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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 between an active rail line and Interstate 5, it offers pleasant views of Rose Canyon's coastal sage- and chaparral-covered hills, and a car-free space to exercise and unwind.
A variety of plants and trees line the corridor, ranging from cattails and native grasses to eucalyptus, madrone and coastal live oak trees. The trail passes through a creek watershed near the 1-mile mark, where you are likely to see ducks and other waterfowl.
Trains are common along this rail-with-trail corridor, so you might see Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner passenger train on its 350-mile route serving communities on the Southern California coast between San Diego and San Luis Obispo.
As you near the trail's end, you climb steeply off the grade and up to the trail's intersection with Gilman and La Jolla Colony drives. You can turn around here, continue right (east) onto the bike lane on La Jolla Colony Drive, or bear left (west) and continue on Gilman Drive. Both on-street routes are popular with cyclists and provide connections to longer rides.
The trail's smooth surface is ideal for a variety of activities, including in-line skating and pushing a baby stroller. There are no amenities or restrooms on or near the trail.
To reach the southern endpoint on Santa Fe Street from northbound Interstate 5 in San Diego, take the Balboa/Garnet avenues exit. Head left (west) on Garnet Avenue to Mission Bay Drive and turn right (north). Follow Mission Bay Drive to Damon Avenue and turn right (east) on Damon. Follow Damon Avenue for 0.3 mile to Santa Fe Street and turn left (north). Follow Santa Fe Street north to its end in a cul-de-sac, which has ample parking.
To reach the Santa Fe (southern) endpoint from southbound Interstate 5, take the Balboa/Garnet avenues exit. This puts you on Mission Bay Drive. Turn left (east) onto Damon Avenue, then follow the directions above to reach the trailhead.
To reach the northern endpoint from either northbound or southbound I-5, take the La Jolla colony exit. Go west on Gilman Drive for 0.1 mile to a left-hand turn into the park-and-ride lot, which is on the left (south) side of Gilman Drive. Park here and ride down to the trailhead.
Not scenic at all. Kind of a sad little "trail," if u can even call it that.
I've been using this bike path for almost 3 years, first to commute from downtown to UCSD and now to commute from Mission Bay / Linda Vista to UCSD.
It's usually a very quiet trail. It's pretty short and generally paved well, so serves it's purpose well. In the south, it connects at the end of a long quiet cul-de-sac, which is great; on the north end, you come out at a light which is also good.
Only downsides are:
* A few weird pavement bumps that are not cool if you're going fast and don't know the trail
* Water collects into a large puddle in one area after rain, so be careful of that (good thing in San Diego it rarely rains! :) )
* There are a few spots with low visibility (curves); do go slow, as there are some walkers / runners / homeless.
* About once a month a maintenance / construction crew comes on there... I'm not sure they know how to stay out of the way :)
"Although suited for purposes other than bicycling, the primary function of this trail is to provide a relatively level shortcut for bikers traveling between downtown San Diego and points north. During my short visit I encountered over a dozen bikers and one lone jogger.
The trail is nicely paved from end to end, and wide enough to accommodate two bikers riding side-by-side. Don’t expect scenic views though; for the most part you’ll be looking at motor vehicle traffic on nearby Interstate 5, an active railroad line, and plenty of overhead utility wires. There is very little shade along the route; what does exist can be found closer to Gilman Drive.
Parking is available on Santa Fe Street. However, this area is quite remote so do be cautious about leaving valuables in plain sight. As stated in the posted trail description, there are no services of any kind along the route, or near either trailhead.
Feel free to drop me an e-mail for further information."
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