Tijuana Estuary NP Point of Interest

Update (April 30, 2021): As State Parks increases access to the State Park System, it is critical that Californians continue to recreate responsibly in the outdoors as the pandemic is far from over. The public is advised that not all campground sites are open to the public due to the pandemic, wildfire impacts and other issues. Day use outdoor areas of park units currently open to the public remain open.

Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and the COVID-19 guidelines for this park unit.

What is open now?
  • The park is open daily from 7 a.m. to sunset for walking, hiking and biking.
  • The following trails are open: River Mouth Trail, Visitor Center Trail, N. and S. McCoy Trail, and Clapper Rail Trail.
  • The parking lot and restrooms adjacent to the Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?
At this park:
  • Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center.

  • Some park units and campground sites continue to be temporarily closed due to the pandemic, impacts from wildfires or other issues. Please visit the webpage of your local outdoor destination to find out if it is open.
  • Some special events and tours continue to be canceled until further notice.

Are there any new visitor guidelines?
State Parks has implemented the following guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors:
  • Plan Ahead
    • The ongoing pandemic response continues to be dynamic and fluid. Prior to leaving home, check the webpage of your outdoor destination you plan to visit to find out if it is open, if parking is available, and what visitor guidelines are in effect.
    • Learn what safety precautions you should take when exploring the outdoors at parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.
  • Stay Safer at Six Feet: No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Your guests should only include those within your immediate household. This means no guests or friends, and no gatherings or parties. If there are too many people to maintain the required physical distance, please visit us on a different day. 
    • Boating: Do not raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to other recreators.
    • Off-highway Vehicle Recreation: Do not ride next to others or pull up next to someone else as it could put you in close proximity to others. Stage 10 feet or more from each other during unloading and loading.
  • Keep Clean: Be prepared as not all services may be available. Some restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer. Please pack out all trash. Park units are experiencing heavy use and you can help alleviate the impact on park facilities.
  • Stay Covered: The state requires you to wear a face covering when you cannot maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Individuals must have a face covering with them at all times.

Although law enforcement entities have the authority to issue citations, the expectation is that the public is responsible for adhering to the advice of public health officials, visitor guidelines and closures.

California State Parks continues to work with local and state officials on a phased and regionally driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. However, the situation remains fluid and park operations can change at any time. For information on statewide current closures and available services, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

Phone Number

(619) 575-3613

Park Hours

Visitor Center
10:00am - 5:00pm
CLOSED Monday & Tuesday

Dogs Allowed?

Dogs allows on trails.

Driving Directions to Tijuana Estuary NP

From the north:
Take Interstate 5 south to the Coronado Avenue exit in Imperial Beach (not the Coronado Bridge exit). Turn right onto Coronado Ave. and head west for approx. three miles (it becomes Imperial Beach Blvd.). Turn left onto Third Ave. at the four-way stop (you'll see the Reserve's concrete sign). Follow the road around the corner and the Visitor Center will be on the right.
From the south:
Take Interstate 5 north and turn left on Coronado Ave., then follow the directions above.

Online reservations are not available for this park.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

Visitor Center Closed

In an effort to protect public health and safety as the State responds to COVID-19 and following guidelines under the direction of the Governor of California, the following will be temporarily closed effective immediately.

-Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center

Please continue to check this website for updates. Thank you. (Last updated on: 04/30/2021)

The Tijuana Estuary is the largest coastal wetland in Southern California and it is located on the international border between the U.S. and Mexico. The estuary is primarily a shallow water habitat, though it is often termed an "intermittent estuary," as it is subjected to extreme changes in streamflow at different times of the year. Extended periods of drought leave parts of the estuary dry during some periods, while flooding inundates the same areas during others. For this reason, Tijuana Estuary is considered to be a very unique part of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System.

The Tijuana River Estuary is one of the few salt marshes remaining in Southern California, where over 90% of wetland habitat has been lost to development. The site is an essential breeding, feeding and nesting ground and key stopover point on the Pacific Flyway for over 370 species of migratory and native birds, including six endangered species.

The Reserve offers four miles of walking trails, taking visitors into prime bird watching areas and down to the river mouth where the Tijuana River meets the Pacific Ocean. Visitors may explore the park on their own or join one of the free guided nature and bird walks on weekends. View calendar of events.

Border Field State Park is located in the southwestern corner of the Reserve, on a bluff overlooking the ocean, the estuary, and the bull ring that lies just south of the U.S./Mexico border.  A marker on the bluff, first placed there in 1851 just after the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, delineates the western beginning of the International Border.

For more information about the Tijuana Estuary and Border Field State Park please visit http://www.TRNERR.org/ and view this short film.

Location - Directions

Take Interstate 5 to exit 4, Coronado Avenue, in Imperial Beach (not the Coronado Bridge exit). Head West on Coronado Ave. for approx. three miles (it becomes Imperial Beach Blvd.). Turn left onto 3rd Street at the four-way stop (you'll see the Reserve's concrete sign). Follow the road around the corner and the Visitor Center will be on the right.

Imperial Beach, CA Latitude/Longitude: 32.5839 / -117.1122

Interpretation and Education Programs

Educational activities provided by the Reserve include after school Jr. Ranger Program (ages 7-12); bilingual site visits for elementary, middle and high school students; nature walks/bird walks; several lecture series; site-based teacher training workshops. The Reserve provides bilingual (English and Spanish) curriculum for various grades.  Read more information about the Reserve's education programs.

Managing Agencies

The Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve is a partnership between the United States and the State of California that links the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), California State Parks, and the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service. NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System is a network of 29 protected areas established for long-term research, education and stewardship. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible primarily for management of the Reserve's resources; in particular the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge component of the Reserve. The California Department of Parks and Recreation operates the Visitor Center, maintains Border Field State Park, and coordinates the Reserve's programs. California State Parks partners with the Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association for the management of the Reserve.

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