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Best Bike Routes in South Bay: Family-Friendly Rides South of the City


When you’re riding your bike around the Bay Area, it can be a bit of a challenge to avoid at least one grueling hill along the way. Of course, those hills often come with pretty amazing views, but it turns out that just south of the city, there are plenty of beautiful rides to be had without paying the steep uphill price of San Francisco and Marin County.

In today’s post, we’ve collected just a few of the best family-friendly rides around the South Bay that you can try out this weekend, no matter if you’re an expert cyclist or it’s your first ride in a while; there’s something for everyone just outside the city.

The Bay Ridge Trail, Crystal Springs

This one requires a little extra effort, but this one-of-a-kind ride is worth it. You need reservations in order to ride on this trail, which means it can’t be a spontaneous trip; however, it does mean you’ll get to enjoy relative privacy with your group as you take in this 10-mile ride. Surrounded by natural beauty, you can take in views of old growth Douglas fir trees, watershed lands, and of course, the Pacific Ocean.

Also known as the Fifield-Cahill Ridge Trail, this trail just goes one way; when you get to the end, a shuttle will take you back to where you started. Along the way you’ll pass views of Quarry Gate, Sneath Lake, Crystal Springs, Montara Mountain, and the wide open beauty of the South Bay. You can reserve your ride at http://www.sfwater.org/index.aspx?page=147.

Los Gatos Creek Trail, San Jose

If you’re looking for a ride where you can stop for a picnic along the way, this 8-mile trail could be just what you’ve been dreaming of. This trail has multiple access points, making it easy to start anywhere, although most people choose to start at Campbell Park where there is plenty of parking. As you ride along this flat, paved, vehicle-free trail, you’ll pass right along side Vasona Lake County Park, where you can easily pull over for a break and a snack anytime.

This trail rides just alongside Los Gatos Creek, and affords you plenty of views of natural beauty along the way. Enjoy being surrounded by birds, plum trees, and eucalyptus forests along the way until you reach the turnaround point at the Lexington Reservoir.

Portola Redwoods State Park, La Honda

Inside this state park, you’ll find a 10-mile loop that takes you through a forest of redwood trees on an easy ride that anyone in the family can enjoy. You’ll follow Haul Road from Portola Redwoods State Park over to Memorial County park on an even, easy dirt road path near Pescadero Creek. If you are eager to get out of the city and enjoy a relaxing day on your bike, look no further.

Adobe Creek Loop Trail and South Shoreline Bike Trail, Palo Alto

Okay, so most of these trails have focused on views of the South Bay’s beautiful landscapes; this one offers views of something a little bit different: airplanes!

Starting on the Adobe Creek Loop Trail, you can ride along the water in a loop over to East Palo Alto and back. As you ride, you’ll get to see small planes taking off and landing at the nearby airfield, while also taking in the scenery by the water.

If you want to extend your ride, you can take on the South Shoreline Bike Trail; this one isn’t a loop, but at only 6 miles and fairly flat terrain, it’s not a huge commitment to go there and back. This ride will take you past Moffett Air Station and Field, where you can check out huge airplane hangars and maybe even see a blimp take off.

These rides are mostly paved and flat, although there is a bit of a bumpy dirt road patch on the Adobe Creek Loop Trail that you might want to watch out for.

Los Alamitos Creek Bike Trail, San Jose

This trail starts out in San Jose at Almaden Lake Park and runs for 7 flat, easy miles to McKean Road. Along the way, you’ll ride along Los Alamitos Creek while enjoying abundant shade from trees growing right next to the trail. This trail is recommended for families that want to ride with young children, since it is extremely flat, vehicle-free, and also paved, making for a smooth, safe ride the whole way.

Take your bike out to the South Bay!

For an easy ride that still has some beautiful views, try out the South Bay the next time you’re out on your bike. While there are certainly challenges to be had south of the city if you’re looking for them, the South Bay has abundant options for you to bring the entire family out for a fun, relaxing ride together on your bikes.