Objective: Cycling to San Diego, Pacific Coast, California, USA
Distance: 100 miles (one-way)
Elevation Gain: 3,000′
Trip Length: 1 day
Cycling to San Diego may be one of the best ways to see the So Cal coastline. Whether you cruise past another beach city or crank through the rolling terrain, the Pacific Ocean will always be on your right.
The ride is 100 miles from Irvine to San Diego. You can do this in a single day or camp at San Onofre for the night. Either way, you can take the train and celebrate on the ride home.
The ride starts at the Irvine Amtrak station, heads to the Pacific Coast Highway, and passes through the artistic enclave of Laguna Beach. Roll past the charm of San Clemente’s laid-back surf town vibes. After the San Onofre nuclear plant, ride through the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base. The ride continues past the active Oceanside marina, and progresses past a scenic stretch between Carlsbad and Del Mar.
When you reach Torrey Pines Road, shift into granny gear, and rise out of the saddle. The climb is steep, but once it is over, you can pretty much cruise into San Diego.
From the 5 S, take the Alton Pkwy exit and turn right onto Alton Pkwy. After 0.4 miles, turn left onto Ada. Make a right onto Barranca Pkwy. Turn left into Irvine Station. Ride to the Old Town Station in San Diego. Take the Amtrak train back to Irvine.
Make a reservation for the train ride on: https://www.amtrak.com/home.html. There is a fee for bringing your bicycle on the train.
Permission is required to ride through the 9-mile section passing through Camp Pendleton. Registration requires an in-person visit to the visitor’s center at the southern Main Gate. The alternative is riding on the emergency lane of the I-5. For more information: https://www.pendleton.marines.mil/Base-Access/Recreational-Bicycling/
Personal: Helmet, water, food
Group: You can arrange a support vehicle to haul repair kits and medical gear.