mateo Creek, San Mateo Campground & Trestles Beach (San Onofre State Beach)
San Mateo Campground is
located along the San Mateo Creek & Christianitos Road at San Onofre State Beach. The camp facilities
are very nice, clean & include RV spots and hookups, tent sites, bathrooms & showers.
A path (Panhe Trail) leads from San Mateo Campground to Trestles Beach. Click here to see photos of the trail.
near San Mateo Campground and San Mateo Creek is a Native American Sacred Site, an ancient Acjachemen Nation village
called Panhe which is about 8,000 thousand years old.
View of San Mateo Creek off the trail from San Mateo Campground to Trestles.
Trestles Beach (San Onofre State Beach), 2-16-08
San Onofre State Beach San Mateo Campground
San Mateo Campground on 9-13-08, view from the day use parking lot.
Warning: Rattlesnakes are found in this area, use caution.
See our Safety Page.
San O Rattlesnake -- give him plenty of distance!
Photo taken by Phil Culshaw in San Mateo Campground. Click picture to enlarge.
View of Trestles from the bluffs, 2-16-08
Above: view of Trestles from the bluffs. I believe this is the Church
section of Trestles.
View of Trestles from old Hwy 101, just before the bluffs
Looking across the lagoon from the beach side, train tracks in the background.
Above: the lagoon at the mouth of San Mateo Creek at Trestles
Beach, part of the natural reserve.
Trestles Beach/San Onofre State Beach, low tide at Uppers, 2-16-08
Above: Cobbles on the beach, low tide at Trestles, Uppers.
The sediment and cobbles that move down San Mateo Creek to the ocean form the world famous surf breaks at Trestles.
Crab hiding in the seaweed & cobbles on Trestles Beach, 2-16-08
Above: Crab in the cobbles...center of picture. (Click
picture to enlarge)
Sea slug hiding in seaweed & cobbles on Trestles Beach, 2-16-08
Above: another creature in the cobbles...a sea slug (center
of the picture, click to enlarge).
Path from San Mateo Campground to Trestles Beach--Panhe Trail, 2-16-08
Above: Panhe Trail, the pathway leading to Trestles Beach
from San Mateo Campground, just before the I5 undercrossing. (I've never seen any wildlife using the freeway
Above: San Mateo Creek Natural Reserve just past the
I5 undercrossing and old Highway 101. At this point there is a lot of water in the creek year round. Thick
foliage surrounds about the last 1/2 mile of the creek before the ocean. This is home to many species including endangered
Above: San Mateo Creek Natural Reserve, near old Hwy 101
Take note TCA -- "ALL FEATURES PROTECTED"
Take note TCA -- "ALL FEATURES PROTECTED"
Many thanks to all the organizations, concerned citizens, California
Politicians who supported Saving San O, California Coastal Commissioners who voted against the toll road and the US Secretary
of Commerce for upholding California Coastal Commission's decision not to build the toll road over San O.
The lagoon at the mouth of San Mateo Creek on Trestles Beach, 2-16-08
San Onofre, especially San Mateo Campground and San
Mateo Creek areas, have been the subject of a very difficult fight to prevent destruction by building the 241 toll road extension
over it. It appears for now "Save Trestles" aka "Save San Onofre" is a success. However, historically
the toll road always comes back for another try again...Visit our Take Action page for more info.
2-16-08, wildflowers starting to bloom along old Highway 101.
In addition to wildlife, including 11 endangered species, a number of California native plants are found in San Onofre
Elderberry Growing in San Mateo Campground
Picture taken 8-20-08, these bird attracting berry bushes grow throughout San Mateo Campground.
Another berry bush found in San Mateo Campground
Birds love the fruit, these bushes provide shade and privacy between campsites.
View from the San Mateo Campground Ampitheater
Looking accross the campground toward the ocean, 1-26-08
taken on our camping trip at San Mateo Campground 8/19/08, click here.
Photos of San Onofre State Beach backtrails, click here.
of San Mateo Creek Natural Reserve, click here.
Pictures taken on 1/26/08 walking Panhe Trail from San Mateo
Campground to Trestles Beach, along with many pictures of San Mateo Creek, a sacred site and home to many endangered species:
another video from Save San Onofre, has some nice aerial shots of the San Onofre State Beach backcountry, San Mateo Creek
watershed, San Mateo Campground, San Mateo Creek and Lagoon on Trestles Beach and dolphins off Trestles Beach.
by the proposed 241 toll road extension which would be very destructive to Trestles Beach, especially San Mateo Campground,
San Mateo Creek and Donna ONeill Land Conservancy.
