San Juan Creek to San Juan Capistrano

CYCLE ORANGE COUNTY, SIGHTSEEING RIDE, SAN JUAN CREEK TO SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO Charming and picturesque, Dana Point Harbor is the star of this ride. Oceans views, wharves, dining, museums, tall ships and nature refuges make up only a small part of this outing. With all the sights and activities surrounding this ride it is almost certain to become a favorite. The route itself is flat and leisurely as it travels first beside the harbor before heading inland by way of the San Juan Creek Trail. With so much to do in this locale, this ride is the gentle companion to hilly Dana Point Loop ride which crosses over this one before climbing Golden Lantern and passing through Lantern Village. Starting in front of the Ocean Institute, you can visit the museum’s two tall ships, explore the hands-on exhibits or join one of the marine mammal cruises and watch whales as they migrate by Dana Point. Hike past the museum and around the bluff to reach Dana Point Marine Life Refuge and soak in spectacular ocean views. From here the ride takes you along scenic Dana Point Harbor Drive, past beaches, marine vessels and Island Way, all worthy of a visit. A right at Golden Lantern will take you to Dana Point Wharf where there is enough to see and do to fill up a whole day. Turk’s restaurant, energetic and bustling, has been here forever. Next door is Proud Mary’s with excellent outdoor seating and a hearty breakfast and lunch menu. Also nearby is Dana Point Jet Ski where jet skis, kayaks, paddle boards and sailboats can be rented. As you ride through this area, the bike lane abruptly ends in a parking lot and the road narrows. Expect quite a bit of traffic here during weekends and summer months. For a breathtaking view, climb the ridiculously long staircase at the corner of Dana Point Harbor Drive and Golden Lantern to the top of the bluff where you will find Lantern Bay Park. Bring your camera and a picnic lunch and enjoy an incomparable view of the harbor. At 1.18 miles the route leaves the streets and travels into Doheny State Beach, a stunningly beautiful place. Follow the path towards the main lifeguard tower where you will find the entrance to San Juan Creek Trail. The entrance is not well marked and easy to miss so stay alert. The trail takes you inland along a flat, un-interrupted path until 4.75 miles where it travels through business parks and neighborhood. At the turnaround point is the trailhead for Desheche Trail, part of a larger network of trails still being built that reach San Clemente and eventually San Diego beyond. FOOD AND DRINK Plenty of dining options exist in and around Dana Point Wharf. ACCESS By bus, OCTA buses 85, 90 and 187 all make stops at the intersection of Golden Lantern and Dana Point Harbor Drive. By car, take exit 79, Pacific Highway, off of Interstate 5 and head northbound. After 1.1 miles turn left onto Dana Point Harbor Drive and follow until its end near the Ocean Institute.
Ride type:
Mountain biking
Road riding
Kid friendly
Rail Trail
Difficulty: Beginner (Green)
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: 21.0
First Aid
Bike hire
Bike servicing
Accessible by bike
Accessible by car
Accessible by public transport
Accessible by shuttle / uber
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