San Diego River Estuary


The San Diego River travels 52 miles west from its headwaters near Santa Ysabel and Julian on through Mission Valley where it begins to empty into the Pacific Ocean creating the San Diego River Estuary. The estuary extends west from Interstate 5 to Dog Beach on the northern boundary of Ocean Beach at the mouth of the San Diego River.

The San Diego River Pathway is a paved walking, jogging, and biking trail running parallel to the river and estuary extending east from Dog Beach on the west end to the Little League baseball fields at Presidio Park in Mission Valley. The north end of the river allows you to follow the river along the bike path on Old Sea World Drive from the Mission Bay Bridge west to Hospitality Point Park at the end of Quivira Way.

The ebb and flow of the ocean tides allow for considerable birding and wildlife viewing opportunities. As you walk or bike along the estuary, keep your eyes peeled for birds like Snowy Egrets, Ospreys, and Great Blue Herons. During low tides, shallow mudflats emerge allowing shorebirds, like Black-necked Stilts, to forage the river bottom in search of food like snails and crabs.

To get involved with the conservation of the San Diego River and estuary, please visit the San Diego River Park Foundation.

PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Ferguson