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LA'S BEST BIKE TRAILS

12 PLACES

UPDATED JUL 14, 2020

From bustling to downright serene, our city is crisscrossed with stretches best explored by bike. If you’re looking for a quick jaunt or you’re in it for the long haul, we’ve gathered up the must-try trails.

author

NICHOLAS MANNING

FITT LOS-ANGELES CONTRIBUTOR

Head on over to Griffith Park for a nine-mile, scenic loop in California’s second-largest urban park. Begin at Crystal Springs Dr., continue onto Western Heritage Wy., to Zoo Dr., then to Griffith Park Dr. and back to Crystal Springs to complete the loop. Along the tree-lined path, you’ll pass quintessential LA sites, like The Autry National Center and the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens! You can also add some elevation gain (and beautiful panoramas of the city) to your ride by climbing to the nearby Griffith Observatory.

The Ballona Creek Bike Path is short, but there's tons to see along the way. Starting at Syd Kronenthal Park in east Culver City and extending seven miles until joining the Strand in Playa Del Rey, this flat bike path passes the Culver City Stairs, a popular workout spot, and the Ballona Wetlands, a space full of lush greenery and wildlife (like great blue herons and snowy egret rookeries). It all culminates along the Pacific Ocean, where lucky cyclists can spot the distant Santa Monica Mountains on a clear day.

The Arroyo Seco Bike Path gives biking buffs a brief yet beautiful two-mile link between Southeast Pasadena and Los Angeles. You'll descend onto the path near the horse stables in Arroyo Seco Park, pass under several bridges, and enjoy shade provided by tall oak and sycamore trees that parallel your ride. As soon as you start getting lost in this route, it’ll (unfortunately) be time to climb out of the Arroyo Seco, where you’ll end at Montecito Heights Community Center.

For our friends in the Valley, The Metro Orange Line Bike Path is a practical and scenic 18-mile rail trail that parallels the Metro Orange Line bus route. Starting at the North Hollywood Metro Station at Chandler Boulevard and ending at the Chatsworth Station, you'll come across plant-lined streets and plenty of public art. You can also take a detour and visit Anthony C. Beilenson Park, where you'll be rewarded with the cool air of Lake Balboa and shade under the (perhaps flowering!) cherry trees.

True to its name, the Shoreline Pedestrian Bikepath runs along the white sands of Long Beach for a short and sweet five-mile trip. Starting at Alamitos Bay and ending in Shoreline Village, this 17-foot-wide path has two six-foot-wide lanes dedicated to beach cruisin’, meaning you won't have to worry about pedestrians. Peddle the entire stretch and soak up views of the Pacific Ocean, Palos Verdes, and the mouth of the San Gabriel River.

We love the San Gabriel River Bike Path because it connects two of our favorite LA features: the Pacific Ocean and the San Gabriel Mountains. This 38-mile, paved trail is lined with trees and parallels the San Gabriel River through El Dorado Regional Park, extending to street surfaces near the Alamitos Bay Marina. At the end of the day (the route is long, friends), it offers the opportunity for bikers to ride their hearts out toward an ocean view sunset.

Take the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk for a five-mile, surprisingly scenic romp along the LA River. Beginning in Atwater Village, you'll discover a dirt-bottom (as opposed to concrete) portion of the river, which is home to miniature islands, colorful foliage, and birds like the green heron and great egret. This route does get crowded, though, so keep your eyes and ears open if you plan on zipping (we’d advise a slow roll) through this locale. You can also take a quick detour to Griffith Park, Oso Park, or Rattlesnake Park to lengthen your ride or simply break away from the masses.

The Strand snakes 22 miles along the California coast starting at Torrance County Beach and shooting all the way up to Will Rogers State Beach. With the ocean breeze at your back and sea salt in the air, you can bike onto this flat, winding cement path to breathe in LA’s beach communities. From exploring the Santa Monica Pier to perusing shops and people-watching on the Venice boardwalk, The Strand connects bikers with several of Los Angeles’ coastal landmarks. And if you’re feeling particularly adventurous (or maybe just hot after a long ride), take a dip in the Pacific Ocean to cool down.

Tackle this 24-mile circuit of rolling hills in Palos Verdes and San Pedro for a challenging ride with breathtaking vistas. Follow Palos Verdes Dr. along the Palos Verdes Peninsula from the south to the east and loop back around to complete the Donut. Along the way, you have the chance to take in PV’s rugged, coastal features and some maritime structures like Point Vicente Lighthouse, Point Fermin Lighthouse, and Fort MacArthur. Heads up: While most of this route consists of dedicated bike lanes, be ready to share the road with cars at certain points, too.

Starting at the Balboa Blvd. parking lot near the LA River, The Sepulveda Basin River Loop covers nine miles within the 2,000-acre Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area. You’ll ride along another dirt-bottom portion of the LA River and experience verdant tree life. Continue on and you’ll see Lake Balboa and the adjoining Woodley Avenue Park, where Japanese gardens, cricket fields, a wildlife preserve, and a field for radio-controlled aircraft entertain those not on two wheels.

Touted as the longest dead-end road in Los Angeles, this five-mile (one-way) curvy sliver of asphalt borders the Santa Monica Mountains in Brentwood. Begin where Sunset Boulevard hits Mandeville Canyon and take the road all the way to its end for a total of 1,000 feet in elevation gain. The best part? You’ll be sharing the road with few vehicles, only those heading to their (very nice) homes or those heading on up to Westridge Trail for a run, hike, or mountain ride.

In LA’s westside, San Vicente Blvd. gives bikers a dedicated lane to cruise on from Ocean Ave. to Wilshire. It’s a four-mile stretch that provides bikers with a lively mix of homes, shops, and restaurants to gaze upon from one of the oldest (and widest) streets in the city. This route is super popular and often sees large cycling groups on weekends, so watch out for speed demons.

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