The California Coastal Trail

The California Coastal Trail (CCT)– a magnificent 1200-mile-long trail stretching from Mexico to Oregon that provides a ribbon of protection for coastal resources and public access– was mandated by Proposition 20 in 1972. That Proposition provided that “a hiking, bicycle, and equestrian trails system shall be established along or near the coast” and that “ideally the trails system should be continuous and located near the shoreline.” The Coastal Act of 1976 required local jurisdictions to identify an alignment for the California Coastal Trail in their Local Coastal Programs.

The California Coastal Trail will be a braided network of interconnecting trails and routes spanning California’s entire coast. Some strands of the braid will be improved multi-use trails open to hikers, bicyclists, equestrians, and mobility challenged users. Some strands will be light use, especially in sensitive habitats. Some will be rugged wilderness paths, others unimproved routes along beaches and yet others paved bicycle pathways.

The Trail provides for many types of uses depending on location — hiking, backpacking, walking, cycling, skating, equestrian. In some regions it is both a recreational and a transportation trail. Its variety is what makes it so wonderful. It is a tremendous asset to the people of California and Coastwalk’s aim is to encourage its use and to provide resources that make it a richer experience and more accessible for everyone.

During the 1980′s as Coastwalk grew, it gradually took on the challenge of seeing the Trail through to completion by leading camping and hiking trips along the coast. In 2008, to reflect our statewide work, Coastwalk renamed itself Coastwalk California and in 2014 became Coastwalk/California Coastal Trail Association to include the 126 jurisdictional Coastal Trail owners/managers such as the 15 Coastal counties, 61 Coastal Cities, NGOs, and Land Trusts. Over the past 37 years, our work to complete and steward the Coastal Trail has taken many forms including forming partnerships between CCT advocates & State or local government, successfully advocating for legislation to fund completion of the CCT, signing the Trail, providing CCT resources to enhance its use (maps, podcasts, & trail notes), coordinating educational programs on coastal resources & marine debris, managing volunteer programs including beach cleanups and trail stewardship, providing opportunities for underserved and underrepresented communities to experience the CCT and learn how to advocate for its preservation, and guiding people along the CCT thru our educational and fun “Coastwalks” adventure program.