San Marcos, CA Birding Trails and Maps

133 Reviews

Looking for the best Birding trails around San Marcos?

Find the top rated birding trails in San Marcos, whether you're looking for an easy short birding trail or a long birding trail, you'll find what you're looking for. Click on a birding trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.

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Activities
Length
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Type
26 Results
Activities
Length
Surfaces
Type

Aliso Creek Riding and Hiking Trail

18.4 mi
State: CA
Asphalt, Sand

Bayshore Bikeway

17.1 mi
State: CA
Asphalt, Concrete

Coastal Rail Trail

4.7 mi
State: CA
Asphalt, Concrete

Dana Point Headlands Trail

3 mi
State: CA
Asphalt, Concrete, Dirt

Escondido Creek Bike Path

4.5 mi
State: CA
Asphalt

Fay Avenue Bike Path

1.1 mi
State: CA
Asphalt, Dirt

Inland Rail Trail

6.5 mi
State: CA
Asphalt

Linear Park (CA)

1.1 mi
State: CA
Asphalt

Martin Luther King, Jr. Promenade

0.75 mi
State: CA
Concrete

Mission Bay Bike Path

11.4 mi
State: CA
Concrete

Oso Creek Trail

4.1 mi
State: CA
Asphalt

Rose Canyon Bicycle Path

1.1 mi
State: CA
Asphalt

Salt Creek Trail (CA)

