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CALIFORNIA SPORTS PARADISE
Your portal to outdoor sports in California
CALIFORNIA'S ON-LINE MAGAZINE FOR OUTDOOR SPORTS

DAY HIKING
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ROAD BIKING
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Northern Sierras
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MOUNTAIN BIKING
Northern Coast
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Northern Coast
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SURFING
Northern Coast
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SOUTHERN COAST'S BEST
MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDES

San Luis Obispo County

Montana De Oro Bluff Trail

A nice and easy 4 mile round trip might not sound like it's worth the effort, but this ride will take you along the edge of one of California's most beautiful beach parks. Translated into English, Mountain of Gold, was so named because of the brilliant spring displays of California Golden Poppies. Montana De Oro is located north and west of San Luis Obispo. Take Highway 101 north from SLO, exit at Los Osos Valley Road, then continue about 12 miles until you see the park sign. The trailhead is located on the west side of Pecho Valley Road near the park headquarters. Follow the trail south along the bluffs. This is a good spot for whale watching in the fall and spring. When you reach Pecho Valley Road again, you may either backtrack or follow the road back to where you began.

Montana De Oro Islay Creek Loop

A longer, and somewhat more challenging 8 mile ride in Montana De Oro, can be found on this trail. From park headquarters, take the Islay Creek fire road through 3 miles of gently climbing woods past the waterfall. When you get to East Boundary Trail, turn left and begin the hard climb up to the ridge. About 5 miles into the ride you'll see another trail, turn left and climb up Hazard Peak. The views from here will knock you off your bike. From here, the rest is all downhill.

If you're looking to add some serious miles to your trip, you might consider taking your fat tires on the road and combining either of the above two rides with all or part of the San Luis Obispo to Morro Bay Tour.

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Santa Barbara area

Red Rock Loop

A moderate 6 1/2 mile ride through the Los Padres National Forest begins near Gibralter Dam. From Santa Barbara take Highway 154 over San Marcos Pass to Paradise Road. Turn right on Paradise and follow it to the end where you should bite the bullet and pay the parking fees. The trailhead is the fire road which begins at the dirt parking area. With a really tough climb right out of the chute, it only gets easier as it goes. Follow the road up to the dam and you have your choice of roads to return. The high road is more mellow and the low road is a little more exciting. If you get hot, you'll be able to stop at one of the many swimming holes for a dip. This area is very popular and can get crowded in summer, but if you choose to go earlier in the year, be warned, you may have some wet stream crossings and downed trees to contend with.

Little Pine Mountain Loop

This is a difficult 20 mile round trip which will provide a full day of some of the best mountain biking the Southern Coast has to offer. Same directions as the last ride only don't go to the end of Paradise Road. About 5 miles into Paradise Road there is a turn off to the left for Upper Oso Camp. Follow that road to the end. You'll be riding the forest service road which is just across the gate. Don't let the appearance of this climb scare you off. It climbs across the face of a 1000 foot cliff, but the angle is steady and the climb is do-able if you pace yourself. The views from the top are the stuff mountain biking legends are made of. Please, please be careful on the way down.

Ventura County area

Chief Peak Road

A moderately difficult ride of 15 miles, Chief Peak Road takes you to thrilling vistas of the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Follow Highway 33 north of Ojai 15 miles to Rose Valley Road. Take Rose Valley road east to a point about 3 miles past the Wheeler Gorge Ranger Station where you'll find a small lake on the left. This ride begins on Chief Peak Road at the Rose Valley Campground near the lake. The first two miles is a tough climb on a paved road which changes to gravel at the intersection with Nordhoff Road. Follow Chief Peak Road to (what else) Chief Peak, where you'll want to take a short rest and enjoy the scenery before the thrilling downhill which will take you back to the trailhead.

 



CALIFORNIA SPORTS PARADISE
Your portal to outdoor sports in California
CALIFORNIA'S ON-LINE MAGAZINE FOR OUTDOOR SPORTS


 
 
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