San Diego River Trail

California

San Diego River Trail Facts

States: California
Counties: San Diego
Length: 6 miles
Trail end points: Volaire Street (at the Ocean Beach Bike Path) and Qualcomm Way at Camino De La Reina
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6512983
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking

With Unlimited:

  • Export to My Trail Guide
  • Create Guidebook
  • Download GPX
  • Download Offline Maps
  • Print Friendly Map
Upgrade Now

Register for Free with TrailLink Today!

View over 30,000 miles of trail maps
Share your trail photos
Save Your Favorite Trails
Find New Trails Near You
Leave reviews for trails
Submit new trails to our site
Register Now

San Diego River Trail Description

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 side of the river via the Sunset Cliffs bridge, or the bridge closer to the Qualcomm Stadium.

The trail is excellent for wildlife viewing; bird watchers from all over the county come to snap pictures, and get good sightings and light for an array of wildlife. Fish are always jumping, eagles and hawks are often flying with live catches in their talons or beaks, and the tides make sure the visit is never the same twice.

For fun or exercise, this path links to well more than 20 miles of paths around the beaches and bay, which keeps you almost completely on a path and off traffic-clogged streets.

Parking and Trail Access

On the east end, park at the ball fields at the end of Hotel Circle Place. On the coast, park Ocean Beach Dog Beach parking area (end of West Point Loma Blvd.) and at Ocean Beach Athletic Area (Bacon St.)

San Diego River Trail Reviews

I walk from OB east to where the trail meets Int 5, and back at least twice (total appx. 5 miles round trip) starting at 4:00 a.m. Takes me about 2 1/2 hours. The trail is pretty much deserted at this early hour, for me at age 66 its a great start to the day. I love this wonderful trail!

Just did the ride yesterday and tracked the length. We left from dog beach in OB to Qualcomm Road and it was 7.1 miles one way. It was longer on the way back but that was because we took a side trip to Starbucks ¿¿. Good ride, but a bit rough in spots.

I clocked this at 5 miles round trip. It's a nice little paved path. For visitors like me, map yourself to the Double Tree Mission Valley. Park where the street dead ends and jump on the trail right there under the bridge and next to the train.

Accordion

Love this trail for biking and have ridden it several times. Both sides of the water are great for cycling and it's definitely more than 6 miles. Not sure where they came up with that!

I'm not sure why someone said this wasn't suitable for bikes. It's perfect for cycling and I've ridden it several times and really enjoyed it, on both sides of the water!

Very beautiful trail and scenery but better for walking/running. East of 163 is uneven concrete sidewalks and they are very bumpy and filled with walkers. There is a two-way path that you pickup east of fashion valley but this is also bumpy, and hard to believe it is supposed to be two way. I flipped to the road on both my out and back and was happier.

The trail system west of Route 163 in Mission Valley is best suited for cycling. Much of it is on or right next to roads and covers longer distances than most people want to walk. There is a nice cycling path on the south side of the river running from the west end of Hotel Circle Place out to Dog Beach next to Ocean Beach. On the north side of the river, a good portion is on Old Sea World Drive right next to the current, wider Sea World Drive. Going east from there, you're on or next to Friars Road until you turn right onto Fashion Valley Road which has no path or bike lane. Turn left as you go under the trolley line where you go on a separate but sometimes bumpy path along under the trolley line past Fashion Valley Shopping Center. You can cross the river on Avenida Del Rio and use the path next to Camino De La Reina to go under Route 163.

On the east of Route 163 the path goes up a ramp to a concrete walkway that is more scenic than the western section of the trail, but is more suited to walkers than cyclists. The concrete tends to be uneven and rough for bikes and crossing Mission Center Road and Camino Del Este legally requires going on the sidewalk half a block to a traffic light, then back to the trail on the other side of the road.

This trail could almost qualify for a rail-with-trail designation. The Mission Valley Line (Green Line) of the San Diego Trolley runs along the San Diego River as does the trail. The trolley crosses the trail several times and the sleek new red trolley trains are beautiful if you like such things (see the photos). There are several trolley stations near the trail and if you want to ride the trolley with a bike, here is the official word from the trolley web site: "On the Trolley, one bike is allowed on board during rush hours and two bikes are allowed on board at other times. Board your bike through the last door of the car. If the maximum number of bikes is already on board, go to another car or wait for the next Trolley. Stand with your bike during the entire trip." Of course you need to purchase a ticket before boarding.

Trail Events

This trail does not have any events yet.
Be the first to add one!

Add an Event

Nearby Trails

Mission Beach-Pacific Beach Boardwalk

California - 3 miles

As its name suggests, the Mission Beach-Pacific Beach Boardwalk conveniently links the two oceanfront communities north of downtown San Diego. The...

Mission Bay Bike Path

California - 11.4 miles

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...

Fay Avenue Bike Path

California - 1.1 miles

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...

Accordion

Linear Park (CA)

California - 1.1 miles

Running through downtown San Diego, Linear Park is a vibrant, palm-lined ribbon that parallels an active trolley line along Harbor Drive. The trail...

Rose Canyon Bicycle Path

California - 1.1 miles

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...

Martin Luther King, Jr. Promenade

California - 0.75 miles

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...

Bayshore Bikeway

California - 17.1 miles

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...

Sweetwater Bikeway

California - 2.2 miles

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...

Sorrento Valley Road Trail

California - 1 miles

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 Bike Path

California - 10.3 miles

The State Route 56 Bike Path provides a traffic-separated connection between inland and coastal San Diego County. The route gradually inclines...

Coastal Rail Trail

California - 3.4 miles

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...

Escondido Creek Bike Path

California - 4.5 miles

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...

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews
OR

Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 30,000 miles of trail maps and more!
OR