8 Greatest Bike Paths In California
Few experiences compare to riding a bike for fun. It’s a good low-impact exercise, helps your mental clarity and focus, is good for your bank account (if you avoid constant upgrades), better for the environment, and is just overall enjoyable. With bike riding being so great, it’s no wonder there are over 100,000,000 bike riders in the USA alone.
Unlike riding fast cars and motorcycles, you don’t need to go too far from home to enjoy a ride. This is certainly what I’ve learned ever since I started cycling recently.
If you live in or near California and you’re tired of riding the same route all the time, then you’re in luck. This list should give you ideas for your next bike ride.
The Path Best Pedalled
California is home to several great bike paths, each with its own unique charm. It was hard narrowing down this list to just 8. Entries on this list aren’t positioned according to any ranking system as they’re all enjoyable and great.
1. Chandler Bike Path: Flat, Paved, and Kid Friendly
Chandler Bike Path is situated at 2500 W Chandler Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505, United States. Originally railroad tracks turned into a concrete path, Chandler Bike Path starts on the west side of Burbank and stretches all the to North Hollywood. The path is flat as a pancake and well-maintained with directional “lanes” to keep things organized.
If you’re looking for a good flat paved path where you and your family can have a fun ride, then this path is perfect. Chandler Bike Path is also super dog-friendly with doggie bags and trash cans lined along the route.
You get a great view of Burbank’s homes dotting the route on Chandler Boulevard. You also get to see some interesting art along the way plus unlimited free parking everywhere. It’s safe to say Chandler Bike Path is a true crowd-pleaser.
2. Marvin Braude Bike Trail: Best Bike Path in West Los Angeles
Marvin Braude Bike Trail is located in Will Rogers State Beach, 16418–16730 Pacific Coast Hwy, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272, United States. The trail stretches a total of 20 miles if you ride the whole thing. To some cyclists, this is the best bike path in West Los Angeles with its ample parking, kid and pet-friendly trail, and accessible gender-neutral restrooms.
You start the path at Venice Beach and go up to the end of Will Rogers State Beach. Watch out for pedestrians, though, as this popular bike path usually sees a lot of traffic — cyclists or otherwise.
Hitting this trail gets you great views of the sand, surf, and people playing volleyball on the beach. Refueling is no problem as there are plenty of food stands and restaurants along the way.
3. Los Angeles Bike Paths: Best Enjoyed with Family
The Los Angeles Bike Paths is located at 287 W Del Amo Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90805, United States. The path extends for several miles so you can customize your ride by deciding which section you’re hitting. The path is well-maintained and usually clean unless you’re going through the underpass areas.
It offers a great atmosphere for enjoying nature together with family. Runners, joggers, and walkers also frequent this path along with all the cyclists.
4. American River Bike Trail: River Views and Beginner-Friendly
The American River Bike Trail, also known as Jedediah Smith Trail, is situated at American River Bike Trail, Folsom, CA 95630, United States. It stretches a total of 32.3 miles and usually sees heavy traffic because of its popularity. This paved, multi-use trail features nice views of the river and is suitable for riders of any skill level.
You can bring your canine companion along but they have to be kept on a leash. You begin the path at Discovery Park in downtown Sacramento and finish 31 miles away in Beal’s Point in Folsom.
5. Treasure Island Park Bike Path: Great and Short Sunset Ride
The Treasure Island Park Bike Path is located in San Francisco, California. This 2.7-kilometer out and back trail is perfect for beginner cyclists. Apart from cycling, this trail is primarily used for walking, running, nature trips, and bird watching. You can bring your dog along but you’ll have to keep them on a leash.
While this nice flat, paved path is pretty short for some cyclists, it does offer stunning views of the skyline and some bridges. Some cyclists find this path perfect for sunset rides or hikes.
6. San Gabriel River Bike Path: Tailwind to the Dam
The San Gabriel River Bike Path can be found at 3501 Santa Anita Ave El Monte, CA 91731, United States. This well-maintained, paved, tarmac path starts at Seal Beach on the south and stretches all the way to Azusa in the north.
Riding from the beach to Azusa has a gradual incline until you reach a climb to the top of the Santa Fe Dam. Riding east towards the dam usually features a tailwind, though, so it shouldn’t be too hard.
You can also expect this path to be kid-friendly, have ample bike parking options, private lot parking for vehicles, and accessible gender-neutral restrooms.
7. Jackass Mountain Biking Trail: Mountain Biking in Spring
The Jackass Mountain Biking Trail is located at Truckee, CA 96161, United States. It’s one of the most popular mountain biking trails in California, especially during spring. This trail has all the features that mountain bikers look for — like rock features, rock sections, and great berms — while also not being overly difficult.
The ride consists of a short climb followed by a descent packed with features that will leave you wanting to do another lap or two. About the only problem you might face is parking as this popular trail usually sees lots of traffic.
8. The San Diego River Trail: Lots of Paths to Choose From
The San Diego River Trail is situated at San Diego River San Diego, CA 92108, United States. It’s a crucial part of the planned 55-mile long San Diego River Park system. You can begin the trail at Volaire Street (at the Ocean Beach Bike Path) and end it at Qualcomm Way at Camino De La Reina. The trail features an asphalt path that’s also used for walking, inline skating, wildlife viewing, bird watching, and fishing.
This trail also links to over 20 miles of paths around the beaches and bay so you can pretty much customize your ride as you desire.