Located just outside the town of Fallbrook, the Santa Margarita River Trail offers easily accessible tranquility in northern San Diego County. This trail system is popular among hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians. Some branches of the trail are designed with equestrians in mind, and those branches cross the river in places — not idea for hiking or biking, but fun if your perched on a horse’s back.
The trail winds through 226-acre Santa Margarita County Preserve, which is part of the County of San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program. To the north the trails connects with the Fallbrook Public Utility Districts trails and to the west the preserve is neighbored by Camp Pendleton.
The trail begins at Sandia Creek Road, off De Luz road in Fallbrook (trailhead coordinates: 33.413496,-117.241724.) From there, the main trails follow the river west river for a couple of miles, and you can choose whether the cross the stream or stay along the south bank. Either way, you’ll eventually arrive at the trail’s end and need to loop back to get to the parking lot.
Info on mountain biking the trail: Mountain Biking the Trail