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Best Places to Ride and Run Throughout California

California is an outdoors enthusiast’s dream come true, because there’s seemingly something for every type of adventure activity interest. From the towering alpine mountain landscapes and sandy coastlines to vineyard-draped foothills and expansive desert habitats – here’s how to explore California while walking, running or cycling.


Foxen Canyon Wine Country Ride
Foxen Canyon Road in the Santa Ynez Valley is a beautifully scenic driving route in a top-notch wine tasting spot – but it can also be a fantastically scenic 29.4-mile bike ride. Riders can enjoy spectacular views of the San Rafael Mountains at the summit and expansive vineyard sights throughout.

The Napa Valley Vine Trail
The Napa Valley Vine Trail is an enjoyable destination year-round – but in the spring, the trail from Napa to Yountville is especially picturesque with the arrival of wild mustard season. Bikers and hikers can admire the glowing yellow mustard cover crop which grows between the dormant grape vines.

Paso Robles on Two Wheels
Paso Robles’ incredible scenery and rolling terrain make for an unforgettable biking and tasting experience. Riders can either rent a bike and blaze their own trail along the wide roads of Paso’s wine country, or enjoy a guided tour of wine country with pre-planned spots along the way, led by an expert guide who can share insider information at each stop. 


Oakland’s 19 Miles of Coastline 

Oakland is home to 19 miles of coastline, including Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline’s 741-acre park space which is right along the water near the Oakland Airport. But perhaps one of the most scenic local locations is the East Span of the Bay Bridge Trail, which travels 2.2 miles from Oakland to Yerba Buena Island with designated bike lanes.

Ventura County Vistas
Ventura County’s beachfront city of Oxnard is home to the Pacific Coast Bike Route which runs right through Oxnard Beach Park. Nearby in Ventura, Harmon Canyon Preserve offers 2,000-plus acres of diverse landscapes including downy grasses, wind-kissed vistas and trails with incredible views of local agricultural fields, inland mountains and the Channel Islands off the coast.

Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail
The Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail stretches 18 miles from Castroville in the north to Pacific Grove in the south. This popular paved path hugs the coast following the same route as the old Southern Pacific Railway. It’s a great place to run and bike, and it also offers easy access to local attractions such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row and Old Fisherman's Wharf.

Crescent City’s Scenic Spots
The Crescent City Harbor Trail is a 6-mile multi-use paved path connector off the California Coastal Trail running through Del Norte County. Adventure enthusiasts can run, bike, skate or horseback ride along this stretch of scenic land which starts at South Beach and continues through the Crescent City Harbor.

Bike Rides of Benicia
Recognized by the Amgen Tour of California and Ride Chronicles for its excellent cycling, Benicia offers biking experiences for all skill levels. Visitors can enjoy the city as the perfect home base for either the 50-mile Carquinez Strait Scenic Loop, the Bay Area Ridge Trail or the SF Bay Trail.

Fort Bragg Coastal Trail
In Northern California, Mendocino County’s Fort Bragg Coastline hosts approximately 7 miles of paved multi-use trails to experience a bike ride from multiple starting points – Noyo Headlands Park, Glass Beach, Pudding Creek Trestle and Mackerricher State Park. The pathways are mostly free of motorized vehicles which makes the Fort Bragg Coastline a great place to ride for families with kids.

Los Angeles Sun Soaked Exploration
Greater Los Angeles is home to a plethora of outdoor fitness activities – from a range of beautiful trails to diverse cycling spots. Aside from the iconic Runyon Canyon treks and the legendary trails of Santa Monica State Park, hikers can conquer the trails of Griffith Park’s 53-mile network for views of the entire Los Angeles Basin, below.

San Diego’s Silver Strand and Mission Bay Trails
The 9-mile Silver Strand trail between Coronado and Imperial Beach runs along a portion of the Bayshore Bikeway. This route gives runners and cyclists a pathway paralleling the beach and San Diego Bay to explore what’s considered one of the most beautiful routes in Southern California. 

