Discover San Juan Creek Trail: Southern California’s Hidden Biking and Hiking Paradise!


Located in Orange County, the San Juan Creek Trail is a great spot for outdoor lovers. It goes all the way to the scenic Doheny Beach in Dana Point. This trail is a special find that offers natural beauty and is easy to get to. In this post, we’ll look at what makes the San Juan Creek Trail so charming and the fun of getting to Doheny Beach.

Quick Overview of San Juan Creek Trail

FeaturesActivitiesAccess & ParkingHighlights
Located in Orange County, stretching to Doheny Beach in Dana Point. Flat, paved trail ideal for walking, biking, and running.Offers a scenic route for biking, a peaceful environment for walking, and a flat path for running. Suitable for family trips and solo outings.Parking available at Zoomars parking lot, 31791 Los Rios St, San Juan Capistrano. Free with bathrooms, open until 10pm.Scenic views of San Juan Creek along the way, showcasing natural beauty and varied ecosystems.
Known for its bird watching opportunities and diverse plant life, including coastal sage scrub and riparian habitats.Ends at Doheny Beach, perfect for swimming, surfing, and picnicking. Features facilities like restrooms, picnic areas, and volleyball courts.Easy to get to, with options to start from nearby neighborhoods or directly from the parking lot.The trail leads to Dana Point, Dana Point Harbor, and various events.
The trail is part of a longer route that can take you all the way to San Diego, passing San Clemente, Trestles Beach and San Onofre.Safe and kid-friendly, with a portion of the trail turning into a dirt road in San Clemente, where e-bikes are not allowed.E-bikes are popular but require caution due to the speed at which some riders travel.A satisfying destination for outdoor lovers, offering a mix of adventure, fun, and relaxation.
San Juan Creek trail almost to Doheny
San Juan Creek trail almost to Doheny Beach


The San Juan Creek Trail is flat and paved, making it ideal for walking, biking, and running. It’s a good length for both family trips and solo outings. Along the trail, you’ll see views of the San Juan Creek, which creates a peaceful setting for your adventure.

start point to san juan creek trail
Starting point to San Juan Creek Trail

The trail is known for its varied ecosystem. It’s a great place for bird watching, with many different birds to see. The plants along the trail, like coastal sage scrub and riparian habitats, show the natural vegetation of Southern California.

Reaching Doheny Beach at the end of the trail is very satisfying. The beach, with its soft sand and gentle waves, is perfect for swimming, surfing, and picnics. It also has great facilities like restrooms, picnic areas, and volleyball courts, making it a nice place to relax and have fun.

Dana Point is a lively coastal town with lots to do, like whale watching tours and visiting Dana Point Harbor. The town also has various events throughout the year, adding to its charm

My Experience Biking the San Juan Creek Trail

I’ve rode the San Juan Creek Trail many times, and I’ve got to say, it’s a fantastic route, especially for getting to the beach. It’s a pretty scenic ride, not too challenging, which I appreciate. I usually start my journey from the Zoomars parking lot.

Zoomars parking lot near san juan creek trail
Zoomars Parking lot near San Juan Creek trail. Address 31791 Los Rios St. San Juan Capistrano

For those who don’t know, Zoomars is a petting zoo with some fun rides for kids. The parking lot there is quite large and includes bathrooms, which is convenient. I park right at the entrance of the lot; it’s easy to find and free, and you can leave your car there until 10pm.

biking in san juan creek trail

From the parking lot, you just cross over to the bike path. If you head left, it takes you straight to Doheny State Beach. I often bike this trail and have brought my kids along too.

san juan creek trail to dana point

There’s a wooden bridge you’ll cross early on. You could also park in the nearby neighborhoods and join the path from there.

turn right on the bridge to continue san juan creek trail to dana point
Turn right on the bridge to continue San Juan Creek trail to Dana Point

The trail is well-paved and generally safe. However, there is a part where there’s no fence, so it’s important to stay on the path and not get too close to the edge where the creek is.

go over the bridge on San Juan Creek Trail
Go over the bridge on San Juan Creek Trail and turn left

With the popularity of e-bikes, you do need to be a bit more alert as some teenagers zoom by pretty fast.

San juan creek trail in San juan Capistrano

San Juan Creek trail towards Doheny beach
Continue the trail
san juan creek trail towards dana point

san juan creek trail

The route includes going under a few bridges before you reach Doheny State Beach. At the beach, you can turn right and follow the path next to the Doheny campground.

San Juan Creek Trail at the end
San Juan Creek Trail at the end. Turn right to go into the park area of the beach.

This leads you along the beach towards San Clemente. It’s also a safe path and kid-friendly.

bike trail next to the park at Doheny
Bike trail next to the park at Doheny

The entire trail is paved up to the San Clemente beach trail, which doesn’t allow e-bikes and turns into a dirt road.

Tur right to go to towards Doheny campground
Tur right to go to towards Doheny campground
Bike path continues in Dana Point towards Doheny Beach
Bike path continues in Dana Point towards a parking lot in Doheny Beach

Some people still ride e-bikes there, but you can also detour through the neighborhood to get to the San Clemente Pier.

Doheny Campground in Dana Point
Pass the Doheny Campground in Dana Point and continue on this path

What’s cool about this path is that you can actually take it all the way to San Diego. Along the way, you’ll pass Trestles Beach and San Onofre.

Arriving to Doheny State Beach
Arriving to Doheny State Beach parking lot area where you can continue biking alongside the ocean

At San Onofre, you’ll need to ride on the road for a bit, then you hit the San Onofre campground which leads to another safe bike path that ends at Las Pulgas near Camp Pendleton.

Doheny State Beach in Dana Point
Doheny State Beach in Dana Point. Continue through the parking lot

If you have a bike pass, you can even ride through Camp Pendleton. Overall, it’s a great ride with lots to see and a safe, enjoyable path for everyone.

Doheny State Beach
Doheny State Beach
bike trail to San Clemente
If you continue this trail and go over the rail road tracks, you’ll end up on a bike trail to San Clemente

Conclusion

Whether you live nearby or are just visiting, the San Juan Creek Trail leading to Doheny Beach in Dana Point is a place you should definitely go to. Its easy access and the beautiful, calm environment of both the trail and the beach make it a great choice for anyone looking for a relaxing and enjoyable time outdoors.

me on the beach
About the author

Hi, I'm Kat, the adventurous spirit behind TasteCaliforniaTravel, your guide to the hidden wonders of California. Having called California home for the last 15 years, I am thrilled to take you along on my journey and share the adventures that this incredible state has to offer.

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