The Bayshore Bikeway can be entered at the end of the parking lot at Glorietta Bay Park in Coronado. Pay attention for riders as you enter. This is the beginning of a nice 9-mile ride to the bottom of San Diego Bay. You’ll ride past the Naval Amphibious Base (Navy SEALs), at which point the ride opens up to reveal San Diego Bay on the left, if you’re heading south. You’ll notice a dirt walking path and a marked observation platform on the east side that provides a panoramic view of the Bay. Stop and take in the view. Upon reentering the trail, continue south and you’ll encounter Navy housing and an open space. This area, known as Fiddler’s Cove, is just to the north of Lowe’s Coronado. Continuing south, you’ll pass by Coronado Cays. At the entrance to the Cays, you can ride west underneath SR-75 into Silver Strand Beach, where you will face the broad ocean and can look at shore birds and possibly see some sand dollars. This area is normally quite busy on the weekend.
Crossing back under SR-75, turn right/south on the bike path. Continue south until the housing area stops and the real pay-off for this ride begins: an uncluttered view of the south end of San Diego Bay. Once past all the housing, pull off the bike path and look back north at Coronado, downtown San Diego, and the Coronado Bridge. There will be a parking area on the right with seats that overlook the Bay from west to east. Look closely a bit to the southeast and you’ll notice huge piles of white stuff. That’s salt harvested from the Bay at the South Bay Salt Works, the second-oldest continuously operating business in San Diego, begun in 1871. This is also where the National Wildlife Refuge begins. Looking east, look for great egrets, blue herons, and a myriad of shore birds. This area is a major nesting area for a variety of terns. It’s not uncommon to see more than 15,000 terns breeding and nesting in this area in the spring.
The bike path curves to the left/east though the old tidal pools. Your landmark will be a bench on the left at the end of a walking path at the bottom of the Bay. You have three options: 1) Turn around and return up the Strand to Glorietta Bay. This option results in about an 18-mile ride. 2) Turn right and follow the signs to the Imperial Beach Pier, about 1.2 miles. This is a great side trip because you can walk your bike out to the end of the pier and/or have coffee or ice cream at a quaint little shop at the beginning of the pier. Returning to Glorietta Bay will make this about a 22 mile round trip. 3) Continue on the bike bath for another 0.9 mile and stop at the newly constructed Bikeway Village commercial area on the right, where you’ll find a coffee shop, bike shop, and restrooms with a great viewing platform out front. This is where the City of Imperial Beach has created a beautiful series of native plant gardens. Take time to view the native plants found here.
Cyclists please note: The winds on the Strand are fickle. They normally increase in the late morning coming from the NNW. They are strong enough at times that if you stop peddling, you stop moving, making this a real slog riding back north.
SILVER STRAND BAYSHORE BIKE RIDE (Coronado)
Discover nature along the perimeter of San Diego Bay on the Bayshore Bikeway.
Driving directions: (Coronado) From I-5 exit onto SR-75, which is landfall for the Coronado Bridge. Travel west into the village of Coronado and continue until it intersects with Orange Avenue. Turn left and drive through the heart of Coronado past the Hotel Del Coronado. The high-rise condominiums will be on the right. The second red light past Coronado City Hall is where you’ll turn left, and then immediately right onto an unnamed surface road. Drive past the Coronado Recreation Center and you’ll encounter Glorietta Bay Park with a picnic area, ample parking, and restrooms—consider having a picnic after the bike ride in the shaded area facing Glorietta Bay and the Coronado Bridge. (Imperial Beach) From I-5 South, exit onto Palm Avenue/SR-75, following it to SR-75 North into Coronado. Turn right into the Glorietta Bay Park. This is an out-and-back ride from Coronado to the commercial complex described below. (Imperial Beach Alternate) From I-5 exit onto Palm Avenue/SR-75 and drive west one mile. Turn left/north onto 13th Street. Go to the end and there’s a newly created commercial complex called Bikeway Village with a bike shop, coffee shop, restrooms, and ample parking. This is an out-and-back ride to Glorietta Bay Park beginning from this parking area. Biking length: 18-22 miles. Allow 3 hours biking time. Difficulty: Easy. Hiking/walking the Bayshore Bikeway is not recommended due to the heavy bicycle traffic and their speeds. It’s not uncommon to encounter bicycle pelotons of 10-15 riders whizzing by at 15-20 miles per hour. Always ride in the right lane, paying attention to riders passing behind and approaching.