San Luis Obispo Peaks
The Central Coast’s Pismo Preserve Shell Beach Bluff Trail overlooks panoramic sights of the ocean waves below. At Terrace Hill just outside downtown SLO, hikers will find a great vantage point for  enjoying a picnic or sunset. And nearby Cerro San Luis (also known as Mount Madonna) features 1200’ of elevation with a reward of 360° views of SLO at the peak.

Dana Point
Southern California’s Dana Point is a playground of coastal bluffs and sparkling shorelines. The city’s impressive Headlands Conservation Area Trail System actually connects all the conservation parks and public open spaces with hiking and biking trails, providing easy coastal and beach access.


Historic Western States Trail

The Western States Trail is a 100-plus mile trail that’s known for the annual Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run each June – but its rich history and breathtaking landscapes can be enjoyed year-round. Visitors can experience the ever-changing scenery of the American River along the entirety of its path.

Venturing out in Visalia
Visitors to Visalia can stay active at outdoor spaces like the St. John’s River Trail. This 4-mile paved path connects two popular recreational spots: 70-acre Cutler Park, and 83-acre Riverway Sports Park.

Fresno County Blossoms in Spring
From mid-February until the end of March in Fresno, visitors can find miles of dramatic bursts of pink and white fluttering petals taking over a path known as the Fresno County Blossom Trail. Numerous festivals celebrate this magical scene, with special events including a 10K run and the annual Kings River Blossom Trail Bike Ride.

Cache Creek’s Clear Lake Campground
Cache Creek’s banks burst with natural beauty made for hiking and exploration, easily explored from Clear Lake Campground. A few miles up the lake, visitors will find Clear Lake State Park, which is 590 acres of space including four campgrounds, a large beach and several miles of trails. There’s also Lake County’s most recognizable landmark, and a bucket list hiking spot – the stunning Mt. Konocti.

Inner East Bay Getaways
Mount Diablo is known for its trails that showcase beautiful vistas out to the East Bay and beyond. But those who want a longer and flatter route can explore the 55-mile Iron Horse Regional Trail which follows the Southern Pacific Railroad right-of-way that was established in 1891 from Alameda to Contra Costa County.

Butte County and Bidwell Park 
Chico’s Bidwell Park encompasses 3,670 acres and nearly 11 miles of outdoor space, making it one of the largest city parks in the country. Try the North Rim Trail on foot or on wheels – it’s one of the longest trails in the park, offering sweeping sights along an 8.4-mile out and back route.

Hidden Falls isn’t so Hidden for Adventure
In Placer County, the Hidden Falls trail is a top choice for hikers, runners, bikers and equestrian enthusiasts alike, with more than 25 trails ranging in length from 0.1 to 3.7 miles and a range of difficulty ratings. 


Desert Views are Golden, at Jawbone Canyon

For those looking to experience the beauty of California’s deserts, Jawbone Canyon and Dove Springs Off-Highway Vehicle Area provide hundreds of miles of trails to explore on foot or on a bike. The canyon is located in the Mojave Desert outside Ridgecrest and was previously the location of several gold mines during the Kern River gold rush.

Run – Ride – Hike Through Borrego Springs Uncharted Beauty
Surrounded by mountains and miles of open land, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park makes the unincorporated desert community of Borrego Springs a great option for outdoor adventurers of any age. Cyclists will find plenty of paved roads, or they may venture onto the many dirt trails that branch off into the desert.


Trinity Alps is Wild with Waterfalls

The Trinity Alps Wilderness Area offers backpackers, runners, hikers, mountain bikers and horse packing enthusiasts alike a place to explore. Its 525,627 acres of designated wilderness space sits roughly between the cities of Eureka and Redding, hosting trails with vast elevation changes and sights that include crystal clear lakes and cascading waterfalls.

Take a Hike In Tahoe
South Lake Tahoe is a cycling and hiking mecca with hundreds of miles of trail networks. Try the Flume Trail for unbeatable lake views. Fat tire bikers looking for a single track will enjoy the diverse network of backcountry trails that depart from Big Meadow, in Christmas Valley