Mission Bay Bike Path


16 Reviews

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Mission Bay Bike Path Facts

States: California
Counties: San Diego
Length: 11.4 miles
Trail end points: Mission Bay Park and Mission Bay Park
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Concrete
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6535895

Mission Bay Bike Path Description

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 and Trail Access

Parking for the Mission Bay Bike Path is available at several locations throughout Mission Bay Park. Refer to the TrailLink map for exact locations.

Mission Bay Bike Path Reviews

Wonderful fun path

We have been staying at Mission Bay RV Park (great place) and the bike path is out the front of the RV park. We have ridden it 5 times in the last few days-both directions and then wandering off the path into different areas and the beach boardwalk. Really nice during the weekdays and more crowded on the weekends. The speed limit is 8 mph !! And most riders honor that. Honestly, that's fast enough there is so much fun stuff to look at and the people watching is wonderful. Beautiful houses/water/boats/kiteboarders and on and on.

San Diego Local peeps

My wife and I ride the Mission Bay bike trail all the time. Great scenery, but sometimes a little crowded.

Relaxing bike ride by the bay

Smooth sidewalk. Not too many people out on this winter weekday.

Went here today and honestly it wasn't bad. Large cracks in the path were a bit of a pain but it's not a major issue.. I fell 3 times but I was going backwards and not paying attention so thats all on me.

Went here today and honestly it wasn't bad. Large cracks in the path were a bit of a pain but it's not a major issue.. I fell 3 times but I was going backwards and not paying attention so thats all on me.


mission path

Fantastic ride with the family. Some streets but mostly a beautiful ride around the bay. Jim, Caryn, Dylan

Best way to enjoy

We went midday during the week and there was very little congestion or foot traffic to avoid. Recommend starting at northeast side, and going as far as the southwest side then return. The full round trip takes you over two bridges which provide beautiful views but traffic is heavy along the western side of the bay. Also recommend doing the fiesta island loop as part of the ride. The views of the bay, the sun, the gentle breeze on the water, what San Diego is all about.

great for kids!!

Wow such a beautiful ride in the evening. Got here at 2 and finished by 7. We stopped at several parks, had lunch at in n out and finished off the night to a sunset on the beach and even got to see a little live jazz ¿¿

WAY too congested

Hey all! First of all, I was really excited for this path but I'm not sure if the weekend ruined it for me, or if its common, but I tried it out on a Saturday and it was WAY too busy for our times. I don't recommend it if you are trying to social distance and stay safe, no one was wearing a mask (which I don't blame them but..) It was super congested and I found my self watching out for people, instead of enjoying the scenery. We were going really slow, honestly, sharing the tight road with walkers, runners, roller skaters, and other bikers was not ideal.

I would not recommend this route to anyone who wants to truly enjoy Mission Bay and be safe by maintaining PROPER social distancing.
Cyclist who want to go faster than 5 mph, DON'T even bother.

Mission Bay Bike Path

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!

ocean trail

We rode this trail and somehow connected it with several others and ended at "dog beach" in Oceanside. We rode 20 miles total. Good ride crazy crowds ( we did ride on a Sunday after a rainy Saturday). Signage could have been better especially at critical turns. I think on a weekday it would have been fantastic.

riding by the ocean

We circumnavigated the bay. The attached map was very useful. The map the city provides was also nice. We had to use both maps to get around especially the east side by the shipping yards. There is mostly bike lanes the entire route, the problem is some streets are not listed. The other issue is when some trails end they don't have signage to get you to the next one. We also did the ferry that cost $4.95 bikes welcomed. Please do this ride it is fantastic with a boat ride in the harbor to boot!! And an ocean ¿¿¿¿¿¿

Note for Biking with Kids

The majority of this ride is beautiful, fun and safe to do with kids. But, with young kids / new riders you may want to stick to the west side of the trail. The north side (near Campland / Golf Course) requires biking in the street with traffic. Similarly, the stretch along Sea World Dr. and across W. Mission Bay Bridge is heavily trafficked/ not kid friendly.

Muni code clarification

The municipal code mentioned to in the previous review refers to pedicabs, not regular tricycles. We ride a tandem tricycle rig while pulling our disabled son in a special needs trailer (see photo section). The rig is heavy and slow and we like this trail because it has less climbing than most other places in San Diego.

Muni code says no trikes

Not sure if it's enforced but the local municipal code prohibits three wheeled bikes.

great for tourist

Not a good trail to ride for a work out. Great to sight see.

Good Trail But...

This trail is a great trail to take during the week, but on the weekends it may become a bit overcrowded and forces the biker to weave in and out of pedestrians. However, it is a fun trail with not too many hills and is a great way to work-out soloing or taking a relaxing ride with the family. People are very friendly. Great for kids.

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