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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
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. 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
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.