Mission Bay to Cabrillo National Monument

San Diego, California

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A fairly easy 10-mile bike ride from Mission Bay to Cabrillo National Monument. The hills are gentle and the views are terrific.

  1. Start at the Mission Bay Visitor Information Center, near the Clairemont Drive exit from Interstate 5 (Thomas Guide page 1248 D7). Parking next to the Center is limited to one hour. Since this ride usually takes longer than that, you should park in one of the lots just north or south of the Center.
  2. Proceed south from the Center along the bicycle and pedestrian path next to the bay. The speed limit on this path is only 8 miles per hour. If you want to go faster than that, take East Mission Bay Drive, a faster but less scenic route.
  3. Turn right onto Sea World Drive. Traffic on this road is usually quite heavy, but there are adequate bike lanes.
  4. Turn left onto Friars Road and follow a bike path along the west (right) side of the road.
  5. Turn right and follow a bike path along the north bank of the San Diego River. The part of this path east of Sports Arena Blvd. is not exclusively a bike path. Cars are allowed on it, but there is practically no automobile traffic because there is only one place for cars to enter or leave.
  6. The bike path passes under the Sports Arena Blvd. and Sunset Cliffs Drive and emerges on Quivira Road.
  7. Turn right on Quivira Road, go a short distance and turn right again into another bike path.
  8. Cross the San Diego River on a separate bike lane on the west side of the Sunset Cliffs Blvd. bridge. This is one of the best shared bridge crossings for bicyclists in San Diego County. There is a separate sidewalk for pedestrians, and the two-way bike lane is separated from the traffic lanes by a barrier that would stop a tank.
  9. On the other side of the river, continue straight ahead on Sunset Cliffs Blvd.
  10. Turn left onto Nimitz Blvd. Be very alert, since the traffic here is usually quite heavy and the cars may be going quite fast.
  11. Turn right at the exit ramp to Catalina Blvd.
  12. Follow Catalina Blvd. all the way to Cabrillo National Monument. Between Talbot St. and Garden Lane, there is a frontage road on the west side of Catalina Blvd. that is more hospitable to bicyclists than the adjacent part of Catalina Blvd., which has no bike lanes. Beyond Garden Lane, there is a bike path on the west side of Catalina Blvd. that looks like a wide sidewalk.
  13. If you want to enter Cabrillo National Monument, you must pay a $2.00 user fee.

You may return to Mission Bay by the same route. As you approach the bridge across the San Diego River, look for a bike path to the right. Follow it under the bridge to the other side, and use the two-way bike lane to cross the bridge. (There is also a sidewalk on the east side of the bridge, but it is very narrow, and you will probably have to dismount and walk your bike.)

Side Trips

Ocean Beach:
Turn left on Voltaire Street and follow it all the way to the beach. Then take the bicycle and pedestrian path along the south bank of the San Diego River to the Sunset Cliffs Blvd. bridge.
Fiesta Island:
The road around Fiesta Island adds about 4.5 miles to your trip.
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Last revised December 8, 1997.