5 mi
State: CA
Asphalt, Concrete, Crushed Stone

San Clemente Beach Trail

2.3 mi
State: CA
Sand

San Diego Creek Trail

9.3 mi
State: CA
Asphalt

San Diego River Trail

6 mi
State: CA
Asphalt

San Juan Creek Trail

6 mi
State: CA
Asphalt, Concrete

San Luis Rey River Trail

9 mi
State: CA
Asphalt
Accordion

Santa Gertrudis Creek Trail

3 mi
State: CA
Asphalt

Shady Canyon Trail

4 mi
State: CA
Asphalt, Concrete

Sorrento Valley Road Trail

1 mi
State: CA
Asphalt

State Route 56 Bike Path

10.3 mi
State: CA
Asphalt

Sweetwater Bikeway

2.2 mi
State: CA
Asphalt, Concrete

Turtle Rock Trail

2.8 mi
State: CA
Concrete
Trail Image Trail Name States Length Surface Rating
The Aliso Creek Riding and Hiking Trail passes through the heart of Mission Viejo from South Laguna to Rancho Santa Margarita along an 18.5-mile corridor. The trail features many parks in Orange...
CA 18.4 mi Asphalt, Sand
Coastal rail-trail experiences don't get much better than this—a long, smooth, palm-tree-lined trail with stunning views of the Pacific, San Diego Bay and the downtown skyline, plus easy access to...
CA 17.1 mi Asphalt, Concrete
The Coastal Rail Trail will one day run 44 miles from Oceanside to San Diego along the Coaster commuter rail. Today, short sections of the trail are coming together, with four disconnected stretches...
CA 4.7 mi Asphalt, Concrete
Want an enjoyable loop hike through a new preserve and three parks with stunning ocean views throughout? Check out the trail system in the Dana Point Headlands, a scenic coastal area in Orange...
CA 3 mi Asphalt, Concrete, Dirt
Note: Escondido Creek Bike Path has closed from Hickory to East of Date due to the installation of new recycled water pipes. Please contact Mark Lewis, city of Escondido Field Engineering Inspector...
CA 4.5 mi Asphalt
Make sure you bring your camera for this trail. The Fay Avenue Bike Path runs through the upscale seaside resort community of La Jolla, and opens up to the sweeping vistas of the Pacific Ocean,...
CA 1.1 mi Asphalt, Dirt
The Inland Rail Trail runs alongside the Sprinter light rail service connecting Escondido to Oceanside. The 6.5-mile section in Escondido and San Marcos is the first segment complete, with a 7-mile...
CA 6.5 mi Asphalt
Running through downtown San Diego, Linear Park is a vibrant, palm-lined ribbon that parallels an active trolley line along Harbor Drive. The trail provides direct access to many of the city's...
CA 1.1 mi Asphalt
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Promenade connects a number of sites along San Diego's waterfront. The walkway runs on the northern side of an active railroad corridor parallel to the Linear Park, which...
CA 0.75 mi Concrete
The Mission Bay Bike Path is a paved trail that loops almost completely around San Diego's Mission Bay. The trail runs through Mission Bay Park, which includes and encircles the large man-made body of...
CA 11.4 mi Concrete
As its name suggests, the Mission Beach-Pacific Beach Boardwalk conveniently links the two oceanfront communities north of downtown San Diego. The paved path, also known appropriately as Oceanfront...
CA 3 mi Concrete
The Oso Creek Trail offers just over four miles of paved pathway connecting Jeronimo Open Space Park and Oso Viejo Community Park in the suburban southern California city of Mission Viejo. Much of...
CA 4.1 mi Asphalt
The Robert McCollum Memorial Bicycle Trail, also known as the Trabuco Creek Trail (East Bank), is a short paved path along Trabuco Creek in San Juan Capistrano. The trail begins at a junction with the...
CA 1 mi Asphalt
The short and sweet Rose Canyon Bicycle Path is a popular route because of its scenery and the important off-street connection it provides between the Mission Bay and UC San Diego areas. Tucked...
CA 1.1 mi Asphalt
The Salt Creek Trail, with more arms than an octopus, offers a variety of experiences for trail users of all types in Dana Point and Laguna Niguel. Featuring two sections, several branches and a mix...
CA 5 mi Asphalt, Concrete, Crushed Stone
Hugging one of the most picturesque shorelines in Southern California, the San Clemente Beach Trail is one of the premier rail-trails in the area. The trail itself is technically a rail-with-trail, as...
CA 2.3 mi Sand
The San Diego Creek Trail is the spine of the City of Irvine's extensive system of trails and bike lanes. It begins in Newport Beach, joining the Upper Bay Trail near where San Diego Creek empties...
CA 9.3 mi Asphalt
The San Diego River Trail is a network of paths that lead along the San Diego River channel and mud flats and provide access to Mission/Fashion Valley shopping areas. You can walk or ride on either...
CA 6 mi Asphalt
The San Juan Creek Trail starts where the creek meets the Pacific Ocean at Doheny State Beach in scenic Dana Point. From there, it runs on the levee along the western bank of San Juan Creek to its...
CA 6 mi Asphalt, Concrete
The San Luis Rey River Trail runs for 9 miles along the course of the San Luis Rey River in Oceanside. The trail, which is smooth and mostly flat, is a local favorite among cyclists, walkers and...
CA 9 mi Asphalt
Accordion
The Santa Gertrudis Creek Trail is a 3-mile paved trail that serves as both a recreational amenity and an active transportation alternative for locals looking to get to nearby locations without...
CA 3 mi Asphalt
The Shady Canyon Trail is an incredibly scenic route along Shady Canyon Drive in southern Irvine. Extending through the southern reaches of the historic Irvine Ranch and protected Irvine Ranch Natural...
CA 4 mi Asphalt, Concrete
The Sorrento Valley Road Trail is a paved, two-lane section of road that was closed to traffic in the 1990s when CDOT built an interchange between State Route 56 and Interstate 5. In 1998 the road was...
CA 1 mi Asphalt
The State Route 56 Bike Path provides a traffic-separated connection between inland and coastal San Diego County. The route gradually inclines traveling inland and parallels State Route 56 closely for...
CA 10.3 mi Asphalt
The Sweetwater Bikeway runs along the Sweetwater River from a parklike setting opposite the Plaza Bonita Shopping Center on the trail's east side to the yacht harbor at the mouth of the river. The...
CA 2.2 mi Asphalt, Concrete
The Turtle Rock Trail meanders its way through the neighborhood of the same name in southern Irvine. The path is a short—but serious—aerobic workout, as it features climbs to the trail's high point at...
CA 2.8 mi Concrete

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Trails by activity

Recent Trail Reviews

San Diego Creek Trail

it was beautiful ride

September, 2019 by amandachavez3d

Water and nice views

State Route 56 Bike Path

SR 56

April, 2019 by jasonhacker3

Next to road but safely protected.

