The Great Eight California Bike Trails

Big Sur Adventures E-bike Tours

The Santa Clarita Valley has great places to ride for bicycle enthusiasts. The city offers more than 100 miles of picturesque trails and paseos designed for bicycle use. However, if you’re ready for a little getaway and want to take your bike, the entire state of California also offers great bike trails paired with incredible natural wonders and unforgettable landscapes. Load up your bike, or rent your bike at your vacation destination. It’s fun to join a bike tour, as well. Bike tours offer a chance to see the sights with a local tour guide, giving you a chance to see places you might have missed on our your own.

Caspar Uplands Trail in Mendocino

In Mendocino, explorers can see a historic lighthouse, visit a popular whale watching site, hike a self-guided nature trail and conclude their journey in a unique Pygmy Forest, all before the sun sets. The Point Cabrillo Light Station overlooks Caspar Headlands State Beach in the north, where campgrounds and beach trails are situated near migrating gray whales’ path. Follow Caspar Uplands 2.5-mile trail into Jug Handle State Reserve, where terraced rock formations show 100,000 years of history. From here, the Jug Handle Creek directs adventurers to the Pygmy Forest, where trees barely reach knee-level. Info:

Dipsea, Steep Ravine and Matt Davis Loop in Marin

In a half-day, Mount Tamalpais is easily tackled–from mountains to the sea, its slopes and winding paths are a highlight reel of beauty. The trailhead starts at Stinson Beach, right off Highway 1 in Marin County. Here, the Dipsea Trail guides hikers along a coastal trail with panoramic views of the Pacific. One mile in marks the Steep Ravine split, where Webb Creek cascades adjacent to the trail and hikers trek up a eucalyptus-studded incline. Follow the Matt Davis Trail back to Stinson Beach to complete the loop, rounding out the day at one of the seaside cafés. Info:

Ojai Valley Bike Trail in Ventura

Biking in Ventura can introduce visitors to a multitude of destinations all in one ride. It’s easy to follow the relatively new 3.5-mile Rincon Bike Trail, adjacent to Highway 101 and leading north to Carpinteria’s Rincon Point. Visitors can also rent bikes at Wheel Fun at the foot of Ventura Pier, or Open-Air Bicycles Ventura, in town. Cycle along Ventura’s beachfront on the Omer Rains Trail for views of Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands. Journey beyond Ventura to Ojai via the Ojai Valley Bike Trail, a shady 9-mile, tree-lined ride. Cyclists will arrive in Libbey Park, where they can park in the bike-friendly town and enjoy the local shops and restaurants before heading back. Info: or or

Cycling the South Bay Bike Trail in Santa Monica, California, March 7, 2017.

Marvin Braude Bike Trail in Santa Monica 

The Marvin Braude Bike Trail, also known as The Strand, is a 22-mile paved path that runs along the Pacific Ocean and connects some of the best beaches in Los Angeles County. The Strand winds past Santa Monica and Venice, then heads inland at Marina Del Rey, is back on the beach at Playa del Rey and glides along the shorelines of Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo Beach, finally ending in Torrance. A popular route for cyclists, joggers, rollerbladers and beach-lovers, taking “The Strand” is a quintessential Southern Californian route. Info: 

Big Sur Adventures E-bike Tours

E-biking in Big Sur 

Using an e-bike isn’t cheating, it’s far more environmentally friendly than using a car, plus you get some exercise as well. And those climbs along the coast are much easier when you have a 750-watt assist. Big Sur Adventures offers a trio of e-bike tours for all levels of riders: 17-Mile Drive, the Old Coast Road, and McWay Falls. One of the best choices for intermediate riders is the Old Coast Road route, a dirt road that follows the original wagon trail into Big Sur. There are locals who haven’t been on this road, and the views are magnificent as they stretch along the coast, into oak and redwood groves and across the Little Sur River. Trips include four to 12 people and typically last three to four hours. Exploring the coast by bike gives you a full sensory experience: ocean and forest scents, warm sun on your arms, the sound of crashing waves and wind in the trees and the feeling of getting a little closer to the wild coast. Info:

Parkwide Bike Rentals and Tours

Golden Gate Park in San Francisco 

Driving a car through Golden Gate Park doesn’t do the landscape justice. The best way to appreciate the grandeur and diverse greenery of the 1,017-acre park is by bicycle. To ensure that your two-wheeled adventure doesn’t end with you completely lost, try a private guided cycling tour. Parkwide Bike Rentals and Tours offers all types of guided tours on both standard and e-bikes, but you can also skip the booking portal on the website and call to set up a custom, private guided tour of the park, complete with a picnic lunch and chilled refreshments. The cycling pros at Parkwide will design the route based on your requests and even allow for time to hop off and explore spots like the de Young Museum (head straight to the elevator for the observation tower, then be sure to wind around the back of the museum to experience James Turrell’s meditative Sky Space), the Botanical Gardens, and the Conservatory of Flowers. Pro tip: Make your way to the Beach Chalet at the westernmost point of the park to watch the sunset. Info: or

Monterey, Fishermans Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey 

Soak in the best sights of Monterey’s coastline with a simple ride along the bike path that runs from Fisherman’s Wharf out to Lovers Point. The bike path, officially known as the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail, extends from Castroville in the north to Pacific Grove in the south, but the stretch between Fisherman’s Wharf and Lovers Point is hands-down the most popular section. The path is separated from street traffic, providing a safe environment for children still learning to balance on two wheels and nervous adults returning to cycling after a long time away. The ride provides fantastic views of Monterey Bay and plenty of great places to stop as it winds past the Coast Guard Pier, Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the harbor seal beach at Hopkins Marine Station. Monterey has many more exciting and fun bike trails available for all skill levels. Info:

Cabrillo Bicycle Path in Santa Barbara

The most popular bike path in Santa Barbara, Cabrillo Bike Path, runs from Leadbetter Beach to Butterfly Beach. At approximately 4.5 miles long, paved and flat, Cabrillo Bike Path is a great option for families and easygoing rides. Make your way up to Shoreline Park, which overlooks the lovely seaside. And feel free to savor the view with a picnic. Walk off your picnic feast with a short hike down Thousand Steps (don’t worry, the name exaggerates the number of stairs), the staircase that leads to Leadbetter Beach, where you’ll find locals surfing the perfect beach break just about every day of the week. Info:

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