Bolsa Chica to Santa Ana River

CYCLE ORANGE COUNTY, SIGHTSEEING RIDE, BOLSA CHICA TO SANTA ANA RIVER This bike ride may be the ultimate SoCal recreational ride. Starting at the northern end of Bolsa Chica State Beach, you will travel the entire length on a paved, car-free bike path with a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean as your constant companion. Consider a stop at Main Street Huntington Beach, aka Surf City. At its southern end you will reach the Santa Ana River Trail and Newport Beach before heading back along the same path to Bolsa Chica. While this bike ride is entirely car-free, it is not without hazards. Along with other cyclists, you are certain to encounter walkers, joggers, surfers, and beach goers. During weekend summer months the path can be overrun with pedestrian traffic. If you are interested in training or commuting through this part of Orange County, your fastest, safest bet is to ride along PCH which parallels this stretch. Bolsa Chica State Beach has plenty of parking and expansive beaches so bring a picnic and after the ride, swim and eat. The Ecological Reserve located across the beach entrance is a marvelous side trip. Saved from development after a multi-decade battle, the reserve is a combination of dunes and intertidal marsh that is home to an amazing variety of wildlife and coastal plants. Over 300 of Orange County’s 420 bird species have been found here, as well schools of fish and mating stingrays. Under the pier, lock up your bike and climb the steps to Main Street where surf culture reigns supreme. Over the last decade or so, a great deal of money has been poured into developing and expanding the avenue into a resort style area. There are still plenty of surf and bikini shops, but now you’ll also find grand hotels, mega parking structures, and boutique shops. Summer night life here is something to behold. Don’t forget to take a stroll on the pier. South of the pier the bike ride reaches the Santa Ana River and Newport Beach. Keep in mind as you ride that the wind picks up in the afternoon and prevails from the northwest quarter. Side Trip Besides a dip in the ocean, there are two notable side trips along this ride. The first is the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve located across the street from the state beach entrance. The second is Huntington Beach Main Street and Pier. FOOD AND DRINK Along the ride there are a number of concession stands serving fare you would expect to find at the beach. For a more palatable food selection, stop at the Huntington Beach Pier and head over to Main Street. ACCESS By bus, there are a number of buses that intersect this route. At its beginning are OCTA routes, 1, 21, 70 and 72. Along the way, there are buses: 25, 29, 33, 35, 170, 172. By car, take Pacific Coast Highway (Route 1) to Bolsa Chica State Beach, cost to park all day is $10. Upon entering, turn right and drive to the last parking lot.
Ride type:
Mountain biking
Road riding
Kid friendly
Rail Trail
Difficulty: Easy (Blue)
Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
Fitness Level: Low
Shared Bike Path - Paved
Shared Bike Path - Dirt
On-Road Bike Lane
Off-Road - Fire Trail
Off-Road - Rail Trail
Off-Road - Single Track
Off-Road - Downhill
Estimated Distance: 27.0
First Aid
Bike hire
Bike servicing
Accessible by bike
Accessible by car
Accessible by public transport
Accessible by shuttle / uber
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