4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Up close to vernal pools

Water's End Rail Trail in Carlsbad

Water's End Trail is one of the discontinuous segments of Coastal Rail Trail.
Water's End Trail is one of the discontinuous segments of Coastal Rail Trail.

The Coastal Rail Trail is projected to become a continuous path following the Coaster commuter train line from Oceanside to San Diego. As of 2017, only discontinuous segments exist. The Water’s End Trail in Carlsbad is one of these Coastal Rail Trail segments.

The western side of the trail is bordered by goldenbush, black sage, lemonadeberry, California buckwheat and California sagebrush

In addition to being a good place for a short walk, it is of considerable interest as one of the few remaining areas of vernal pools in San Diego County, most of which have been bulldozed for developments. Vernal pools are unique biological habitats typically containing rare and endangered plants and animals. Organisms living here must be able to tolerate extended periods of drought as well as periodic flooding.

Vernal pools in dry season. They only contain standing water for one to two months.

These shallow pools fill with water after heavy rains in the spring, but they only contain standing water for one to two months. In this brief time, San Diego fairy shrimp (Branchinecta sandiegoensis) hatch and flourish, providing food for the San Diego spadefoot toads (Spea harmondii) that have been hibernating in the clay beneath the pond for a minimum of months, and possibly years.

As the pools dry up, they will become barren areas of cracked adobe clay. But, before this occurs, there is a brief period in which short-cycling plants such as San Diego mesa mint (Pogogyne abramsii) and button celery (Eryngium aristulatum) can germinate, flower, and complete their life cycle, utilizing the remaining soil moisture before it, too, is gone as the long drought of the summer and fall progresses. Before beginning your hike from your parked car toward the trailhead, walk over to the train station and look south from the southern-most path to the train platform. From this path, you will have a clear view of the vernal pool area to the south. Once you are on the trail itself, the vernal pools will largely be obscured by the dense growth of native vegetation along the trail.

The trailhead at the southwestern end of the parking area will appear almost as a tunnel through sycamore trees and large toyon and other shrubs that mark the path and have grown profusely along the eastern side of the trail. Most of these were planted when the trail was constructed. The western side of the trail contains a wild profusion of native shrubs, including goldenbush, black sage, lemonadeberry, California buckwheat and California sagebrush, among others. The vernal pools are on the other side of this narrow but dense border.

After walking about half a mile on this well-maintained decomposed granite path, make a left turn as the trail continues for another quarter of a mile to the intersection of Poinsettia Lane and Avenida Encinas where the trail ends. Return to your vehicle the way you came.

Water's End Rail Trail in Carlsbad

This segment of the Coastal Rail Trail features vernal pools

Distance from downtown San Diego: 31 miles (allow about 35 minutes). Follow CA-163N to I-805N, and then to I-5N. Take exit 45 on I-5N at Poinsettia Lane and head west, toward the ocean. Almost immediately, make a right turn on Avenida Encinas and continue for about 0.75 mile to the Poinsettia Coaster Train Station on the left. Enter the station and park in an available space. Start walking south from your parked car toward the trailhead at the southwest corner of the station.

Hiking length: About 1.5 miles round trip. Allow up to 1 hour.

Difficulty: Easy. Bicycles and leashed dogs allowed on the trail. Wheelchair accessible.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

First fright

What possessed him to take a child to see a film with that title?
Next Article

Sushi plus Mexican equals vegan at The Village

Order carefully to get the most out of this dual concept plant based eatery
Water's End Trail is one of the discontinuous segments of Coastal Rail Trail.
Water's End Trail is one of the discontinuous segments of Coastal Rail Trail.

The Coastal Rail Trail is projected to become a continuous path following the Coaster commuter train line from Oceanside to San Diego. As of 2017, only discontinuous segments exist. The Water’s End Trail in Carlsbad is one of these Coastal Rail Trail segments.

The western side of the trail is bordered by goldenbush, black sage, lemonadeberry, California buckwheat and California sagebrush

In addition to being a good place for a short walk, it is of considerable interest as one of the few remaining areas of vernal pools in San Diego County, most of which have been bulldozed for developments. Vernal pools are unique biological habitats typically containing rare and endangered plants and animals. Organisms living here must be able to tolerate extended periods of drought as well as periodic flooding.

Vernal pools in dry season. They only contain standing water for one to two months.

These shallow pools fill with water after heavy rains in the spring, but they only contain standing water for one to two months. In this brief time, San Diego fairy shrimp (Branchinecta sandiegoensis) hatch and flourish, providing food for the San Diego spadefoot toads (Spea harmondii) that have been hibernating in the clay beneath the pond for a minimum of months, and possibly years.

As the pools dry up, they will become barren areas of cracked adobe clay. But, before this occurs, there is a brief period in which short-cycling plants such as San Diego mesa mint (Pogogyne abramsii) and button celery (Eryngium aristulatum) can germinate, flower, and complete their life cycle, utilizing the remaining soil moisture before it, too, is gone as the long drought of the summer and fall progresses. Before beginning your hike from your parked car toward the trailhead, walk over to the train station and look south from the southern-most path to the train platform. From this path, you will have a clear view of the vernal pool area to the south. Once you are on the trail itself, the vernal pools will largely be obscured by the dense growth of native vegetation along the trail.

The trailhead at the southwestern end of the parking area will appear almost as a tunnel through sycamore trees and large toyon and other shrubs that mark the path and have grown profusely along the eastern side of the trail. Most of these were planted when the trail was constructed. The western side of the trail contains a wild profusion of native shrubs, including goldenbush, black sage, lemonadeberry, California buckwheat and California sagebrush, among others. The vernal pools are on the other side of this narrow but dense border.

After walking about half a mile on this well-maintained decomposed granite path, make a left turn as the trail continues for another quarter of a mile to the intersection of Poinsettia Lane and Avenida Encinas where the trail ends. Return to your vehicle the way you came.

Water's End Rail Trail in Carlsbad

This segment of the Coastal Rail Trail features vernal pools

Distance from downtown San Diego: 31 miles (allow about 35 minutes). Follow CA-163N to I-805N, and then to I-5N. Take exit 45 on I-5N at Poinsettia Lane and head west, toward the ocean. Almost immediately, make a right turn on Avenida Encinas and continue for about 0.75 mile to the Poinsettia Coaster Train Station on the left. Enter the station and park in an available space. Start walking south from your parked car toward the trailhead at the southwest corner of the station.

Hiking length: About 1.5 miles round trip. Allow up to 1 hour.

Difficulty: Easy. Bicycles and leashed dogs allowed on the trail. Wheelchair accessible.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

How Otay changed, secret TJ gardens, Mission Valley's future

San Diego State's Paseo project, building a Rancho Santa Fe mansion, downtown high rises never stop
Next Article

San Diego Reader's Best Of issue

Best place for locals, best day drinking park, local seafood, the Athenaeum, before the Casbah re-opens, Pocket Beach, Horsethief Canyon, a bonsai best, San Diego buses
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close