The following are serious off-road rides; although, most can be broken up into smaller – more manageable – segments.
The Flume Trail
Lake Tahoe, CA – One of Lake Tahoe’s premier mountain bike trails, it has amazing views of the Tahoe Basin and the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountains.
Lake Tahoe, CA – This nationally known, difficult, 4X4 route leads from Loon Lake to Lake Tahoe, a distance of approximately 22 miles. The narrow passages, rocky climbs and an occasional mud hole keep the trail rated as Most Difficult. The trail is recommended for short wheelbase vehicles with all skid plates in place, and even then, you can expect scratches and/or dents.
There are restrooms located at the trailhead. Good fishing and camping are found at Miller, Buck, and Richardson Lakes. A world class OHV road with a variety of Mountain Biking opportunities from loop rides to difficult peak climbs.
Forest of Nisene Marks State Park
Aptos, CA – Aptos Creek Road, Soquel Drive, Aptos, CA 831-763-7062
The park offers rugged semi-wilderness, rising from sea level to steep coastal mountains of more than 2,600 feet. It has over 30 miles of hiking, jogging and biking trails. More >>
Soquel Demonstration State Park
Soquel, CA – California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
4750 Old San Jose Road, Soquel, CA (831) 475-8643
Offering almost 5 miles (out and back) trails, this preserve is extremely popular with mountain bikers. More >>
University of California Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA – 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA Campus Police at (831) 459-2231
UCSC has many excellent bike trails on campus lands adjacent to the Campus Natural Reserve. Use of the campus trails, are encouraged. Riding bicycles in the reserve, on the trails or elsewhere, is prohibited. More >>
Wilder Ranch State Park
Santa Cruz, CA – Located north of Santa Cruz, immediately west of Hwy 1 (831) 423-9703
The Park has 4,505 acres, with 34 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails winding through coastal terraces and valleys.
Mammoth Mountain and Lakes
Mammoth Lakes, CA – 1 Minaret Road, Mammoth Lakes, CA (760) 934-2571
From expansive vistas to pine tree corridors, Mammoth Mountain and Lake offer over 100 miles of dirt single-track!
Henry Coe State Park
South of San Jose, CA – Coe Park is the largest state park in northern California of wild open spaces. The terrain of the park is rugged, varied, and beautiful, with lofty ridges and steep canyons. The park has 100 miles of roads and trails that are open to mountain bikes. The rugged terrain offers a variety of riding options ranging from moderately difficult to extremely difficult. There are practically no easy trails for bikes.
The following are some shorter, lower-key or family rides:
Waddell Creek, Big Basin
Santa Cruz County, CA – Six miles of Canyon Road (a graded dirt fire road) meanders along the course of Waddell Creek. It is almost level for the entire length, so even younger bicycle riders can be found pedaling along. We recommend only fat tire bicycles be used, as it is dirt and ruts will cause problems for a narrow tired “road bike”. Helmets are required for young riders and recommended for ALL! There are NO through trails to Big Basin, and NO single track trails are open to bicycles at Rancho del Oso or the main portions of Big Basin State Park.
Fern Canyon, Van Damme State Park, Little River
Mendocino County, CA – The park features the lush Fern Canyon scenic trail system; the Pygmy Forest where mature, cone-bearing cypress and pine trees stand six inches to eight feet tall; and the bog, or Cabbage Patch, where skunk cabbage grows in abundance. The park’s ten miles of trail go along the fern-carpeted canyon of Little River. A paved road is used by joggers and bicyclists. The beach is popular with abalone divers.
Russian Gulch State Park
Mendocino County, CA – This park is known for the heavily forested Russian Gulch Creek Canyon, a headland that features the Devil’s Punch Bowl (a large, collapsed sea cave with churning water), and a beach that offers swimming, tide pool exploring, skin diving and rock fishing. Inland, there is a 36-foot high waterfall. Hikers enjoy miles of hiking trails. The park also has a paved three-mile bicycle trail.