Sweetwater Bikeway

I felt unsafe

March, 2019 by alanagilmore

Many homeless people living along the path. High brush and garbage, tunnel made me nervous. Then, it continued down the side of a road. Not interested in walking with cars.

Accordion

Bayshore Bikeway

Bayshore Bikeway

March, 2019 by thejake91739

We rode the Bayshore Bikeway on a glorious July weekday and have very fond memories of it.
We started at the southeast end near the salt flats and pedaled north to the Coronado Ferry Landing. After snacks and some shopping, we then headed back down the same way. You have to do some on road riding, but it's no big deal through a fairly quiet neighborhood overlooking the Coronado Municipal Golf Course. The wind creates some resistance, but look on the bright side: at least you won't sweat as much!
It was a fun experience with lots to see and plenty of Kodak moments. We took it slow and made a day of it. It was a superb ride for a couple of vacationers!

Mission Beach-Pacific Beach Boardwalk

Mission Beach-Pacific Beach Boardwalk

March, 2019 by thejake91739

Standing on its own, this is an enjoyable walk or ride to experience San Diego beach culture. However, you really should consider combining it with the Mission Bay Bike Path to make it great (see my March 2019 review of the Mission Beach Bike Path for my customized directions)!
Be sure to go all the way up to the bluff just beyond the north end of the path to Palisades Park for spectacular views.
A part of this trail can be congested with pedestrians at times, but the cool breezes, sunny sky, and beautiful sights make it worth your time! Take it slow, live for the moment, and say to yourself, "Life is good!"

Mission Bay Bike Path

Mission Bay Bike Path

March, 2019 by thejake91739

This is one of our favorite rides. Every time we travel south to San Diego, we make a point of riding this trail. We've only ridden it on summer weekdays, so bike and pedestrian traffic wasn't an issue (unless you decide to combine this with the Mission Beach-Pacific Beach Boardwalk which we always do). This path is outstanding for its wide concrete trail, amazing views, cool ocean breeze, flatness (except for a couple of bridges), and for being a loop!
We don't follow the Rails-To-Trails Mission Bay Bike Path map to the letter. We think our customized route is better, so consider trying our directions. Unless we're staying in a Mission Beach rental home, we like to park at the north end of Mission Bay at De Anza Cove Park, then hop on the trail there and proceed in a clockwise manner. As we approach South Shores Parkway, near Sea World, we continue across it and stay on the path which hugs and encircles the Sea World parking lot. Eventually you'll head north on Ingraham Street to the first bridge which goes over the bay to Vacation Isle. Just stay on the bridge's sidewalk so you don't have to worry about a couple of tons of metal running you down. You'll have to go over one more short bridge over Fisherman's Channel, then you hop back on the Mission Bay trail heading west. This is my favorite part since you're totally away from roads and there is very little bike or pedestrian traffic. Plus it's the prettiest part of the loop! Million dollar homes and million dollar views of Mission Bay! Stay on this path and you'll eventually curve south along the bay.
When you get to West Mission Bay Drive, continue across it through Bonita Cove Park on a bike/pedestrian trail that will lead you past more beautiful bay front homes down to Mission Point Park. This is a great spot to find a bench, take in the incredible views, have a snacky, and perhaps use the restroom.
After you've had your fill of gorgeous scenery, head west on San Diego Place and then North Jetty Road. You'll soon discover the trailhead for the Ocean Front Walk, or Mission Beach-Pacific Beach Boardwalk. It's quiet and lovely down at that end as you ride between multi-million dollar homes and the sand. Eventually it will become somewhat congested with pedestrians as you encounter the restaurants, businesses, and tourist attractions, but that's OK. Just take it slow and enjoy the culture of Mission Beach!
Once you get past the pier it will open up a bit. Toward the end of the boardwalk, go up a short incline to a bluff and Palisades Park. What a great photo op as you look back down the coast toward the jetty where you started northward.
After your moment of zen, head back down the boardwalk, and when you reach San Rafael Place cut through all of the homes between the ocean and bay to get back on the Mission Bay Bike Path.
Now you can continue your loop, eventually passing Crown Point Park and a wildlife preserve on your way back to De Anza Cove Park.
This has to be one of the all-time great southern California beach rides. It's meant to be taken slowly, so relax and savor it. Don't forget your sunscreen!

