11/3/23 Canyon.com
11/3/23 Canyon.com

Orange County’s Greatest Bike Trails for All Skill Levels

With its year-round warm weather, diverse terrain, and bike-friendly routes, Orange County is a great place to explore on two wheels.

Orange County’s Greatest Bike Trails for All Skill Levels Orange County’s Greatest Bike Trails for All Skill Levels

The obvious highlights are the scenic rides along the coast, but you’ll also find challenging mountain and gravel trails and paved inland routes. The county has invested in bike lanes and bike-friendly infrastructure, so it's easy and safe to get around. And, of course, Orange County is home to some of California’s most beautiful beaches and parks, so you can enjoy stunning views while getting in a workout.






Best paved bike trails in Orange County for adventurous family rides

Orange County is a great place for a ride with the family. Check out some of these easy, paved tours on one of our hybrid bikes or electric bikes.

Family ride #1: Salt Creek Bike Trail (La Hermosa Park - Pooch Park)

The tour at one glance

  • Level: easy to moderate
  • Path condition: paved
  • Starting point: La Hermosa Park
  • Highlights: Beautiful landscapes, family friendly atmosphere
  • Length of the route: 4 miles
  • Altitude difference: some elevations
  • Travel time: 45 minutes – 1 hour
  • Total distance: 4 miles
  • Cycle path: 4 miles

  • View the tour

The route between La Hermosa Park and Pooch Park is ideal for families due to its family-friendly atmosphere and scenic surroundings. Highlights include picturesque landscapes, designated bike paths, and the opportunity to explore nature together while enjoying a leisurely bike ride.

Family ride #1: Salt Creek Bike Trail (La Hermosa Park - Pooch Park) Family ride #1: Salt Creek Bike Trail (La Hermosa Park - Pooch Park)

Family ride #2: Huntington Beach Bike Trail

The tour at one glance

  • Level: easy
  • Path condition: paved
  • Starting point: Huntington City Beach, near the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and Main Street in Huntington Beach, California
  • Highlights: Huntington Beach Pier, Main Street, picnic areas
  • Length of the route: 8.5 miles
  • Travel time: 1 – 1.5 miles
  • Total distance: 8.5 miles
  • Cycle path: 8.5 miles

  • View the tour

Along the Huntington Beach Bike Trail, families can enjoy the iconic Huntington Beach Pier, explore the bustling Main Street, witness stunning sunsets over the Pacific Ocean, and experience the vibrant beach culture. The trail also offers access to nearby parks, picnic areas, and charming seaside neighborhoods.

Family ride #3: Santa Ana River Trail

The tour at one glance

  • Level: easy
  • Path condition: paved
  • Starting point: Yorba Linda
  • Highlights: Beautiful river views, wildlife, parks
  • Length of the route: 27 miles
  • Altitude difference: minimal elevation
  • Travel time: 4 – 5 hours
  • Total distance: 27 miles
  • Cycle path: 27 miles

  • View the tour

The Santa Ana River Trail from Yorba Linda to Huntington Beach features highlights such as picturesque river views, serene nature landscapes, wildlife sightings, and access to parks and recreational areas. Along the way, you can also enjoy the charming ambiance of Yorba Linda, explore scenic spots along the Santa Ana River, and eventually reach the vibrant coastal atmosphere of Huntington Beach.

Family ride #3: Santa Ana River Trail Family ride #3: Santa Ana River Trail

Family ride #4: Back Bay Loop Trail

The tour at one glance

  • Level: easy
  • Path condition: mostly paved
  • Starting point: Back Bay Science Center
  • Highlights: Back Bay, marine life, educational signs, Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve
  • Length of the route: 11.4 miles
  • Altitude difference: 485 feet
  • Travel time: 2 hours
  • Total distance: 11.4 miles
  • Cycle path: 11.4 miles

  • View the tour

This much loved multi-purpose-trail is an 11.4 mile loop that takes you through an ecological reserve with beautiful estuaries. It offers family-friendly highlights such as panoramic views of the picturesque Back Bay, opportunities to spot various bird species and marine life, educational interpretive signs along the trail, and the chance to explore the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve, enhancing the outdoor experience for families.

Family ride #5: Coyote Creek Bikeway

The tour at one glance

  • Level: easy
  • Path condition: paved, well-maintained
  • Starting point: W. Imperial Highway near La Mirada
  • Highlights: Car-free pathway, views of the creek, wildlife
  • Length of the route: 5.75 miles
  • Altitude difference: 110 feet
  • Travel time: 45 minutes – 60 minutes
  • Total distance: 5.75 miles
  • Cycle path: 5.75 miles

  • View the tour

The Coyote Creek Bikeway is excellent for families, offering a safe and scenic route for cycling and walking. Highlights include a car-free pathway, picturesque views of the creek, opportunities for wildlife sightings, and a family-friendly environment, making it an ideal outdoor adventure for all ages.

Best road rides around Orange County

Orange County has many enjoyable rides that you can tackle with a good road bike. Here are three that are definitely worth your time.

Road ride #1: Santiago Canyon Loop

The tour at one glance

  • Level: difficult
  • Path condition: paved
  • Starting point: Baker Ranch Community Park
  • Highlights: Santiago Canyon, challenging climbs
  • Length of the route: 31 miles
  • Altitude difference: 1700 feet
  • Travel time: 3 – 4 hours
  • Total distance: 31 miles
  • Secondary road: Santiago Canyon Road (State Route 241)
  • Road: portions of Modjeska Grade Road

  • View the tour

The Santiago Canyon Loop offers road cyclists a challenging and scenic route with rolling hills and beautiful landscapes. Highlights include the picturesque Santiago Canyon, scenic vistas, challenging climbs, and a mix of rural and suburban surroundings, making it an exhilarating and visually rewarding experience for road cycling enthusiasts.

