San Diego Bicycling – Mission Valley

Bicycling in and around Mission Valley can be quite a challenge. With all the shopping centers, freeway interchanges, and other hazards, there are few easy routes through the area. Basic descriptions and photographs will show the general conditions along these roads to help cyclists traverse this area.

Notes:

FC: Subject to Flood Closure

During periods of flooding, the only routes with bridges across the San Diego River are Pacific Highway, Morena Blvd, and Friars Road (east end).

Getting to/from Mission Valley:

South –

North –

Through Mission Valley:

San Diego River Crossings:


Mission Hills / Presidio Park
My favorite way from the valley to the mesa is through Presidio Park. There is only light traffic and much shallower grades than most other options. Downhill, I prefer using Presidio Drive. Use caution, however, as it is a narrow road with blind turns. Uphill, Jackson Street and Cosoy Way provide a good alternative. At the top of the hill, both roads lead into Fort Stockton Drive, a main road through the Mission Hills area.

Bachman Place
Very steep, though not as much as Texas St. Traffic tends to drive fast even though it is a narrow street. The roadway gets particularly narrow at the parking garage about 3/4 up the hill. Uphill side has on-street parking. Connects Hotel Circle South with Hillcrest via 1st and 4th Avenues.

Texas Street
Texas is probably the steepest way in/out of Mission Valley with posted grades at 15%. It is also one of the busiest. The section from Camino Del Rio S to Madison Street has been improved somewhat. Uphill (southbound) has a buffered bike lane and sidewalk. Downhill (northbound) has a wider bike lane. This road provides a good connection with Camino Del Rio S as it heads east toward Mission City Pkwy and Fairmount Ave. I recommend caution toward the bottom of the grade, heading northbound, as cars tend to fill up the bicycle lane and turn across it to access Camino Del Rio S and I-8.

Texas Street from the Adams Ave bridge looking into Mission Valley.
Texas Street from the Adams Ave bridge looking into Mission Valley.

Fairmount Ave / Aldine Drive
Easiest grade from Mission Valley, though along a very fast roadway. Bike Lanes exist on both sides. Northbound bicyclists have to cross high speed traffic from Montezuma Road. Southbound bicyclists continuing on Fairmount past Aldine have to cross an offramp which gets heavy traffic during afternoon peak times.

Fairmount Ave between Montezuma Rd and Aldine Dr
Fairmount Ave between Montezuma Rd and Aldine Dr

Linda Vista Road
Shallower grade than most north climbs with buffered bike lanes in both directions. Lots of driveways/intersections near the Morena Blvd / Napa St intersection.

Climb on Linda Vista Road from Morena to the University of San Diego.
Climb on Linda Vista Road from Morena to the University of San Diego.

Via Las Cumbres
Steep connector from Friars Rd to Linda Vista Rd. Bike lanes exist on the upper half only.

Ulric Street
Steep grade with buffered bike lanes on both sides. Traffic tends to be heavy at the bottom intersections with the State 163 ramps and Friars Road. Good connector to Linda Vista Road.

Ulric St about 2/3 to the top of the grade above Mission Valley.
Ulric St about 2/3 to the top of the grade above Mission Valley.

Mission Center Road
Steep route with a bike lane connecting Mission Valley with Serra Mesa (Murray Ridge Road). Parts of the downhill side can be filled with debris, especially near the 805 bridge.

Mission Center Road before the steep climb.
Mission Center Road before the steep climb.

Mission Village Drive
This is a steep route with a bike lane that leaves Mission Valley near Qualcomm Stadium. Watch for cross traffic at the top of the grade and the traffic signals at the bottom of the grade. Links with Ruffin Road (South) and Sandrock Road.

Murphy Canyon Road / Trail (FC)

Northern entrance to the Murphy Canyon Trail.
Northern entrance to the Murphy Canyon Trail.

The Murphy Canyon Bicycle Path connects the parking lot at Qualcomm Stadium with Murphy Canyon Road. This trail tends to flood during heavy storms near its crossing with Friars Road and San Diego Mission Road. Access at the south end can be had via Rancho Mission Road and San Diego Mission Road. Access at the northern end is via Murphy Canyon Road.

Friars Road
Major east-west route with bike lanes along its entire length. Parts of this roadway have interchanges, so use caution crossing at Mission Center Road, Qualcomm Way/Texas St, and Mission Village Drive.

Camino Del Rio N / S
Runs on both sides of I-8. Starts near Mission Center Road and goes east to Fairmount Ave. Bike lanes exist on the north roadway east of Texas St and a portion of the southern roadway west of Texas St. This is a good connector (south roadway) from Texas St to Mission City Pkwy and Fairmount Ave. Use the north roadway to connect to the Murphy Canyon Bike Path and Fairmount Ave North / Mission Gorge Road.

Hotel Circle N / S
These are frontage roads that run parallel with I-8 west of State 163 to Taylor St. The north side has bike lanes from Taylor St and the south road has a short section of bike lanes near the I-8 ramps. Traffic tends to be heavier near the I-8 undercrossing. Watch for puddles and debris on either side of the road beneath the freeway.

Camino De La Reina
Busy commercial street. No bike lane and has on-street parking. While a through road, I don’t recommend this route due to the large number of driveways and intersections. Use caution when riding this roadway.

San Diego River Path (FC)
This very discontinuous path runs along the San Diego River from Qualcomm Way to near State 163. Intersections with all roads do not have curb cuts or signals. Not recommended at night.

Mission City Pkwy
A short connector roadway east of I-805. Passes over I-8 with no interchange. It is quite useful for cyclists heading for Texas St and Fairmount Ave as it allows a bypass of the busy Qualcomm Wy and Camino De La Reina intersection.

Hazard Center / Avenida Del Rio Connector (FC)
A short path connecting the west end of Hazard Center Drive with Avenida Del Rio, passing underneath State 163. This allows cyclists to bypass the busy interchange at Friars Road and State 163.

Pacific Highway
Connects Old Town with Mission Bay. The south end has connections with the San Diego River Path as well.

Morena Blvd
Busy road with narrow shoulders. The south end has freeway ramps with high speed traffic. Use caution when travelling here. This also offers a connection from Old Town to Linda Vista Road and Friars Road.

Fashion Valley Road (FC)
This road does have bike lanes but can close during a rain storm. Watch for debris across the roadway during and after a storm.

Avenida Del Rio (FC)
Connects the middle portion of the Fashion Valley Mall with the south side of Mission Valley. This roadway is best used as a connection to/from Ulric St. Subject to closure during storms.

Mission Center Road (FC)
Busy roadway with bike lanes on either side. South end does connect with the San Diego River Path but does not have a curb cut. Subject to closure during a storm.

Camino Del Este (FC)
Another low crossing between Camino De La Reina and Rio San Diego Drive. It is a decent alternative to Qualcomm Way. Subject to closure during a storm.

Qualcomm Way / Texas Street (FC)
A very busy and low crossing. Offers a connection from Friars Road to I-8 and beyond. Crossing here can be more problematic southbound at Camino De La Reina and Camino Del Rio N. Subject to closure during a storm.

Ward Road (FC)
Low crossing with light traffic. Connects Camino Del Rio N and Friars Road with a good connection to the Murphy Canyon path. Subject to closure during a storm.

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