Explore the lush landscapes of California on popular bike trails like the Camp Tamarancho trail in Marin County. (Flickr/Marincvb)
California may be famous for its large Hollywood sign, sandy beaches and larger-than-life movie sets, but it also has ample green space just waiting to be explored. In particular, the City of Angels is home to a number of stunning trails. Surprisingly, the state has tracks for avid as well as novice bikers.
From guest author John T Lyons of Moment Bicylces, five unskippable mountain bike trails in California:
The Downieville Downhill offers breathtaking views of Sierra Nevada. The trail was carved during the Gold Rush era when Americans were desperately searching for gold and prosperity. That path would later attract bike riders from all over the nation. The trail ends with a 5,000 vertical-foot drop in 15 miles, famous for being one of the smoothest downhill races on the West Coast.
Although you can bike in Downieville throughout the year, the best time to blaze the path is during the annual Downieville Classic festival. Downieville isn’t for beginners. The rugged terrain poses many challenges to even the most skilled biker.
A less difficult trail to conquer is the Camp Tamarancho trail in Marin County. Before speeding along the path, purchase a one-day permit ($5) from the Boy Scouts of Marin. A yearly pass is also available.
The trail is perfect for beginners seeking to challenge themselves. Most of the trail is fairly easy except for the Serpentine Trail that will satiate the needs of experienced riders. The camp offers impressive views of a lush landscape dotted with gardens and forests. The trail ends with a steep downhill descent and brings you right where you started off.
The Tahoe Rim Trail in Tahoe City easily makes the list of best mountain bike trails in California. Bikers love this single-track because of the striking view it has to offer. Seriously, it’s hard to keep your eyes peeled on the trail and not stop to drink in the remarkable view of Tahoe to the West and Nevada desert to the East.
The Northstar Bike Park is ideal for veterans and is North California’s largest bike park. Two chairlifts take you to drops, rock gardens and downhill runs. Their signature trail, LiveWire, is the first fully irrigated mountain bike trail and a must-ride trail for more advanced riders.
Tickets are required to access the chairlifts. Rentals and gear available at a nearby shop.
New bikers will revel in the Portuguese Bend Reserve with a dazzling view of the beautiful ocean, canyons and ridges. The trail isn’t too challenging but begins with an ascent, the Burma Fire Road. But it’s worth it since you get a spectacular view of Del Cerro Park. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic or to simply stop and take a break before commencing the descent.
It’s essential to take a map along since the trails aren’t well marked. Most people recommend taking the path next to the Ladera Linda Community Center since you can complete your journey on a descent.
There are many more fascinating mountain bike trails in California, but these are must-do trails for avid riders. So ditch the Hollywood tour and see another, more unique side of the west coast.