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The 11 Coolest Bike Trails in Southern California
Health & Fitness

The 11 Coolest Bike Trails in Southern California

If anything is going to make you fall back in love with cycling, it’s the spectacular bike trails in Southern California.

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5 min read

June 04, 2021

There’s nothing quite like hopping on your bike and cycling along the best bike trails in Southern California. Dreamy ocean vistas, captivating city skylines, and lush forested roads make SoCal’s landscape the most diverse place to explore on two wheels. Frequented by serious and recreational bikers alike, California’s top bike rides will satisfy both tour de France die-hards and leisurely pedalers.

What are you waiting for? Don’t let your bike collect any more dust—it’s time to bring your two-wheeler back out for a spin. If anything is going to make you fall back in love with cycling, it’s the spectacular bike trails in Southern California.

SoCal Bike Trails you Won't Want to Miss

Stunning views are guaranteed along the Torrey Pines Loop, so hop on your bike and explore the trail to see them all.

1. Torrey Pines Loop

Location: Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, Del Mar

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 2.3 miles

Route: Loop

If you’re looking for a fun biking experience and magnificent scenery, the Torrey Pines Loop is the best San Diego bike trail for that. You’ll ride at an elevation of over 1,000 feet and have quick access to the best beaches in the area along this SoCal bike trail. Too tired to cycle back? The Pacific Surfliner will take you back with the most beautiful coastal views throughout your journey. 

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2. Santa Ana River West Trail

Location: Newport Beach, Orange County

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 22.8 miles

Route: Point to point

The Santa Ana bike trail gives you glimpses of a few different SoCal terrains. Loved by cyclists and hikers alike, this trail is split into the upper, middle, and lower regions. 

The lower section provides cyclists with a rustic riverside biking experience. The middle trail is the more urbanized, and the upper is the most challenging with high elevations and mountain passes. Traversing all sections gives you a biking experience in California like no other.

The San Gabriel River Bike Path is accessible year-round and has the most flowing water after the mountain snow melts in the spring months.

3. San Gabriel River Bike Path

Location: Azusa, Los Angeles County

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 37.3 miles

Route: Point to point

Don’t let the length of the San Gabriel River Bike Path intimidate you. This SoCal bike trail is point to point with plenty of accesses. While you definitely can, you don’t have to complete it in one go. The entirety of this trail is paved and the majority of it is flat, therefore making it wheelchair accessible as well.

4. Kern River Parkway Trail

Location: Kern River Parkway Park, Tupman

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 20.5 miles

Route: Point to point

A favorite among Bakersfield residents, the Kern River Parkway Trail offers beautiful riverside views and a wide, paved path for easy cycling. The scenery along this bike trail in Southern California constantly changes, so you’ll also see the Sierra Nevada mountains and Lake Ming on your journey. If you have enough time on your hands, stop by landmarks along the way like the Kern County Museum and Sam Lynn Ballpark.

The Best Beach Bike Trails in Southern California

You'll find this spot in Long Beach filled with cyclists, rollerbladers, skateboarders, and beach bums. Want to join them next time?

5. Long Beach Shoreline Bike Path

Location: Long Beach, Los Angeles County

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 7.3 miles

Route: Out and back

Complete your getaway to Long Beach with a bike ride along its white sandy shores. Begin your cycling adventure in Shoreline Village with views of both the Queen Mary and the Aquarium of the Pacific, and ride all the way to Alamitos Bay. Don’t forget to admire the palm trees, crashing waves, and beachfront homes as you traverse one of the best beach bike trails in Southern California.

6. Marvin Braude Trail 

Location: Will Rogers State Beach, Pacific Palisades

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 19.5 miles

Route: Point to point

When it comes to bike trails in Los Angeles, you can’t get more prolific than the Marvin Braude Trail. You can easily make a full day out of exploring this bike trail in Southern California. You’ll pedal over paved paths and along SoCal’s best beaches the entire way. And if the views aren’t enough to keep you entertained, the many shops and eateries en route are bound to make you do a double-take.

Enjoy endless beaches, seaside towns, and a trail that allows you to enjoy the beauty of Southern California at its finest.

7. West Oceanfront to Huntington Beach Bike Trail

Location: Newport Beach, Orange County

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 12.8 miles

Route: Point to point

What does it take to make the list of Southern California's best beach bike trails? Some would say seaside towns, pretty beaches, and a trail that allows you to enjoy coastal beauty at its best. Well, that’s exactly what the West Oceanfront to Huntington Beach Bike Trail is all about. You'll find numerous restaurants both at the start and end of this trail, so reward yourself with an iconic California meal when you're done cycling this SoCal bike trail.

8. Cabrillo Boulevard Bike Path

Location: Santa Barbara

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 4.6 miles

Route: Out and back 

Perhaps the most popular bike path in Santa Barbara, this bike trail extends from Leadbetter Beach to Butterfly Beach. An easygoing ride in nature, this SoCal bike trail passes by awesome Santa Barbara landmarks you should stop and admire. Stearns Wharf, Chase Palm Park, and East Beach are some of the must-sees along the way.

Top Destinations for Mountain Biking in Southern California

A bad day on a mountain bike always beats a good day at the office. Luckily, there are no bad days on this trail.

9. The Luge: Santiago Truck Trail Loop

Location: Lake Forest, Orange County

Level of Difficulty: Hard

Distance: 7.2 miles

Route: Loop

As one of the best mountain biking trails for people with a little experience under their belt, the Luge is definitely not for the faint of heart. Bike in a spectacular forest setting with rather dangerous twists and turns as you take in views like no other. A top mountain biking route in California, this SoCal bike trail is bound to make anyone break a sweat.

10. Cheeseboro Loop

Location: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Malibu

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 13 miles

Route: Loop

Mountain biking in Southern California is a world of its own. Disconnect from your daily life and connect with the wilderness of the Santa Monica Mountains as you traverse the Cheeseboro Loop. Start by pedaling up the Palo Comado Canyon Trail before linking up with the Las Virgenes Canyon fire road. Once there, you’ll connect with the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Trail and find yourself back where you started.

Life is better on a mountain bike, and the partially paved Backbone Trail in Santa Monica National Recreation Area makes it even more incredible.

11. Backbone Trail: Encinal Canyon

Location: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Malibu

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 10.1 miles

Route: Point to point

Located in a forest setting near Malibu, this bike trail in Southern California is a treat. The route is partially paved, well maintained, and generally not very crowded. However, it is shared by hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders—make sure not to bump into anyone!

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