Dave Steiner & Ingrid Backstrom mountain biking the Tahoe Rim Trail, Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

4 of the Most Beautiful Mountain Bike Routes in California

California Outdoor Cycling
by Kate Sep 27, 2016

LOOKING TO GET OUT mountain biking while in California? Here are some favorite spots.


Downieville () ) ) ) ) tonemapped PS by Marc Wentworth on 500px.com

Marc Wentworth

A historic gold rush town turned mountain bike paradise, it’s refreshing to visit a town where mountain bikers are not just tolerated but courted. The town fills up for the Downieville Bike Classic race and is hopping all summer. Yuba Expeditions and Downieville Outfitters offer shuttles uphill for those who prefer to fly down. Afterward, your ride, relax on the patio above the river at La Cocina del Oro for Mexican food or visit the historic St. Charles Bar for a beer and camaraderie.

Tahoe Rim and Flume Trail

Man and woman mountain biking the Tahoe Rim Trail, Lake Tahoe, Nevada. by Adventure Joe on 500px.com

Adventure Joe

Mountain biking with a view. Much of Tahoe Rim, the 100 of the 165 mile system, is mountain biker friendly. A shuttle is necessary, set it up at the Tunnel Creek Cafe for drop off at Tahoe Meadows. Eventually the Rim Trail runs into the Flume Trail. Descend back to the Tunnel Creek Cafe and bask in the glory of your ride.

Mammoth Mountain Bike Park

Earth is Alive by Diana Vitoshka on 500px.com

Diana Vitoshka

In the summer a number of California’s ski resorts lead another life as bike parks. Mammoth is arguably the best, and certainly the largest, with 3500 acres and over 80 miles of singletrack. While there are quite a few expert-level trails and features, there’s also a beginner area that’s great for kids as well as cross-country loops great for intermediate riders. Then head to the Food Cache Cafe for a healthy bowl, or the Latin Market Taqueria for tacos.

Soquel Demonstration Forest / Forest of Nisene Marks State Parks

Flow Trail TR7 by Cess Ara on 500px.com

Cess Ara

Soquel Demonstration State Forest, or “Demo,” offers trails for intermediate and advanced riders just south of Santa Cruz. You can also ride on certain trails the nearby Forest of Nisene Marks State Park to extend your ride. Shuttle Smith Adventures offers shuttles to the top of Nisene Marks. Then head to El Chipotle or Taqueria La Cabana to refuel after your ride.


East of Donner by Bill Dally on 500px.com

Bill Dally
Another ski resort by winter / bike park by summer, Northstar is a bit west of Lake Tahoe and also offers trails and features for all levels, as well ask the occasional lake view. Wild Cherries in Truckee is a great nearby cafe to fuel up on your way up to Northstar. If you’re heading down to the lake after your ride, stop by the Burrito Window to pick up food to eat by the lake.

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