Ocean Beach Bike Path
Ocean Beach Bike Path
Trailhead: The best access to the bike path is from Robb Field Skate Park, where just north of the restroom you will find two wheelchair ramps. The westernmost entry is from the parking lot at Dog Beach, where a steep sidewalk leads up to the trail; there is a wheelchair ramp next to it, but on my visit it was covered with sand and impassable.
Length: Over 4 total miles
Typical Width: 4 ft. & above
Typical Grade: LevelAt the Dog Beach parking lot, the entry onto the trail is up a steep slope; the graded wheelchair ramp entry next to it may be obscured by sand.
Terrain: HardNear Dog Beach, at the trail’s western end, the trail can be very bumpy due to subsidence.
Obstacles: If you enter the trail at its western end, from the Dog Beach parking lot, the wheelchair ramp may be blocked by sand and you will have to negotiate around some bollards and buckled pavement; farther east, near the skate park at Robb Athletic Field, the trail surface improves and access to the trail from the parking lot is good.
DescriptionFrom a concrete pad at the western trailhead you can look out over the broad sandy expanse of Dog Beach to the ocean, and south across the main part of Ocean Beach; in the distance Ocean Beach Pier juts far out into the water. To the north is the river, with a rock jetty protruding into the estuary, and the Mission Beach neighborhood beyond. The first part of the bike path travels across sand and is old and bumpy due to subsidence; farther out, the surface improves, though the side closest to the river is noticeably bumpier. You will encounter many dogs, both on- and off-leash, along this part of the trail, as well as bicyclists, joggers, and strollers.
Within a few hundred feet you leave the beach behind and travel closer to the river channel, which is broad and open. Interpretive signs provide information about the dune, marsh, and intertidal plant and animal communities that are being restored here, and about the history of the San Diego River. You will likely see many birds flying overhead and searching for food in the marsh and mudflats. The south side of the trail is lined with residences lushly landscaped with palms, agave, and bougainvillea. In less than a quarter-mile you come to bollards across the trail; the widest gap between them is 35 inches, but the surface is uneven and passing between or around them may require some negotiation. Shortly after this you pass by Robb Athletic Field on the south side of the trail, where you’ll find accessible restrooms and picnic facilities near the skate park.
Although the city is all around, you feel far away from its noise and bustle. Here the river is a broad expanse of open water. Ahead of you, the Sunset Cliffs Boulevard bridge soars above the river channel on its way to Mission Bay. I turned around at the bridge, but the trail travels beneath it and continues for about four miles. On my return, the setting sun lit the ocean and the entire western sky in brilliant hues of pink and orange.
The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
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- wildlife viewing
Reviewed by Eileen Ecklund, September 21, 2009
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