San Clemente Metro to Camp Pendelton

CYCLE ORANGE COUNTY, SIGHTSEEING RIDE, SAN CLEMENTE METRO TO CAMP PENDELTON This bike ride leaves the cozy confines of Orange County and travels into adjacent San Diego County. Setting out from the Metrolink station, this route wanders through residential San Clemente before passing through massive San Onofre State Beach and from there through the northern portion of Camp Pendleton. With rolling hills, off-street bike lanes, bluff top views of the ocean and coastal wilderness, this is a fine ride. The first leg of the ride travels over the safe and pleasant residential streets of San Clemente. This section of the route was laid out with the idea that it would provide riders with an alternative to narrow, congested, dangerous El Camino Real, which it parallels. Although many cyclists do ride El Camino Real, it is not recommended. At 4.2 miles the ride travels along an off-street path passing through Trestles Wetlands Natural Preserve, part of San Onofre State Beach. Famous as a surf spot, this 160 acre preserve features a fresh water lagoon, a pristine creek and a number of distinct plant communities. Oh, and beautiful beaches. This is also the county line, from here on you are riding in San Diego County. At 5.28 miles the trail ends and the ride travels along Old Highway 101 past San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant before re-entering San Onofre State Beach. The next three miles pass through empty parking lots with Interstate 5 buzzing on the left and scrub covered cliffs on the right. Camping and day use is available through here as well as six trails that lead steeply to the beaches below. At 11.16 miles the path leaves San Onofre and enters Camp Pendleton Marine Corp Base, definitely the prettiest part of the ride. Rugged and stark, the trail is a single strip of asphalt and concrete passing through coastal wilderness. There are no amenities along this section and with the exception of cyclists, no traffic at all. The turnaround point comes at 14.5 miles when the trail ends at Las Pulgas Road. For those looking to ride further into San Diego County, turn left here and head towards the sentry post a quarter of a mile up the hill. Cyclists are permitted to travel through Camp Pendleton but absolutely must stay on designated roads. Also, valid United States Identification is required to enter the base and a Marine will check before you are allowed to pass. FOOD AND DRINK Visit Avenida Del Mar where you will find the colorful and energetic town center with a number of dining options. ACCESS By bus, OCTA routes 1, 91, 191 and 191 all make stops near ride’s start. By train, Metrolink stops at the San Clemente station located at ride’s start. By car, take exit 76, Avenida Pico, off of Interstate 5 and head southbound. After 0.7 miles, turn right onto Calle Deshecha. Turn left at bottom of hill into parking lot.
Ride type:
Mountain biking
Road riding
Kid friendly
Rail Trail
Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
Ride Duration: 1/2 day
Fitness Level: High
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: 47.0
First Aid
Bike hire
Bike servicing
Accessible by bike
Accessible by car
Accessible by public transport
Accessible by shuttle / uber
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