One of the most well-known advantages of Southern California living is year-round access to outdoor activities. Depending on the time of year, you can go surfing and skiing the same day. Hiking is an all-season mainstay, as are activities on wheels—skateboarding and skating at the beach, scootering across neighborhoods, and taking advantage of the area’s many and varied bike paths. While much of the country has to wait for the summer to celebrate National Biking Month in May, we lucky ducks in the Southwest have all year to explore the serenity of nature and bright rhythm of the city, sometimes concurrently.
Here are a few Southern California bike treks to add to your to-do list:
Ballona Creek Bike Path – 7 Miles
This seven-mile track between the Coast Bike Path in Marina del Rey and Syd Kronenthal Park in Culver City features a wide, smoothly paved path and gentle altitude changes. Start at the beach, where you can spot egrets, herons, and pelicans among the wild grasses, then head east through alternating vistas of quiet nature and bustling brutalist architecture. It’s easy to exit at major streets.
Take it easy: Exit at Sepulveda and cool off with a tropical paleta at Mateo’s Ice Cream and Fruit Bars (4929 Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles). We recommend Coco and Guava!
Take it up a notch: Extend your ride to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. Lock up your bike and conquer the Culver City Stairs for a spectacular view of LA.
Ventura River Trail – 6 Miles
This paved path weaves through farmland and industrial zones and crosses over the Ojai Freeway before dumping into a commercial area of Ventura. Portions have a equestrian path beside it, so keep an eye out for horses.
Take it easy: Catch your breath at Westpark, where you can hydrate at the vintage lion water fountain and take in views at the skatepark. Feeling touristy? After your ride, check out the gardens and artifacts at the Old Mission Basilica San Buenaventura (211 E Main St, Ventura), which dates back to 1782.
Take it up a notch: Want to go the distance? To add a few miles, start in Casita Springs and head toward the ocean, where you can link up with the Omer Rains Coastal Bike Trail; head north for scenic solitude or south past the Ventura Pier for city views. Or, increase your distance and intensity by starting in Ventura and continuing onto the Ventura River Parkway Trail all the way to beautiful, hilly Ojai. (Be sure to stop by our friends at Sespe Creek Collective to pick up some relief for those aching muscles once you get home.)
State Route 56 Bike Path – 10 miles
Take in the contrast between coastal and inland San Diego County on this paved path that runs along SR 56 and has an elevation gain of about 240 feet. Besides one short section, this route is nicely protected from auto traffic. In spring, wildflowers abound.
Take it easy: Start from the west and cap off your ride with a visit to Crafted Culture (13480 Evening Creek Dr, San Diego), which offers elevated yet casual American food and a thoughtfully curated selection of draft beers and tequilas.
Take it up a notch: Use your ride to kick off an active staycation. Check into the Marriott Del Mar (11966 El Camino Real, San Diego) and take a dip in the beautiful pool—shower first, please—before heading to Torrey Pines State Reserve, one of the few remaining salt marshes in Southern California, for a challenging hike with gratifying views of the rugged La Jolla coastline.