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Trail Talk: Ridgeline
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An interview with the trail captain

Ridgeline Trail



What's unique about this trail?

The Rancho La Costa Preserve is owned by the Center for Natural Lands Management. Maintenance of the area reflects a successful partnership between the center and the City of Carlsbad: the center protects and maintains the preserve, while the city -- with the help of volunteers like Don -- maintains its trail system. 

The Ridgeline Trail lies in the heart of this preserve, which provides refuge to over 40 species of endangered or threatened plants and animals. Examples include the coastal California gnatcatcher, mule deer, bobcat and horned lizard, along with a host of native California plants, such as the Del Mar manzanita, San Diego thorn mint and black sage. 

The abundance of wildlife is a magnet for scientific study and research, conducted primarily by the Center for Lands Management.

Rugged terrain

What do you especially like about this trail? 

This is a very rugged, natural trail. Visit this trail if you really enjoy nature and experiencing habitats indigenous to Carlsbad.


Who uses this trail?

You'll see a lot of hikers, along with joggers (despite the rugged terrain), some dog walkers, too.

For the safety of trail goers and wildlife inhabitants alike, the City of Carlsbad Police Department and the center's rangers regularly patrol the area.

Trail maintenance

Habitat conservation and preservation

As a trail captain, how do you help maintain this trail?

I walk the trail two or three times a week and alert the city or the center whenever problems arise or when something needs fixing. I also distribute educational brochures and flyers to trail goers.

How can everyone help maintain this trail?

Please help us protect the endangered species that live here. Stay on the trail; do not venture into the open space preserve. Tote your trash to the bins located at the trail head, and please pick up after your dog. Remember also to keep your dog leashed at all times: this serves to protect both your dog and the wildlife that inhabit this preserve.

Contact Information

Trail captain: Donald Stapp
Don has lived in Carlsbad for over 36 years.

Parks & Recreation
Liz Ketabian, Park Planner

799 Pine Ave., Suite 200
Carlsbad, CA 92008

Report maintenance issues