7 Best Mountain Biking Trails in California

Arguably, California is one of the famous states in America. It is popular for its sunny beaches such as Venice. Every year millions of tourists flock here to soak up in the sunshine, enjoy the beautiful sceneries and landscapes, visit exciting destinations such as Alcatraz and Disneyland, and indulge in chic shopping and nightlife. Despite the exciting city life in California, mountain biking is one of the popular sports that most people participate due to its vast health benefits.

Mountain biking up and down the steep trails of California will not only keep your heart rate up but will also keep you fit by working out your muscles. Most of your body muscles are engaged, including you’re your core legs, shoulders, arms, backs, and even your hands as you grasp your handlebar. These popular sports are both used for recreational purposes and workout goals. Mountain biking helps you get out of your comfort zone and sweat as you hit the road. 

If you are new in California and are mountain biking enthusiasts, it may be a challenging hurdle when deciding on the best trail to explore, as they many of them around this region. However, you shouldn’t worry, as this piece will enlighten some of the exciting and electrifying mountain bike trails in California that you should consider visiting.

Let’s dive in.

1. Englesman Loop Trail

Englesman's Loop Trail
©MTB Project

Englishman mountain bike loop trail is situated near Santa Cruz in California. It is moderately trafficked and stretches up to 7.2 kilometers. This trail allows you to interact with nature as you bike up and down the slopes. The beautiful sceneries and wildlife are the reason behind the popularity of this mountain bike trail. It is primarily used for nature trips, hiking, and mountain biking, and it is accessible to the public throughout the year. If you love adventure as you cycle, then you should consider exploring this trail.

This trail will give you a chance to enjoy short, sweet, and hard-ish climbs as you maneuver through the slopes. Mountain bikers in this trail are advised to follow the set guidelines and rules they explore; they should always put on protective gear and helmets as they ride their mountain bikes. Dogs are not allowed in this trail.

As you bike from the Wilder Ranch Interpretive Center in Englesman Loop Trail, you could pass via the tunnel towards Eastside Park. However, you should beware as the broad road tends to narrow down to a fire road where there are unusual ruts. As you continue biking, be keen to observe the signs as the trail swiftly divides into six paths. 

The Englishman is much secure. However, mountain bikers are advised to be more careful and attentive to cause harm to themselves, other bikers, and the wildlife. Your safety is vital; thus, you should not compromise it.

2. Coyote Run Trail

Coyote Run Trail
©mapio.net

Coyote Run mountain bike trail is situated near Aliso Viejo in California. It stretches up to 4.2 kilometers. It features a river-exciting view and is ideal for all skill levels, thus accommodating amateurs as well as mountain biking experts. This trail loop is primarily used for nature trips, walking, hiking, running, and mountain biking.

In the Highbanks Metro Park System, the Coyote Run mountain bike trail is the longest. It starts from the Nature Center and proceeds into the woods but swiftly opens up to the open fields. During the summer season, it can get sweltering, so be sure to bring your sunscreen. This stimulating trial is flat, well-maintained, and easy to navigate with your mountain bike.

The main trail begins at the California Sycamore adjacent to the Wood Canyon Trail. It is a short, winding single-track that goes through the Wood Creek on the other side of the Wood Canyon Trail. In most parts of the trail, bikers are able to enjoy the tranquility of the shade, especially if you have just biked down from the West Ridge on a Sunny Sunday.

All safety precautions are strictly followed in this trial to avoid accidents and harm to the many mountain bikers that flock here. Following rain, the trail is mostly closed for three days due to safety concerns.

3. Joaquin Miller Park

Joaquin Miller Park
©Greenbelt Alliance

Situated in Oakland, San Francisco, Joaquin Miller Park is one of California’s best and most exciting mountain bike trails. The trail consists of a number of central coastal region habitats, including cool redwood groves, hot open hillsides, lush creek sides, wet meadows, and oak woodlands. The trail is available for hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, picnickers, and joggers. The 500- acre park is frequently parked. 

Mountain biking in Joaquin Miller Park will make you quickly forget the city’s stress, hustle, and bustle, as you will the peace of mind. The woodland trails open up through the oak woodlands and redwood groves and across wet meadows and creeksides. What a fantastic way to enjoy nature as you ride your mountain bike on a sunny Sunday. Although dogs are allowed in the trail, they should always be put on a leash. 

If you are eager to explore the sensations of Oakland’s urban wildlands, then you should consider visiting the Joaquin Miller Park mountain bike trail. You will meet and interact with new cyclers as you enjoy the goodness of nature.

Although Joaquin is very popular and beautiful, it is unfortunate that it is poorly stewarded by the visitors and the crowds who use it. Those using this trail are urged to keep clean and neat by dropping trash in the litter bins. Also, you may opt to avoid muddy or wet trails due to safety concerns.

Safety precautions, just like any other mountain biking trail in California, are emphasized. Don’t put yourself and the bikers in the park at risk by neglecting safety measures such as biking in the appropriate direction and putting on a mask. On a challenging level, it may be wise to dismount your mountain bike and take a walk.