If built the 241 Toll Road South would cause closure
of 60% of San Onofre State Beach. Public access to Trestles would be cut off, the toll road would run through San Mateo
Campground, literally people would be camping next to a 6 lane highway. The nature trail to Trestles Beach (named "Panhe
Trail" on the San O trail guide) would be replaced by or have a 6 lane highway above it.
The toll road
would run through the San Mateo Creekbed for 4 miles before connecting with I5. "Catch basins" would be dug into
the creekbed in numerous locations in attempt to keep polluted water runoff from reaching the ocean--these "catch
basins" would also stop the rock and sediment from reaching the ocean. This rock and sediment
forms the offshore reef which forms the world famous Trestles surfbreaks. Interrupting this natural process will eventually
degrade the surf quality at Trestles.
The proposed toll road violates the California Coastal Act, several endangered
species acts and at least two other laws designating San Onofre as a state park and to always remain either a state park or
open space area even if Camp Pendleton is closed. Also note San Mateo Campground was mitigation (compensation to the
public) for the loss of the beach to build San Onofre nuclear power station. Donna ONeil Land Conservancy was mitigation
for the loss of land to the Talega development.
On 2/6/08 the California Coastal Commission ruled the proposed
241 Toll Road extension was not consistent with the California Coastal Protection Act and denied the project. The company
seeking to build the toll road (TCA) is seeking an exception to the Coastal Protection Act and is currently in the appeal
process to the Federal Goverment (US Secretary of Commerce NOAA , I believe they are partially basing their request on
grounds the road provides "national security"? Uhmmm, I think the boys at Camp Pendleton have this
covered... Like Ronald Regan pretty much said in his speech when he dedicated San Onofre as a state park, we will probably
always have to work to protect it...
A public hearing was held September 22, 2008, much to TCA's
disappointment as they did their best to pursuade Commerce Dept. not to allow a public hearing. The purpose of the hearing
was for the US Secretary of Commerce to hear public testimony and a couple of thousand people attended, an overwelming number
of them against the toll road. In addition around 10,000 letters were written to US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Guiterrez.
US Secretary of Commerce ruled not to allow the toll road and it is possible (maybe) San Onofre is saved now after a more
than 10 year long battle.
The Orange County Toll Roads
are becoming more apparent as to what a wasted expense they really are. Hardly worth sacrificing a state park for.
Here is a recent blog (Feb. '09) about the reality of these toll roads, how these toll roads are a failure. Toll
roads are hardly a solution for our traffic issues...
Below is from Ronald Reagan's speech
when San Onofre was dedicated as a state beach in 1971:
"...I firmly believe one of the greatest
legacies we can leave to future generations is the heritage of our land, but unless we can preserve and protect the unspoiled
areas which God has given us, we will have nothing to leave them. This expanse of acreage, San Onofre Bluffs State Beach,
now has its future guaranteed as an official state park. However, its preservation still remains with those who use
the park. As stewards of this land, we must use it judiciously and with a great sense of responsibility.”
--California Governor Ronald Reagan, April 3, 1971.
OCblogspot, an online copy of the letter written
by the Army Corps of Engineer's setting the record straight that they did not concur with TCA as TCA has claimed on the
issue that the proposed toll road through our state park was the least environmentally damaging practical alternative
determined by a collaboration of agencies. More deceptive tactics by TCA once again.
Find February 6th 2008, "Complete" under the "Video"
column. This is the entire 11 hr taping, plays with Windows Media Player. Since it is very long I've noted
a few key places you might fast forward to below.
the lower right corner of the player just below "Total Time 11:02:58" is a counter (hours:min:seconds). Move
to the times listed to watch the discussions described below:
At 09:23:11 Commissioner Wan addressing environmental damage and harm to endangered species. She
addresses TCA's public statements accusing the Commission of "junk science", points out errors
in TCAs environmental studies. At 09:40:00 she begins gives a recap on all this. Very good speech.
At approximately 10:09:00 This
is good, Commissioner Blank grills TCA CEO, questions TCA on the "national security" reasons for this project,
the claim it will cost $70 million to renew the lease, the $100 million for state parks...basically he does the math, it doesn't
add up and he is asking TCA.
At 10:25:35 Commissioner Reilly, takes up where Commissioner Blank left off, talks about state park
funding, pointing out funding to create state parks has never been a problem.
At 10:31:08 Commissioner Shallenberger, speaks about
cultural historic value of Panhe and how Panhe cannot be mitigated. She calls on state historic preservation
officer who explains how the California surf movement was actually started in the 1930's at Trestles (before surf
movement became popular in the 50's) .
Why is neither Panhe or Trestles a California Cultural
Historic site? The state historic preservation officer said the state just needs some more information to complete