San Juan Creek Trail

A Morning Well Spent

March, 2019 by thejake91739

I suspect this trail is especially popular with the surrounding community. I know if I lived there I'd be cruising down to the beach every day on it! For a couple of out of towners, it was well worth the time we put into exploring it.
After spending the night in Dana Point's bluff hugging Blue Lantern Inn, we parked the car and unloaded the bikes in Dana Point Marina's Baby Beach parking lot so we could enjoy pedaling around the quiet marina streets as well as the San Juan Creek Trail.
After cruising over to Doheny State Beach to the trailhead, we began our trek along the bank of the creek. For the most part it's a nice, fairly quiet ride. On the way up, we took a detour and explored the Trabuco Creek Trail as well as Old Historic San Juan Capistrano.
The San Juan Creek Trail eventually concluded in a somewhat rural area of ranches and equestrian centers. After cruising back down to the trailhead, I must say it's pretty cool to relax on the beach in the cool, salty air and to bask in the sun.

Aliso Creek Riding and Hiking Trail

Nice ride

March, 2019 by thejake91739

Nice bikeway, especially once you get out of the city and neighborhoods. A bit steep toward the end, but at least it's downhill most of the way back!

San Luis Rey River Trail

It's OK

March, 2019 by thejake91739

An OK ride. Not especially exciting, but it is easy and flat. The best part is extending the ride to The Strand in order to ride alongside the beach. Consider heading to the pier and Ruby's Diner.

Coastal Rail Trail

Will be great someday

October, 2018 by wintersintucson

We've ridden the two segments in Oceanside. The segments are nice and plenty wide enough. Any trail that gets you away from traffic is a much more enjoyable experience than the narrow city streets here. The main issue is the segments are so short and disjointed. Once the entire section through Oceanside is completed, it will be a great boon to residents and tourism. Once the trail from Oceanside to San Diego is completed it will be a biker's mecca. Given how dense the coastal cities are here I can't see this ever happening in my lifetime unless the railroad is willing to create an easement along the tracks.

San Diego Creek Trail

nice rest areas

October, 2018 by apvalerius

This trail has some rest areas near the eastern terminus. The best-looking one IMO is west of the East Yale Loop exit.

Despite Wikipedia: The San Diego Creek bicycle path connects major points such as Newport Beach, University of California, Irvine, Boomers, Colonel Bill Barber Park, Irvine Civic Center, The Crossroads Shopping Center, Woodbridge High School, Woodbridge Community Park, Atria Senior Residential Area, Windrow Community Park, Irvine Medical Complex, and ultimately, Irvine Spectrum Center.

The trail actually ends at the 133 toll road. East of the Alton Parkway exit there's just a lonely mile with no exits and a guardrail at the end. At least the Alton Parkway exit is only 1 mile west of the Irvine Spectrum Center, so you're not on Alton Parkway EastBound for too long.

Bayshore Bikeway

One of my favs

September, 2018 by jamie.r.herrera

Most of the route goes through scenic areas, both marshy and through Coronado. Sure, there’s some industrial parts and can be hefty headwinds but it’s an overall nice ride.

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