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The Mission Bay Bike Path forms an 11-mile, heart-shaped loop around San Diego’s Mission Bay and the incredibly scenic 4,235-acre Mission Bay Park. The paved trail is part of the developing California Coastal Trail—a network of bicycling and hiking trails that, when complete, will stretch along the coastline for 1,230 miles from Oregon to the Mexican border.
Beginning from the bottom of the “heart,” you’ll find ample parking and restrooms at South Shores Park, just east of SeaWorld theme park. Heading east from the park, the paved pathway is a postcard-perfect snapshot of Southern California—broad, easy to navigate, and dotted with palm trees and wildflowers. Within a quick 0.1 mile, you’ll hit your first bayside beach!
Continuing north, the designated path ends briefly at East Mission Bay Drive; turn left and follow the broad sidewalk past Fiesta Island Road, where the pathway begins anew. You’ll have the sparkling bay to your left and East Mission Bay Drive to your right. In 0.8 mile, you’ll reach the sprawling Mission Bay Playground, its adjacent beach, and a broad grassy area perfect for picnics. The pleasant route then passes Tecolote Shores Park, Playa Pacifica Park, and the beaches along Leisure Lagoon in quick succession.
Rounding the eastern lobe of the “heart,” you’ll travel through De Anza Cove Park, which offers plentiful recreational amenities, including volleyball courts, covered picnic tables, and outdoor exercise equipment. The trail ends at this park’s southwest corner, so you’ll need to travel a short distance (0.3 mile) on-road: Turn right (north) onto De Anza Road, and then turn left (west) onto North Mission Bay Drive. The trail resumes its off-road nature at the Mike Gotch Memorial Bridge over the Rose Inlet; note that there is a slight incline as you approach the bridge.
After 0.4 mile, the trail empties out onto Pacific Beach Drive, a quiet residential road. Travel on-road 0.3 mile, then turn left (south) on Crown Point Drive through a neighborhood overlooking a coastal marsh; use caution, as there is no bike lane or bike route signage and only a narrow sidewalk. After 0.4 mile, you’ll reach a fork in the road; veer left on Corona Oriente Road. In another 0.1 mile, you’ll arrive at Crown Point Park and be reunited with the paved pathway.
Following the Mission Bay shoreline, you’ll have outstanding views and access to more beaches (so close that the trail becomes dusted with sand). Tracing the western lobe of the heart-shaped pathway, the route becomes increasingly crowded as you enter a lively destination area with numerous hotels and beautiful beachfront residences. When the path reaches West Mission Bay Drive, it’s a good place to end your adventure, as the route becomes largely on-road from here, with limited trail signage.
If you wish to continue, follow the on-road bike lane southeast along West Mission Bay Drive. In 0.3 mile, you’ll pass Ventura Cove Park and then cross the bridge over the Mission Bay Channel; be aware that the approach to the bridge involves a steep climb. At the end of the bridge, take a right to access Quivira Road at the first traffic light. Follow Quivira Road/Quivira Way southeast 0.7 mile until you see a paved path on your left marked with a small white bike path sign located opposite the parking lot for boat docks C–J. This trail entrance is easy to miss, so look for the large dirt parking lot adjacent to the trail.
The pathway will quickly head under a bridge (Sunset Cliffs Boulevard) and become on-road once more after passing under a second bridge (West Mission Bay Drive), but the road is a frontage road with very little traffic. Continue east 1.2 miles until you reach a traffic light for South Shores Parkway; turn left, crossing Sea World Drive, and follow the parkway back to your starting point at South Shores Park.
Popular with tourists, the path also provides access to several other parks, two wildlife preserves and SeaWorld San Diego. From Sea World Drive, pick up the San Diego River Trail to head east or west along the waterway. Alternatively, pass through Mission Beach to reach the Mission Beach-Pacific Beach Boardwalk, which extends along the Pacific coast.
Parking for the Mission Bay Bike Path is available at several locations throughout Mission Bay Park. Refer to the TrailLink map for exact locations.
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