San Diego Section 11

Hotel del Coronado to Imperial Beach Pier

San Diego Section 11

Hotel del Coronado to Imperial Beach Pier

One long straight beach describes this route from the affluence of Coronado to the working class town of Imperial Beach, the southernmost town on the California coast, just a few miles from the Mexican border. If you are one of the hearty few walking the entire length of the coast, then here on this beach it might dawn on you that you're near the end of your journey after three months of trekking.

After you've looked around the Hotel Del taking in the sights and history of this Victorian spectacle, or checked out the old historic neighborhood in the hotel area, make your way through the hotel grounds out to the wide sandy beach and head south. After passing several huge multi-story condominium buildings on and beside the beach, you reach open beach around ¾ mile. You are on the Pacific shore of the narrow sandspit peninsula that separates San Diego Bay from the open ocean. Here the peninsula is less than ¼ mile wide, with the entire promontory rising less than 20 feet above sea level.

For the next 2⅞ miles ahead the peninsula is held by the U.S. Navy as their Amphibious Training Base. If military training activity from the base facilities behind the low dunes occupies the beach, then return to Hotel Del and take the bike path paralleling Silver Strand Blvd., then pick up the beach again at Silver Strand State Beach. If you can proceed, it's best to stay close to the water on this stretch. Except during training exercises, the beach, little used by any but strollers and runners, seems remote with only the wind and crashing waves for company. Around 3 miles the eastern side of the peninsula has a private housing development, SO you may see a few more people on the beach.
You reach Silver Strand State Beach at 3⅝ miles with restrooms and water just ahead. Continue along the tideline of the beach. The long, skinny park facility is popular with sunbathers, swimmers and surfers and also with some of the residents of the Coronado Cays housing development on the peninsula's east shore around 4⅜ miles. You finally leave Silver Strand State Beach at 5⅝ miles.

As you continue along the north end of Imperial Beach, the peninsula broadens, allowing Silver Strand Blvd. to finally veer away from the beach, leaving you with the roaring surf as the main soundtrack. Behind the dunes around 6¾ miles, you can see the huge antennae for a U.S. Naval Communication Station. At 7¼ miles you cross the city limits into quiet Imperial Beach, with houses lining the top of the strand. Continue down the beach to the Imperial Beach Municipal Pier and section's end at 7¾ miles.

SUGGESTED ROUND TRIPS & LOOPS: From either end of the section or from Silver Strand, walk along the beach for as long as you like and return.

Distance: 8⅛ miles (13.1 kilometers).

Open to: Hikers. Bicyclists on bike path.

Surface: Beach or paved bike path.

Access point: Coronado Beach at Hotel del Coronado.

How to get there: Take the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge (Highway 75) to Coronado and turn right on Orange Avenue. After Orange Avenue turns south to become Silver Strand Blvd., you can't miss the hotel on the right.

Other access: Silver Strand State Beach.

Difficulty: Easy

Elevation gain/loss: Negligible.

Cautions: The beach south of Coronado is sometimes closed for military maneuvers.

Further information: For Coronado City Beach and Coronado Shores Beach call Coronado Recreation Services (619)522-7342, for Silver Strand State Beach call District HQ (858)642-4200, for Imperial Beach call the Imperial Beach Lifeguard Station (619)595-3954.

Facilities: Urban amenities at both ends. Water, restrooms, picnic tables and parking at Silver Strand State Beach.


Lodging: Coronado and Imperial Beach have a variety of accommodations. San Diego has two hostels, Point Loma (619)223-4778 and Downtown (619)525-1531.

Interested in contributing to this project?

Register to add new photos and information, update existing results and share your trip reports.

Leave a Comment