One Step At A Time

Help Restore Beach Access in La Jolla

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In The News

About: Restoring Coastal Access

Where is the Princess Street Trail?

The Princess Street trail is on the south side of La Jolla cove. The trailhead is at the end of Princess Street, just off of Torrey Pines Road. The trail is currently overgrown and inaccessible to the public.  With your help we will restore the trail with a modern staircase.


The trail has been the subject of a 40-yearlong restoration effort by the community and the California Coastal Commission.

Until 1979, the Princess Street Coastal Access Trail provided a point of entry to what is now known as the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park and Matlahuayl State Marine Reserve, as well as a critical emergency access point for City of San Diego lifeguards to an otherwise inaccessible portion of the La Jolla coastline due to rocky cliff topography. The trail site is also part of the designated historic “Spindrift Site” that has yielded discoveries of marine invertebrates, shells, and tools dating from 965-1645 AD.

How will the new trail provide beach access?

Today the trailhead is blocked by private property and the path down to the beach is overgrown and unsafe. We’ve secured the necessary permits and partnerships to properly restore the trail. We are now in the final stage: trail construction.

Phase 1 (Complete): from 2019-20 we cleared and prepared the site in partnership with Urban Corps, completed a topographical survey of the site, and developed of a master plan design of the site with landscape architecture firm Rana Creek.

Phase 2 (Complete): the California Coastal Conservancy awarded the Environmental Center of San Diego a second grant to cover the cost of necessary site studies, development of the final site design, and permitting of the trail site.

Phase 3 (Current Phase): our final phase of the project includes construction and the public opening of the trail, including the installation of bilingual interpretative signage at the trailhead.

What will the new trail look like?

The trail designs are still being finalized, but this draft mockup shows the main features of the trail. The final trail will have around 75 steps and 5 platforms.

Making a trail to safely cover terrain like the cliffs of La Jolla is not easy. We’ve had to fund multiple studies and evaluate various options for design, materials, and more. We are still integrating input from stakeholders like the city and our designers, so this design may be modified. 

We’ll provide updates to our donors about any changes to our trail design. Thank you for your support!

Donate A Platform


By funding a platform, you will have a platform in your name. You will also be recognized as a major donor on our thank you signage on the trail. Donate as yourself, in memory of a loved one, in honor of someone, from a company, or anonymously. 

How we recognize our Major Gift Donors:

  • Dedicated platform in your name
  • Share in ribbon cutting at trail opening ceremony
  • Recognition as major gift donor on trail 
  • All thank yous from lower donation levels
1 Platform Funded. 5 to Go!

Donate A Step


Help us get one step closer to public beach access at Princess Street by funding one of 74 steps to the beach. Groups or individuals who fund a step will be recognized with a step in the name of their choosing, displayed as a plaque on one step. 

How we recognize our Key Supporters:

  • Dedicated step in your name
  • Invitation to opening ceremony
  • Recognition as key supporter on trail thank you signage
  • All recognition from lower donation levels
    3 Steps Funded. 72 to Go!

    Contribute To Construction



    Make a donation of $500 to help us achieve our vision by supporting the critical planning and construction efforts. All visionaries will be recognized for their contribution on our thank you trail signage. You can make a donation in memory of a loved one, in honor of someone, or anonymously.

    • Your name as a Visionary on our trail thank you signage
    • All thank yous from lower donation levels

    General Contribution



    General donations of $250 or more contribute to our planning and construction efforts. All donors will be thanked on our website.

    General Contribution

    Want to make a custom donation? You can choose the amount you would like to donate. Every donation counts!

    Supporting Organizations


    For large donations, alternative payment methods, special dedications, or other questions related to supporting this project, please contact us here. Make sure to leave your phone number so we can reach you.

    You can also call or email us here:

    Pam Heatherington

    (805) 835-1833

    Thank you!

    All designs and descriptions on this page are drafts and may be modified. Final design of trail and signage (including recognition to our donors) may differ from the representations shown here as we make adjustments to meet the technical requirements of the landscape and the legal requirements of the jurisdiction. We will notify all Major Donors and Key Supporters of changes to make sure their name, organization, etc. are presented properly. If you have any questions please contact us via email or phone.