TravelTravel Advice

Where Is the Best Mountain Biking in the Bay Area?

I'm headed to San Francisco to visit my buddies, and I want to do some mountain biking while I'm there. What are the must-ride trails in the Bay Area?

Mount Tamalpais via Shutterstock (Photo: Mark R)
mount tamalpais mountain biking san francisco bay area

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Hidden trails are as abundant in the Bay Area as pimple-faced social media moguls are on the Internet. But keep in mind that the hills of Marin County are basically the birthplace of mountain biking. Before you tackle the under-the-radar rides, be sure to make a pilgrimage to some of the classic Bay Area spots. These three should be first on your list.

The Bay Area's Best Biking: China Camp State Park

china camp california mountain biking
China Camp State Park (Photo: Chris Barker/Flickr)

The broad 10-mile lasso of singletrack known as the Bayview Trail has been a Bay Area favorite for nearly as long as bikers have been riding on dirt. The views on this moderately challenging course on the slope of San Pedro Mountain in China Camp State Park in Marin County are as dramatic as any you can find in the West, opening onto several overlooks of San Pablo and San Francisco bays.

The Bay Area's Best Biking: Mt. Tamalpais State Park

mt tamalpais california mountain biking
Mt. Tamalpais's summit (Photo: Chris Barker/Flickr)

Mt. Tam, as it’s nicknamed, is where the sport of mountain biking in America came into existence. While many of the singletrack trails where pioneers like Gary Fisher once roamed are now closed due to overuse, the network of steep fire roads that lead to the summit twist and turn enough to provide a fun, adrenaline-filled workout.

The Bay Area's Best Biking: El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve

california mountain biking riding san francisco
El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve (Photo: Miguel Viera/Flickr)

Known informally as Skeggs Point, the 36 miles of dusty, white-knuckle singletrack through this 2,800-acre protected area outside of Woodside epitomize the best of California riding: towering redwoods and Douglas firs, chaparral-encrusted ridgetops, cratered sandstone towers, and near-vertical drops. The area has limited parking, so carpool if you can.

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Filed To: Adventure Adviser
Lead Photo: Mark R
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