Road ride #1: Santiago Canyon Loop Road ride #1: Santiago Canyon Loop

Road ride #2: Aliso Creek Bikeway

The tour at one glance

  • Level: challenging
  • Path condition: paved and unpaved sections, well-maintained
  • Starting point: Creekside Park
  • Highlights: Smooth pavement, beautiful views of the creek
  • Length of the route: 13.2 miles
  • Altitude difference: 1000 feet
  • Travel time: 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Total distance: 13.2 miles
  • Cycle path: 13.2 miles

  • View the tour

The Aliso Creek Bikeway is excellent for road cycling due to its scenic route, smooth pavement, and minimal traffic interruptions. Highlights include picturesque views of the creek, access to parks and green spaces, and a family-friendly environment, making it a delightful and enjoyable experience for road cyclists of all levels.

Best gravel rides of Orange County

Gravel routes can be tough to find in Orange County, but here are a few popular options for gravel bikes.

Gravel ride #1: Harding Truck Trail

The tour at one glance

  • Level: easy (beginner-friendly)
  • Path condition: dirt trail, fire road
  • Starting point: close to Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Length of the route: 9.1 miles
  • Altitude difference: 1,881 feet
  • Travel time: 1 – 1.5 hours
  • Total distance: 9.1 miles
  • Cycle path: 9.1 miles

  • View the tour

The Harding Truck Trail is ideal for gravel biking, offering a rugged and adventurous off-road experience. Highlights include challenging climbs, scenic mountain vistas, serene wilderness surroundings, and the opportunity to connect with nature on a less-traveled path, making it a thrilling and immersive gravel biking adventure.

Gravel ride #1: Harding Truck Trail Gravel ride #1: Harding Truck Trail

Gravel ride #2: Bommer Ridge Trail

The tour at one glance

  • Level: challenging
  • Path condition: dirt/gravel road
  • Starting point: Bommer Canyon Trailhead, Bommer Canyon, Irvine, CA
  • Length of the route: 4 miles
  • Altitude difference: 450 feet climb, 570 feet descent
  • Travel time: 17 minutes
  • Total distance: 4 miles
  • Cycle path: 4 miles

  • View the tour

The Bommer Ridge Trail is great for gravel biking, offering a mix of challenging terrain, scenic views, and a sense of seclusion. Highlights include sweeping vistas of Orange County, technical sections for an exhilarating ride, and the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of Bommer Canyon on a gravel bike adventure.

Best mountain bike trails around Orange County

Inland OC has some great mountain bike trails. Here are two of our favorites.

Mountain bike trail #1: Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park

The tour at one glance

  • Level: intermediate / difficult
  • Path condition: dirt road
  • Starting point: Aliso Creek Trail
  • Highlights: technical sections, exhilarating descents, stunning canyon views
  • Length of the route: 17 miles
  • Altitude difference: 1,540 feet
  • Travel time: 2.5 hours
  • Total distance: 17 miles
  • Cycle path: 17 miles

  • View the tour

The Aliso and Wood Canyons Tour is excellent for mountain biking, providing a thrilling and diverse trail experience. Highlights include technical singletrack sections, exhilarating descents, challenging climbs, stunning canyon views, and the chance to explore a variety of ecosystems, making it a must-ride for mountain biking enthusiasts seeking adventure.

Mountain bike trail #1: Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park Mountain bike trail #1: Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park

Mountain bike trail #2: Aliso Creek Riding and Hiking Trail

The tour at one glance

  • Level: beginner/intermediate
  • Path condition: unpaved
  • Starting point: Awma Road
  • Length of the route: 3 miles
  • Altitude difference: 104 feet
  • Travel time: 30 – 45 minutes
  • Total distance: 3 miles
  • Cycle path: 3 miles

  • View the tour

The Aliso Creek Riding and Hiking Trail is ideal for mountain biking, offering a mix of smooth paths, technical sections, and scenic beauty. Highlights include a dedicated trail for riders, challenging climbs and descents, beautiful creek views, and the opportunity to explore the diverse terrain of Aliso and Wood Canyons, creating an exciting and memorable mountain biking experience.

Enjoy nature on Southern California bike trails

Orange County’s beaches put it on the map, but there is some gorgeous nature that can be enjoyed further inland. And what better way to explore it than on two wheels! Whether you enjoy mountain biking, gravel, road biking or just want to cruise along the beach with your kids, there’s something here for everyone. Enjoy!

Did this article help?

Thank you for your feedback

By subscribing to our newsletter, you are agreeing to our Data Protection Statement .

Related Stories

10/12/23
The incredible range of terrain, from rugged mountain ranges to scenic coastal bikeways, means that there are endless opportunities for an unforgettable ride.
10/16/23
The extensive network of Bay Area bike trails and bikeways offer stunning natural landscapes and make it easy to explore on two wheels.
10/19/23
Explore South Lake Tahoe by bike, and you’ll find breathtaking scenery and well-maintained trails for all levels of riders.
7/18/24
Whether you’re new to clipless pedals or you’ve been riding with them for years, installing or replacing cycling cleats can be a tricky task. This guide will walk you through the process step by step and help you to troubleshoot any issues that might come up along the way.
Content is loading
Loading animation image