This popular 2.5-mile paved multi-use trail follows an old Pacific Coast Railroad right–of–way from a trailhead on Ontario Road to the small resort town of Avila Beach. The bikeway runs alongside San Luis Obispo Creek and is named for local environmentalist Bob Jones, who was instrumental in protecting and restoring the creek. Busy with cyclists, rollerbladers, and joggers, especially on weekends, the trail offers an easy recreational workout. When combined with a stop at Avila Beach for a swim, picnic, and visit to the Sea Life Center, one can make a full day of this hike. An additional quarter-mile of trail extending the route to First Street is expected to be completed in 2010, and future plans call for an additional 4.4 miles, extending to San Luis Obispo.
Bob Jones City-to-the-Sea Bikeway
Trailhead: There are two access points. At the Ontario Road you must travel 100 feet along the shoulder of Ontario Road, then cross the road. There is no traffic signal; however, there is a crosswalk and flashing beacon. The other trailhead is at Avila Park, starting from Avila Beach Drive and San Miguel Street; in 2010, the trailhead will shift to the corner of First Street and Avila Beach Drive.
From the Ontario Road trailhead, the route travels slightly downhill alongside San Luis Obispo Creek through an area shaded by willows and bay trees. About midway, the view opens up to grassy areas and homes beyond. A trailside café with outdoor seating at the Avila Bay Athletic Club is open to the public. Shortly after passing the club, the trail becomes a two-lane road. Motor vehicle traffic is rare on this road and with a 25 mile-per-hour speed limit it feels very safe to travel in the road. The trail resumes at a pedestrian entrance at the Avila Beach Golf Resort on the left. Crossing San Luis Obispo Creek via an accessible bridge, you can watch pelicans, various other shorebirds, and ducks through the wire railings. The trail ends at the intersection of Avila Beach Drive and San Miguel Street. You can continue on either street to Avila Beach. When the quarter-mile extension is completed in 2010, the trail will end at First Street and there will be a traffic signal at this intersection. The beach is one block south along San Juan Street.
The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
The lot at the Ontario Road trailhead has accessible parking; the Avila Beach Drive entrance has street parking only. On weekends you can park in the accessible spaces at the foot of San Juan Street (adjacent to Avila Park) in Avila Beach and take the free, accessible trolley to the Ontario Road lot. The trolley runs on weekends year-round, 8 am-5 pm. It departs from Avila Ocean Park at the foot of San Juan Street every half-hour.
Several impressive sycamores can be observed along the trail. These smooth-barked trees with green, tan, and cream mottling can live up to 500 years and have existed for the last 100 million years, longer than most other forest giants.
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