San Diego Bay Bike Route
San Diego, California
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The San Diego Bay Bike Route is a delightful 25-mile, 2.5-hour ride with no significant hills. Most of it runs along bike lanes or separated bike paths. The scenery is rich and varied.
A nine-mile stretch along south and west sides of San Diego Bay follows the former Coronado Branch of the San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railroad. The rails are still visible in some places.
The official name of this route is the Bayshore Bikeway. This name appears on newer signs in some places along the route. The name "Bay Route Bikeway" appears on some older signs, although this name has been disparaged because it is homophonic with "Beirut bikeway".
SANDAG (San Diego Association of Governments) has prepared a fact sheet on the Bayshore Bikeway. It contains a history of the bikeway and two maps.
0.00 - Start at the intersection of Broadway and Harbor Drive in Downtown San Diego, right at the foot of Broadway Pier.
Ride south along a bike path on the west side of Harbor Drive.
0.41 - Where Harbor Drive crosses Pacific Highway, the separated bike path ends. Continue on Harbor Drive, past the San Diego Convention Center, under the Coronado Bridge, past the 32nd Street Naval Station and past a sign welcoming you to National City.
5.08- Just before the interchange with Interstate 5, turn sharp right onto Civic Centre Drive.
5.24 - Civic Centre Drive turns left and becomes Tidelands Avenue.
6.43 - Just before entering Pepper Park, turn left onto W. 32nd St. (Pepper Park is a good place to stop for a rest.)
6.63 - Where W. 32nd St. turns left and becomes Marina Way, enter a bike path and follow it across a railroad spur line at grade level.
6.98 - Soon after crossing the railroad spur, turn left through a break in the retaining wall into the approach to the Gordy Shields Bridge over the Sweetwater River. This turn is poorly marked. Don't miss it! If you pass under Interstate Highway 5, you've gone too far. Cross the bridge and continue south on a bike path next to Interstate 5.
7.91 - At the end of the path, continue roughly straight ahead on Bay Blvd. NOTE: To the right is a road leading to the Chula Vista Nature Center. Bicycles are not allowed on that road. If you want to visit the Center, park your bike and take a short bus ride.
8.19 - Turn right onto Lagoon Dr. (For a shorter but less scenic route, you can continue straight ahead and rejoin the Bayshore Bikeway at 9.97.)
8.51 - The road turns left and becomes Marina Parkway.
8.79 - Turn right onto G Street.
8.86 - Turn left onto Sandpiper Way.
9.31 - Turn right onto a different segment of Marina Parkway.
9.97 - Turn right onto Bay Blvd. (On the southwest corner of Bay Boulevard and Marina Parkway there is a small park where you may want to stop for a brief rest. The facilities include a rest room and drinking fountain.)
11.73 - Turn right onto Frontage Road.
Somewhere along Frontage Road, you will re-enter the City of San Diego, although there is no sign at the city limits.
12.00 - At the intersection of Main Street, enter a separated bike path at the southwest corner. Follow it through an undeveloped (formerly agricultural) area until it joins Saturn Boulevard. Then follow Saturn Boulevard south.
12.59 - Leave the bike path and continue straight ahead on Saturn Blvd.
12.85 - Turn right onto Palm Avenue. You may wish to stop at this intersection for another brief rest. There is a gas station and convenience store on the northwest corner.
13.61 - After passing a lagoon on your right, turn right onto 13th Street.
13.86 - Enter the separated bike path at the end of 13th Street. Click here for a photograph of the path (25K).
Follow the bike path along the south and west sides of San Diego Bay. Just past the end of 7th Street, you will enter the City of Coronado, although there is no sign at the city limits.
17.54 - Cross Coronado Cays Blvd. and continue north on a separated bike path.
You may want to stop again at Silver Strand State Park. There is a fence between the bike path and the park, but at one point (about 0.8 mile north of Coronado Cays Blvd.) there is a short, paved path leading through a gap in the fence and down to a rest room. You may also want to ride around the park for a while. There are several tunnels under Silver Strand Boulevard that will take you over to the ocean side of the park.
Continue north on a separated bike path, passing the Naval Amphibious Base.
21.57 - Just north of the Naval Amphibious Base is a small city park (Glorietta Bay Park), with rest rooms and drinking water.
22.11 - Almost across the street from the famous Hotel del Coronado, the bike path veers to the right to follow Pomona Avenue and Glorietta Boulevard eastward.
22.34 - The separated bike path ends near some tennis courts. Keep right and follow Glorietta Boulevard, which runs along the north side of the Coronado Golf Course.
23.45 - At the intersection with Fifth Street, turn right onto a separated bike path and follow it under the Coronado Bridge. Click here for a photograph taken from the path.(37K).
On the other side of the bridge, the path splits. Keep right. (The left branch is a drainage channel.) Enter Tidelands Park.
Follow the paved bike path through Tidelands Park. Stay close to the bay. As you emerge from Tidelands Park, you get your first really good view of the Downtown San Diego skyline. Click here for a photograph (30K).
Continue past the Marriott Hotel (formerly the Le Meridien) all the way to the Old Ferry Landing, which is a small, tourist-oriented shopping center.
24.92 - The Bayshore Bikeway ends next to a pier. Buy your one-way ferry ticket at an adjacent gift shop. Tell the clerk you have a bicycle. The fare is $2.75.
The ferry departs for Broadway Pier in Downtown San Diego every hour on the half hour. A ten-minute ferry ride will take you back to the starting point.
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Click on cameras for pictures taken from the path.
Last revised June 29, 2005