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Cycling in Sonoma County

Best Road Rides and Mountain Biking in and Near Santa Rosa

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Avid cyclist and Bike Monkey Magazine editor Carlos Perez lets the cat out of the bag about the best road rides and mountain biking destinations in and near Santa Rosa...

Want to know where the cyclists are when they're not riding around? Check out this list of Santa Rosa restaurants, coffeehouses and breweries to find out where the cycling community meets up.

Top 3 Road Rides Near Santa Rosa

  • Kings Ridge Road, Cazadero
    Locals will tell you of many other rides before spilling the beans on Kings Ridge. It seems the prize locations are also the best kept secrets, but this one's been let out of the bag. From Santa Rosa head west into the coastal hills to Cazadero and start your ride from the general store. It has been noted in various cycling publications that Kings Ridge is one of Sonoma County's most beautiful gems of country road.

  • Chalk Hill Road, Windsor
    Making its way north towards Healdsburg and HWY 128—the gateway to wine country and our next favorite, Pine Flat—Chalk Hill gives cyclists a fast swooping series of descents after some climbs that pay dividends. As always, the scenery is awe inspiring and the smells from crush as you enter the southern end of Alexander Valley in the fall will never let you forget this ride.

  • Pine Flat Road, Geyserville
    Host to the annual Ross' Epic Hill Climb road race (Bike Monkey), this road is indeed epic. Boasting minimal traffic due to its nature as an access road to a geothermal geyser center that doesn't allow public access, and its off-the-beaten path location, it is Sonoma County's most iconic climb. Local racing professional Levi Leipheimer has set many legendary record accents up this road, and it is part of his regular training routine.The irony of Pine Flat is that only about 10% of the 12 mile climb is actually flat. The rest is straight up as riders ascend from the valley floor to more than 3,200' above sea level, with pitches of up to 18 degrees near the summit. Ouch. Oh yeah, and the views from the top of Santa Rosa and beyond are as if you were a bird. On a clear day you can see the Pacific Ocean and the buildings of the City of San Francisco.

Top 3 Mountain Bike Destinations In and Near Santa Rosa

  • Annadel State Park
    Even if you haven't ridden here, chances are, if you're an avid mountain biker in the state of California, you've heard of Annadel State Park. The 8,000 acres of multi-use public space contains an integrated network of over 35 miles of trails and fire road, of which much of it is considered by seasoned cyclists as "technical." Every year, Annadel State Park sees over 300,000 visitors of which 70% are mountain bikers. To avoid the crowds, make sure to go during the week. Weekends are packed, but if you've got fitness, the upper reaches of the park are always more sparsely populated. One of the best includes Ridge Trail near the foot of Bennett Mountain, soon to be incorporated into the park's boundary.

  • Lake Sonoma
    Lake Sonoma is a hidden gem. It's far enough away from the bustle of Santa Rosa that it doesn't get as much attention as it deserves. It is in fact home to more than 45 miles of trail with more being built every year. Bike Monkey also hosts an annual series of mountain bike races that vary in difficulty from beginner cross country events to a new 100-mile endurance event held in spring. What you need to know about Lake Sonoma is that it's steeep (with all three 'e's), and technical.

  • Spring Lake
    For the recreationalist or beginning mountain biker looking for an easier ride, there's no better place than Spring Lake which rests between both Annadel and Howarth Park. The area hosts much milder terrain than its neighbor Annadel and is a great place to get comfortable on your bike before venturing into the thrawls of Annadel’s rocky terrain. There are also facilities in the park (restrooms), and even vending at nearby Howarth Park which you can ride too. The beauty of Annadel, Spring Lake, and Howarth park is that they border each other, and provide very different experiences and terrain to accommodate any type of rider.
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