Map of Harbor Island


San Diego, Point Loma

-- click on thumbnails for larger image --

The Embarcadero

This out-and-back ride appears in Don and Sharron Brundige's "Bicycle Rides - San Diego County".

Kite shop in Seaport Village

On average San Diego has rain on five days in January - unfortunately I choose those five days. On the day of this ride it rained in the morning but dried out enough in the afternoon to tempt me out. The pictures below with blue skies were taken a few days later.

I started my trip in the historic Gaslight District - hiring a bike at Bike Tours at the corner of Fifth and Island.

Cafe in Seaport Village

I headed west to pickup the waterfront by Seaport Village. This is a modern tourist shopping complex housed in replicas of traditional buildings.

The Embarcadero hosts the main public piers. From here cruise ships leave for exotic locations and the hourly ferry plies across to Coronado.

One of the piers gives access to an aircraft carrier - the Midway - which is now a museum complete with a café on its fantail.

View back along the Embarcadero

The southern part of the Embarcadero is shared with pedestrians - but as the attractions are left behind the numbers of walkers diminishes and views open up over the Bay.

Looking backwards San Diego's characteristic skyline takes shape - framed by mountains over the border in Mexico.

Harbor Island - just south of Lindberg Field

The route then turns westward following the curve of the Bay. Just inland is San Diego Airport and planes can be seen landing or taking off only a few hundred metres away.

A little further on you reach Harbor Island - the first of two man-made 'islands'. These are formed from material dredged from the harbor and now house luxury hotels and, on their landward side, expensive marinas.

View of San Diego from Harbor Island Shelter Island

The second island - Shelter Island - encloses the famous Americas Cup Harbor and more yacht clubs.

After the flat trip around the Bay the route now turns inland and ascends nearly 400' to the spine of the peninsula leading southward down to Point Loma.

Altitude profile of the route
The old lighthouse on Point Loma

The road - Catalina Boulevard - passes a number of defence establishments and a couple of large military cemeteries. The area around the Point is now the Cabrillo National Monument - named after Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo who was the first European to set foot on the West Coast of the United States.

View from the lighthouse over Coronado to San Diego beyond

Finally you reach a toll booth where cyclists are charged $3 to enter the Monument.

The centre point of the park is the Old Point Loma Lighthouse which was completed in 1855.

Unfortunately at 422' above sea level the light was often invisible to mariners who needed to be guided back to the harbor when low cloud or fog limited visibility. Thus, some 36 years later, the light was moved to a site nearer to sea level.

Panorama over San Diego Bay with the breakwater in the middleground
The old lighthouse on Point Loma

I took advantage of the visitors centre in the Park - which fortunately offers hot drinks to cold cyclists.

Point Loma and the Cabrillo National Monument

The Point offers tremendous views across San Diego Bay.

Below you can see the harbor entrance - in the middle ground North Island and Coronado - and in the distance San Diego's downtown skyline.

San Diego in the sunshine

Whale watchers were looking in the other direction hoping to spot migrating grey whales.

View over North Island towards downtown San Diego

The return trip was substantially quicker than the outward one. I freewheeled back down to sea level and skipped the detours round the islands before returning the bike to the hire shop.

Perhaps next time the weather will be better!


Kirby James