Rincon Bike Trail

March 28, 2023 • 3.5 miles

Rincon Bike Trail

I have been fascinated by Rincon Island since I first saw it. It was probably the summer of 2002, and I was visiting west coast colleges with my dad. We drove down from the Bay Area to Los Angeles, passing Rincon Island at night. Warm lights along its relatively gigantic causeway were lit, as were harsher, brighter spotlights focused down on the island itself. “Party island,” my dad remarked, and I believed it.

A couple years later, now attending college in Southern California, I had the opportunity to drive by it again in the daylight. It was clear now that this was not some millionaire’s play island but something more mundane. I didn’t have time to pull over and investigate, so I instead furiously Googled it once back on campus. The Wikipedia article was much shorter back then, and most other resources were legal documents or court rulings. I lazily read through what I could understand and tried to summarize all of it in a blog entry at a different website (since taken offline).

After graduation, on another Bay Area to Los Angeles drive, I finally pulled over to the tiny community of Mussel Shoals and walked up to the causeway. Of course, it was closed off to normal folk with a locked gate. I took what photos I could with my phone and Googled it again when I reached my destination. More of the same oil drilling and gas refinement. But neatly packaged on an artificial island with palm trees and a bridge back to the mainland, instead of the offshore platforms dotting the horizon.

Clearly I have an affinity for riding a skateboard along bike trails, but until 2014, the bike trail past Rincon Island was simply the shoulder of the 101. I think anyone who did that on a bicycle was out of their mind, let alone on a skateboard. So it’s nice to have this short stretch of smooth pavement right next to the 101 but safely separated by concrete and steel barriers. You get the rush of freeway traffic to your left, the infinite expanse of the Pacific to your right, and the mysterious allure of Rincon Island halfway down.