increase font use small font sizeuse medium font sizeuse large font size

Ocean Beach Bike Path

The Ocean Beach Bike Path is a five-mile section of the San Diego River Trail that follows the river channel from Dog Beach, at the river’s mouth, past Mission Bay and on to Hotel Circle Place in Mission Valley. Eventually the San Diego River Conservancy hopes to extend the trail along the river’s entire 52-mile length; 13 miles have been completed so far, with this being the longest continuous section. The section of trail near Dog Beach is typically very busy, but farther out it is less frequented and best traveled with companions, as you may encounter homeless encampments. 

Trail/Pathway Details

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: Level

At 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: Hard

Near 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.


From 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.

Accessibility Details

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.

Accessible Parking: Yes

Lots at Robb Field Skate Park (end of Bacon Street) and at Dog Beach, foot of Voltaire Street

Accessible Restroom: Limited Accessibility

At Robb Field Skate Park; no 5' x 5' turnaround space

Accessible Picnic Tables: Yes

At Robb Field Skate Park, end of Bacon Street
Dog Beach
Dog Beach (Eileen Ecklund)

Features icon key

  • bicycling
  • hiking
  • wildlife viewing

Additional Information

View Map  
Managing Agency: San Diego River Conservancy
Phone: (619) 645-3183
Hours: Always open
Fees: None
Dogs: On leash
Allowed off leash on Dog Beach but must be leashed on trail
Public Transportation: San Diego Metro Transit System 
Reviewed by Eileen Ecklund, September 21, 2009
Access Norhtern California This web guide is a project of Access Northern California.  
California Coastal Conservancy Thanks to our partner the California Coastal Conservancy

DISCLAIMER: Although the information contained in this web-guide was believed to be correct at the time of publication, neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy shall be held responsible or liable for any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions, nor for information that changes or becomes outdated. Neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy assume any liability for any injury or damage arising out of, or in connection with, any use of this guide or the sites described in it.

Accessible Restrooms Icon looks like a women and men restroom signBeach Accessible
Wheelchairs Available
  Hiking icon is silhouette of a hikerHiking & Trails
Biking icon looks like person riding a bikeBicycling   Good for Familis icon is a child on a swing'Particularly Good for Families
Boating Icon is a boatBoating   Picnic Area Icon is a picnic tablePicnic
Camping icon is a tentCamping   Swimming Icon is a person swimmingSwimming
Fishing Icon is a fish biting a hookFishing   Wildlife Viewing Icon is a pair of binocularsWildlife Viewing