The Most Scenic Bike Routes of San Diego to Help You Train

Can you believe it’s already August? How the summer flies! Well, it’s about that time to start training for Pedal the Cause in November, and we are excited to share our favorite scenic bike paths in San Diego to help you further enjoy your training.


With the sun always shining in “America’s Finest City,”  it’s hard to find an excuse to train indoors, so we want to help you make the most of your biking. Below, find a list of our favorite rides (beginner to expert) with important details about what you can expect from each.


The first on our list is Mission Bay. A favorite recreation spot for locals, this 4,600-acre aquatic park is perfect for beginners. This essentially flat route (no real hills) is composed of a combination of paved bike paths and local streets winding throughout the park, often within yards of the bay. We recommend riding in the morning or evening, as the ocean winds tend to pick up in the afternoon. There are many entrances and exits to the paths, but the easiest place to find parking is north of the Mission Bay Visitor Center. Enjoy the sights around the bay, and ride to your heart’s desire.


The San Diego River is great for beginners to intermediate riders, as it’s a mostly protected bike path. This route begins in Ocean Beach and winds its way east toward Mission Valley. We prefer to start at the beach, and ride east into Mission Valley, then return with a more downhill cruise to a possible sunset, depending on the time of day. This bike path boasts a surprising amount of wildlife, and parking can easily be found on West Point Loma Boulevard in Ocean Beach, or the Old Town Transportation Center (more in the middle).


If you’re craving something a little more mountainous, Sorrento Valley provides some phenomenal mountain biking for beginner and intermediate riders. This inland gang of trails can be easily accessed near North of the Border Bike Shop on Sorrento Valley Boulevard as well as some community parks in the area. The canyon terrain can be a bit rugged, but you can expect a wide fire road, or double-track, with beautiful views, including a waterfall. Swoop into the single-track paths along the trail if you’re feeling more adventurous.


For a steep challenge, head north to Palomar Mountain, which has been featured as part of the AGMEN Tour of California. This climb to the world-famous Palomar Observatory is for fit and experienced riders, as it’s nothing but hill. The 13-mile ascent leads you to a 6,140-foot peak, and provides breathtaking views all the way to the top. Plus, you get a screaming downhill for an exhilarating cool-down.


Our last couple of favorites are, of course, along San Diego’s famous coastline. The Silver Strand Bikeway provides a nice, relatively flat cruise around Coronado Island for beginners and experts alike. Many riders begin near Glorietta Bay and the Coronado ferry landing where parking can be a bit easier to find. The trail leads to Imperial Beach, which has plenty of great spots to grab a mid-ride bite.


Lastly, the Pacific Coast Highway, or PCH, is our number one choice for both training and scenic rides. This intermediate to expert route is easily accessible throughout San Diego’s coastal county from Del Mar up to Carlsbad and Oceanside. The entire route is a combination of streets and bike paths, so be prepared for cars and beach traffic, but the trade-off is a breezy ride chock-full of sunshine and awe-inspiring coastal views. Additionally, the route winds through the Torrey Pines and La Jolla mesas, passing right through UCSD where many of our beneficiaries call home. Stop for a quick break at the Sanford-Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, or the Salk Institute for Biological Studies where your generous fundraising goes to work. FYI: the views from Salk are spectacular.


Hopefully this list helps fill your training regimen with variety and natural flavor. We look forward to seeing you all in November!

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