Towns: Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano
Heading: North / East Bound
Trailhead: Doheny State Beach, Dana Point
Distance: about 5 miles
Facilities: Full Restrooms / water at trailhead, also at parks along the way
Parking: Plenty of parking at Doheny State Beach ($), and by the harbor(free)
The path begins on the west bank of San Juan Creek near its mouth by the
lifeguard station. There is access to the path from the parking lot of Doheny State Beach just west of the creek before the bridge over it.
From the lifeguard station the path runs east and passes under the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). Sometimes this underpass is flooded but passable using caution. Since it is seawater, be sure to rinse your bike when you get home! If the underpass is not passable, exit the park and go right on Harbor. Cross Pacific Coast Hwy. onto the sidewalk and walk south on PCH to the path entrance on the left just before the bridge.
Head inland passing by Del Obispo Park, and Mission Bell Park. Generally there is a tail wind (onshore flow) so conserve your energy for the return. After about 2.5 miles go right on the very rough wooden bridge. You are crossing Trabuco creek and entering Descanso Veterans Park (restrooms, water). The path to the left is the Robert McCollum Memorial Bicycle Trail which runs along side Trabuco Creek, passing under Del Obispo, for less than a mile to the south end of Avenida de la Vista.
Turn right after the bridge and follow the path as it bears left and goes under the railroad tracks, Camino Capistrano, and the 5 freeway. Leaving the freeway behind, the path enters a cul-de-sac on Paseo Tirador which bends to the left and meets Calle Arroyo. Go right and continue, crossing La Novia until you reach Avenida Siega where the path ends. Ahead on Avenida Siega is State Route 74 or The Ortega Highway - the gateway to the Inland Empire.
You are now about 5 miles from the beach, so you may retrace your route and
return directly, or explore at your leisure.
Note: Experienced cyclists not afraid of traffic might consider this path as a connector to the inland portions of the OC by continuing right on Ortega Hwy., then left on Antonio. There is no shoulder for about .5 mile, along the highway from Ave. Siega towards Antonio and traffic can be very heavy with large trucks and horse trailors. Having scared the timid among you with that, a reasonable shoulder is available to ride on afterwards; as you see one of the last undeveloped areas of the OC, and buiding it out has already started. Bring your legs, lungs, and low gears because Antonio will provide a great workout!