4. Panhandle Bike Trail

Panhandle Bike Trail

In the trail system of the Pittsburgh metro area, the Panhandle mountain biking trail is another jewel. The Panhandle Railroad, also referred to as the Conrail once connected Cincinnati Chicago to Pittsburgh and St. Louis on this route. This rail corridor was transformed into a non-motorized multi-use trail that stretches up to 29 miles, all the way from Weirton to Carnegie, Pennsylvania, via West Virginia.

Today, the vast trail is open to pedestrians and cyclists, with several easy access points as you bike along the way. If you start from West Virginia, the initial trial is approximately 3,000 feet to the East. It is a trailing end; that’s why many opt to start at the trailhead off Colliers Road. This route follows a section of the Harmon Creek, which feeds itself to the Ohio River. This trail is more exciting and full of adventure, which is why many mountain bikers prefer it.

With such close interaction with creeks and rivers, the Panhandle Bike trail features several bridge crossings as it cut through the by turns. This rolling, rocky hillside offers many chances for unforgettable memories and photos. Especially during summer, fall and spring when the flowering wildflowers and scrubs dress up the various access points and landscaped trailheads. The beauty of this trail will tempt you to come back again and again.

The better part about this trail is that it passes through a number of small towns like Pennsylvania, Burgettstown, where you could grab a drink or a bite to eat near restaurants or near-trailside stores. This trail is much more convenient as you could hydrate as continue with your biking.

Recognized as a landmark and a valuable resource for residents, the Panhandle was marked as the 100th successful trail project in Pennsylvania. As a result, it generally benefits from speedy and routine maintenance by the governmental authority that oversees the trail, although friends and clubs occasionally volunteer to keep it clean.

5. North Leaf Mountain Biking Trail

North Leaf Mountain Biking Trail
©MTB Project

Located on the Western edge of the El Corte Madera area in California, the North Leaf mountain biking trail is a single-track trail. It has some sections that are technical as the route is majorly narrow. As compared to other trails near Skyline Blvd, it gets minimal traffic. It has a difficulty level and may not be ideal for beginners but suitable for pros with experience. The trail feels very remote and lush as you bike down the slopes.

Various rooty and rocky climbs necessitate many to dismount their mountain bike and opt to walk. One of the sections towards the end of the trail squeezes you in between the deep roots and a tree and dumps you onto a rocky drop. However, the end of the trail is very smooth, fast,

and non-technical, and the beginners may enjoy this section.

The North Leaf mountain biking trail was specially built for mountain bike lovers who love single-track adventure. The route is breathtaking and not for the faint-hearted. However, it is a perfect trail for those who love to work out and keep fit. Regular exercise in this trail will put you away from the dangers of high blood pressure, heart diseases, and obesity.

The trail is only opened between May and October due to weather conditions which may not be ideal for mountain biking. Always wear the appropriate gear when exploring this trail.

6. China Camp State Park Loop

China Camp State Park Loop
©MTB Project

Situated in San Rafael in California, China Camp State Park is a heavily trafficked loop trail. It stretches up to 14.4 kilometers. This trail features beautiful sceneries of the lake and attractive wildflowers. It is rated as moderate, thus suitable for a wide range of mountain bike riders. It offers an avenue for several physical and workout activities, and it’s accessible throughout the year. Those with horses are also allowed to explore this eye-catching trail.

China Camp State Park mountain biking loop trail provides a wealth of recreational opportunities suitable for the whole family. Explore the world-famous mountain biking adventure on the shores of San Pablo Bay. You may also opt to dismount your bike and enjoy kayaking in the Bay. The park is strategically located as it is close to the urban setting.

Apart from the Turtle Back Nature Trail, which is reserved specially for the sensitive ecosystem and it is only open for runners and hikers. The other section of the China Camp trail is open to runners, hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers. The trails are signposted and well maintained, and you will be bike down through the forests, tidal wetlands, grasslands, and meadows.

Mountain biking in the China Camp State Park Loop allows you to meet and interact with new people. It is a chance to socialize, open up and release the stress of busy city life.

7. Camp Taramancho Mountain Biking Trail 

Camp Taramancho Mountain Biking Trail 
©salsadoodle Youtube

Situated near Fairfax in California, Camp Taramancho is a moderately trafficked mountain biking loop trail. It features beautiful views and wildflowers and is categorized as strenuous. This trail offers various recreational and workout opportunities. To access this facility, you are required to pay $5 for a one-day permit. It is managed by the Boy Scouts of America and Marin County. 

In this trail, the Alchemist is the single-track switchback with rocks and roots, making it adventurous as it is less technical, and most mountain bike riders can participate. However, a decent climb uphill may require you to dismount your bike for a moment and be on your toes. 

After you have gone straight for over a mile on the trail, Alchemist will lead you to the Goldman. This route is somewhat more straightforward as there are no technical features. The trail proceeds upwards and gently down for a while before hitting the fire road. Even if you are a beginner, you will manage to bike through these routes in Camp Tamarancho mountain biking trail.

Those wishing to explore this trail are advised to adhere to the laid down guidelines and rules so that there may be order and security for everyone in the park. Putting of helmet while biking is a must; you should also put on the necessary safety gear to not injure yourself if you slide and fall.

Bottom Line

Mountain biking has become a popular sporting activity in California and all across other states due to its recreational purposes and health benefits. If you are new in California, the above-mentioned mountain biking trails will excite and will be worth your time and energy.