Dog Friendly: Yes Kid-Friendly: Yes
Coastal Trailhead: 33.319028731, -117.518427060 // 2nd Trailhead option: 33.2135029908, -117.375330010
Mance Buchanon Park Trailhead: 33.2493389060, -117.297977707 // Easternmost Trailhead:33.246747574, -117.28184178
The San Luis Rey River Trail is a 10.7 mile bike trail in Oceanside that will wind you along the river and offers many unique points of interest. There are multiple trailheads so if you are pinched for time or don’t have a bike & want to walk, you can chop this up into multiple trips.
Before this trail was paved for public access, it was used by the military to move cargo along the river. This is not too far from Camp Pendleton. Today it is an interesting pathway that provides plenty of scenic opportunities.
The pathway even gives expanding options that will lead you into San Diego or Orange County so you can have adventures for days and days!
If you decide to visit, treat this trail just as you would a road and stay on the right side of traffic. If you’re walking, bikes will zip by often and unexpectedly so keep your children and dogs safe by keeping them on your side of the pathway.
The river trail has little to no incline and is paved, making this a smooth excursion throughout. We saw so many cool things during our multiple trips, but the most startling of it all was a freeway exit that leads to nowhere! I had NO clue this existed!
Apparently, the off-ramp was closed in the late 1980s after people kept wrecking their cars because they couldn’t decelerate fast enough. You can see evidence of that with all the areas repainted on that ramp.
I am aware of a couple other ones in San Diego, so this was very fun to add to the list!
Please note: the trail is not open for class 3 electric modes of transportation including electric bikes or scooter capable of 20mph or over. The trail is also not intended for equestrian use.
Someone left water bottles out for the bicyclists:
Some of the trailheads even had bike repair tools:
We came across a group of guys playing with their RC crawlers. It was so cool to watch them navigating the rocky hill. They said they come out here every Sunday:
This was my favorite area, when we went under the trestle and freeway:
The craziest part of this pathway was stumbling upon the freeway exit that leads to nowhere! This is closed off to cars so you can walk right on it!
Here’s where it ends, right next to Highway 5: