« Pedaling the San Gabriel Mtns. | Main | Alive and Well »

December 29, 2003

PCH: Newport Beach to San Clemente

While most folks with a day off were either watching football, or dashing off to make returns, or shopping for after Xmas deals, I spent the afternoon of the 26th riding my bike along a cool, breezy, partly cloudy Orange County Coastal highway known as Pacific Coast Highway, PCH, or just Highway 1.

I know, I know, How un-patriotic of me not to be a couch potato, or to help fuel the economy, and to top it off I LOVED everything I got for Xmas, but what can I say?

I don't have ESPN, and can't afford to shop until I drop. :-)

It was a 28 mile bike ride that began at my apartment in Costa Mesa and ended in San Clemente, 3 hrs. later, within 2 miles of the entrance to Camp Pendleton Marine Base.

For those who wish to tackle either a round trip or, like me, a one way with a bus ride return there is parking at Castaways Park on Dover, just up the road from PCH, in Newport Beach.

The PCH part of the route begins at Dover, and the ride is a hilly one, for the most part, but they are easy hills, and even the seemingly difficult ones are manageable if you work your gears right.

The route passes cliffside condos, and mansions, state beaches, and through the downtowns, or shopping areas of several coastal cities such as Dana Point, Laguna Beach, San Juan Capistrano, and San Clemente.

The route, for the most part, has Bike Lanes, some quite wide, but there are stretches where curbside parking means you will have to carefully take the lane in order to not get doored.

In Dana Point things get slightly tricky due to the nearby 5 frwy.

The thing to do is to get off PCH and onto Del Prado Ave., through downtown, then right on Golden Lantern then, Cross Dana Harbor Dr., and enter a Bike Trail through the 1st part of Doheny State Beach.

This trail comes to San Juan Creek.

Turning right takes you to the San Jose Creek Bike Trail that goes inland.

For our purposes you turn LEFT, , then right, and join a 2 lane road, and stay right for entry into the beach parking lot, along the Coast Highway, and can get back on the Highway at the south end of the lot after riding a short trail out of the lot to the exit.

Here you ride on PCH to San Clemente.

In San Clemente the Highway becomes El Camino Real and, hugging the rail road, then the freeway, will end at Christianitos Rd.

To boldly go further you have 2 choices, a San Diego Transit bus through Camp Pendleton to Oceanside, or a coastal entry to San Onofre State Beach, west of the freeway, so you can ride along  the bike trail alongside old Highway 101, and then the Freeway shoulder to Oceanside.

Either choice requires you keep a valid picture ID handy.

Riding thru the Base is currently out of the question.

There are numerous places to stop, rest, and eat along the 28 miles, and the coastal views are fantastic.

The return bus is the Orange County Transit #1 to Newport Transit Center, or beyond to Long Beach. Knowing the schedule is essential, if you arrive in the evening after 5pm.

I really enjoyed this ride, and didn't feel especially tired at the end of it.

December 29, 2003 in Riding Orange County | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference PCH: Newport Beach to San Clemente:



Thank you for posting this.

I am going to San Onofre this weekend from my house in Costa Mesa.

I was hoping for something just like what you wrote!

Many thanks.

I will find out about the bus schedule for sure!

I head down the river trail to PCH and I was hoping to follow your path.

I think Dover ends at PCH and across is where everyone says John Wayne used to live and to the south is the bridge over the Back Bay waters (if I remember correctly).

I have never gone this far on public roads.

Most of my riding has been river or small jaunts across city neighbourhoods.

Physically, I have gone to Featherly and back in great time, twice, and I ride the gym bikes at least twice a week for distances in the 'teens.

Been to Seal Beach a few times without stopping, so I think I can make it fine.

Posted by: Leonard Juska | Sep 14, 2006 1:04:45 PM

Post a comment