Cycling to San Diego

Cycling to San Diego: Balboa Park in San Diego is a stunning destination
Balboa Park, San Diego | ©

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 SoCal coastline. Whether you cruise past another beach city or crank through the rolling terrain, the Pacific Ocean will always be on your right.

The century 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.

Cycling to San Diego: charming, laid-back surf spot
San Clemente

Beach Cities

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.

Cycling to San Diego: Torrey Pines Road is steep
Before the Torrey Pines Road climb

Final Stretch

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: Amtrak

There is a fee for bringing your bicycle on the train.

Red Tape

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.


Personal: Helmet, water, food
Group: You can arrange a support vehicle to haul repair kits and medical gear.