Tijuana River National Estuary & Coastline
ElevationAscent: 30' 9 m
Descent: -30' -9 m
High: 14' 4 m
Low: 1' 0 m
GradeAvg Grade: 0% (0°)
Max Grade: 2% (1°)
Current trail conditions
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“A lovely hike with estuary birds, natural coastline, and the Pacific Ocean at the southwestern end of America.”— Kathleen Schwartz
Family Friendly The Visitor Center is kid friendly. The will alos enjoy the ocean and playing in the sand. The park is close to food and restrooms in town.
For this hike, head off toward your right on the singletrack Connector Trail that heads away from the landing field. Depending on the tide, the estuary waterways will be high or low, and always will have an abundance of birds to watch for. Also noteworthy are the neighborhood vegetable gardens with chickens, ducks, and some fun art creations.
The singletrack will split in two; either path is fine and will meet up shortly again. When you reach the bridge at Grove St., head to the left. The trail will widen and you'll soon pass the Tijuana River Visitor Center on your right; this is a great stop to learn about the wildlife and wetlands. In the spring, the wildflowers along this trail are off the hook!
At the end of the North McCoy Trail, you'll reach a small set of stairs that take you up to the sidewalk on Imperial Beach Blvd. Head left. It is less than a block along the city street to the ocean. At the corner of Imperial Beach Blvd. and Seacoast, you reach another parking lot with the "ART" sculpture rising above (or red squiggly lines, depending on your vantage point). Pass through the parking lot and head down the path and short stairs to the ocean. This trail heads left, and you'll be hiking the remaining mile and a half in the sand.
Depending on the tide, to avoid getting wet at the point where the apartments end, you may have to leave the sand and use the public access to the road (Seacoast) and continue to the end of the road to meet back up with the coastline.
The last mile is all natural, undeveloped coastline that is always beautiful and not populated. This hike ends where the Tijuana River meets the ocean. You'll see Mexico two miles in the distance, most notably the Bull Ring. Also, the Coronado Islands are visible off the coast of Mexico. When you are done taking in the view, retrace your steps to head back to the trailhead.
Land Manager: US Fish and Wildlife - San Diego National Wildlife
Dec 31, 1969: "Dragonflying" is Taking Off
Dec 31, 1969: Youth in the Great Outdoors
Apr 8, 2013: Busy Time on Refuge Web Cams