A Family Biking Adventure in the Redwood Forest

On Western Spirit's guided mountain-biking tour of California, even the youngest kids can get a taste of the trail


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Pedaling beneath a canopy of 2,000-year-old giants in Redwoods National Park is a lesson in humility for even the youngest riders, a reminder that there are things in nature both bigger and more ancient that humans. You’ll see plenty of the titanic trees and much more on Western Spirit’s five-day Redwoods National Park Family Trip.

Starting from Crescent City, about 75 miles north of Arcata, the trip alternates between riding—up to 18 miles per day, with shorter options for the kids and more technical routes for parents—hiking among the big trees, and wandering along remote, Pacific beaches. Nights are spent at two cushy base camps in Jedediah Smith and Prairie Creek State Park, and three guides instead of the usual two ensure that there’s always someone to hang out with the kids when their legs get tired, so you can keep spinning.

The mostly wide, gentle, pine-needle-blanketed trails make this an ideal intro to touring for young ones. That’s not to say that all the trails are cruisers, though: On day three, the trip delivers its first dose of singletrack, en route to Fern Canyon. The next day features a mile-long hike to Redwood National Park’s historic Lady Bird Johnson Grove before the parents split off to ride Holter Ridge’s steep climbs and swooping, fast descents. The last day is devoted entirely to the coast, with a three-mile ramble along Hidden Beach to a series of tide pools, teeming with anemones, starfish, and crabs.

Kids need to be at least four and comfortable riding on a trailercycle (Western Spirit rents tag-a-longs as well as Specialized Hot Rocks and mini Stumpjumpers for older kids). Trips run June through August, when the ocean keeps temperatures in the pleasant high 60s. Rain is minimal, but don’t begrudge the occasional coastal fog—the redwoods depend on it. $1,185 per person.

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