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Old 02-13-06, 07:57 AM   #1
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Best place to mountain bike in California??

I am from Barcelona Spain and I will be spending the month of august in California. I would like to take a whole week just to mountain bike but i don't know which would be the best area to go.
I definately like to ride through the forest, little trails going up and down.
Any suggestions?
If there is anybody interested in comimg to Barcelona I would be more than happy to give great information.
There is a very big communitie of riders and great places to ride.
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Old 02-13-06, 11:29 AM   #2
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Wow, California is a very big state so it kind of depends on what area you will be visiting to begin with. Northern Calif is loaded with great places to mtn bike, many of which are on the outskirts of the SF Bay Area - Marin County, San Mateo County, and Santa Cruz are loaded with steep and technical trails that ascend and descend through dense redwood forests. These areas are in close proximity to the coast, so the temp will be comfortable in August.

There is also great riding in the foothills east of Sacramento, but it will be hotter and quite dry at that time of year. Lastly, there is also absolutely gorgeous scenery and riding up in the Lake Tahoe area, although some areas there are wilderness designation and you can't bike.

There are several books on mountain biking in Northern Calif that give details, elev. profiles, etc. Suggest you check Amazon, and order one up. Also throw a post out on the MTB forum and in MTBR forums.
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Old 02-13-06, 12:46 PM   #3
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I live in Southern California and there are tons of places for mountain biking. The only problem is that the summer months are not too popular with locals here due to the extreme heat out in the canyons, foothills, and beyond.....
If possible, try staying near the coasts.
I rarely take my mountain bike out for rides during August & September.
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Old 02-13-06, 05:35 PM   #4
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The Flume Trail in Tahoe!
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Old 02-14-06, 12:31 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by mtnroads
Wow, California is a very big state.

Please let us know where in California you will be so we can give you better advice. I can't think of any part of the state that there isn't good mountain biking within a fairly short drive from (our idea of a short drive might differ from yours, though).
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Old 02-14-06, 05:12 PM   #6
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If you come into wine country north of San Fransisco try Annadel State park. You need at least two days to cover it all. Where ever you are check with a local bike shop for directions. National Parks like Yosemite and Sequoia are not too bike friendly.
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Old 02-20-06, 11:39 AM   #7
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Thanks for your advice.
I was thinking on going to the area of Santa Cruz.
Is there a club where I could possibly join for every day rides?
Anybody knows any?
Thanks a lot
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Old 06-05-07, 11:22 AM   #8
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Marin County, San Anselmo area

Dear Mtnroads,

I read your reply to a cyclist in Spain looking for places in CA to ride trails.... as I am looking to go to Marin County for some mountain bike riding... I looked up some information via and they give descriptions of 4 trails (Bay View Shoreline Trails at China Camp; Ridge Trail to Mt. Barnabe; Pine Mtn. Loop; and Eldredge Grade To East Peak Loop). The descriptions seemed interesting/challenging regarding technically/physically.... I picked this area, as it's a short distance from the San Francisco airport.... and I'll be car-less.... plan to take public trans to the area or possibly bike if I can leave a bike box at the airport... lots of details here to wire-out...

Question(s): What town/area is centally located, so as to bike not great distances to these trails? Looking on maps, it seems San Anselmo is a central spot... I know nothing of the town of San Anselmo... is it a walk friendly "main-street" kind of town? If I'm looking for such a "town" which is centrally located to the trails, would you recommended any place else - San Rafael? Are there are any other areas within Marin County that you recommend - please advise... Balt/Philly aka Dennis
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Old 06-05-07, 11:31 AM   #9
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The Santa Cruz area is beautiful. I've logged many miles on endless singletrack in that area.
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Old 06-05-07, 11:49 AM   #10
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Santa Cruz is PERFECT for mountain biking. I lived there for 13 years.

Buy this map, it is available in most of the SC bike shops.

The trails I'll mention are on this map, although there are more trails in real life than on the map. But the map will get you started.

For excellent forest singletrack, slightly-to-somewhat technical, moderately steep, green and beautful, swoopy, great traction, you will want to explore Wilder Ranch and the adjacent University of California & Graywhale areas. There are miles of singletrack in there. Many fire roads, as well.

For steeper and more tech-y terrain, you can also try the Demonstration Forest, in Aptos. (10 minutes drive south, or ride there from SC) You can drive over to the back side (highland drive) and do multiple loops, or you can ride up 14 miles of fire road, drop down the backside on singletrack, then climb out. gets you about 40 miles of riding, lots of elevation gain.

Big Basin state park is a nice fireroad loop, not technical, but quite beautiful and relaxing.

If you want a maze of tiny etched-into-the-hillside trails with a big dropoff on one side, and lots of roots, go to the peninsula (north of santa cruz, 45 minute drive, skyline boulevard) and ride El Corte de Madera and Purrissima Creek.

For big rocky technical fire roads (hot and dry) with great views, go up to Marin and ride Mt. Tamalpias, the birthplace of mountainbiking. (this is what balt_philly1 is mentioning, pine mtn loop, eldridge are good, china camp is too short to bother with, there's another one called Boy Scout Loop that requires a pass but is worth it if you love switchbacks.)

Don't bother with Mt. Diablo, too hot that season and kind of boring.

Sorry I don't know any clubs, but try the stores below.
Good bike shops:
Another Bike Shop
Family Cycling Center

Tahoe is great too, but I don't know it very well.

Make sure you get someone to show you what Poison Oak looks like, and avoid it. It grows all over there, and gives you a nasty rash.

Have a great time! I don't live there anymore, or I'd offer to show you around.

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Old 06-06-07, 12:54 AM   #11
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There are trails to suit all levels in Yreka, CA and it is rare to even see another rider on them. Just go to the bike shop (there is only one), near the UPS office, and ask for routes.
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