A Trek Through Trestles


Thousands travel to Trestles each year to surf its world-class waves and experience one of the last untouched sections of southern California coastline. We asked California photographer Chris Ortiz to take a visual tour of this iconic American place.

Trestles occupies a piece of the California coastline between Los Angeles and San Diego. Everyday surfers typically park along Cristianitos Road after exiting Interstate 5 and prepare for a walk to the sand that can take 30 minutes or more.

LA-SD sign at Trestles

Some hop on a bike or skateboard as a way of accelerating a journey that offers reminders of when the U.S. military once occupied this land and signs that urban life is never that far away.Surfers walk under bridge to Trestles

One greeting scrawled into the path appears to be both a compliment and a complaint: “The Surf Is Good But The Crowd Isn’t.”

"The Surf Is Good But The Crowd Isn't."

“The Surf Is Good But The Crowd Isn’t.”

The railroad bridge that gives Trestles its name went up in 2012, replacing a timber structure that had been there since the early part of the 20th century. Surfers pass underneath the bridge to get to the water. The bridge’s concrete pillars spell out TRESTLES as a welcome sign for arriving surfers.The railroad bridge at Trestles

There are days when hundreds of surfers are in the water at Trestles. As they backtrack to their cars they can see a set of train tracks receding into the distance.

Train tracks receding into distance

Some choose to leave their mark on the back of a sign or an underpass serving as a graffiti canvas. Trestles grafitti

Back at the parking lot a man and his cigarette survey the scene.

A man and his cigarette at Trestles