Exploring the Best Bike Trails in Los Angeles County

The best things in life are free, and that includes the opportunity to explore the great outdoors on two wheels. Los Angeles County is home to some of the best bike trails in the country, offering cyclists of all levels the chance to take a leisurely ride along the ocean, through a valley, or around the city. From the beloved 22-mile Marvin Braude Bike Trail to the seven-mile Ballona Creek Trail, there are plenty of routes to explore. The urban landscape of Los Angeles is slowly becoming more bike-friendly, while the rugged nature that surrounds the city offers endless opportunities for mountain biking.

But somewhere in between, you'll find paved trails and designated trails that line the beach and crisscross Los Angeles. So grab your helmet, get something to snack on and start pedaling on these routes, the best bike routes in Los Angeles.

Marvin Braude Bike Trail

This beloved 22-mile bike path runs almost the entire length of Los Angeles. The trail starts at Will Rogers State Beach, goes through drooler-worthy properties in Santa Monica, Venice and Manhattan Beach and winds its way to the beach in Torrance County, where you'll probably know its South Bay extension better as “The Strand”.

Although you'll have to share parts of the road with pedestrians, the vast majority are just for bikes. We just warn you that, after passing Venice, the paved road curves to Washington Boulevard to navigate Marina del Rey; the rest of the route takes you back to the beach to the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Ballona Creek Trail

This seven-mile trail along Ballona Creek begins just a few blocks from Culver City's E (Expo) line stop and extends to the Pacific Ocean. Take a leisurely walk along the route, or follow the trail at one of the dozens of closed entrances you'll find along the way. Be sure to check the weather in the winter months; the river-level route can quickly flood and be blocked during heavy rains.

The inner end also meets a kind of trail along the E line that runs between Santa Monica and USC. To a large extent, you'll have to share the road with car traffic and follow the lanes along the edges of the road, although there's a short section west of Ballona Creek with its own unique trail. This particular section runs uninterrupted from under Riverside Drive, just north of Zoo Drive, in the northeast corner of Griffith Park, to Egret Park in Elysian Valley, just above where the 5 crosses the river; look for other notable entry points in the middle, such as Atwater Village, on Feliz Los and Glendale boulevards, as well as Frogtown.

Long Beach Shoreline Trail

This paved trail starts in Long Beach's Shoreline Village and crosses the city's stretch of sandy beach, passing through the Long Beach Museum of Art, Belmont Brewing, and Rosie's Dog Beach. The exclusive trail eventually ends near Bay Shore Avenue, but follow that road north and you'll find yourself at the entrance to the picturesque Naples canals.

Orange Line Bike Path

Find more information about this route here. The exclusive trail ends just near where York Boulevard becomes Pasadena Avenue, but if you're okay with pedaling through some residential streets, you can reach the Rose Bowl, where you'll find a circuit of protected lanes.

Most of the trail runs almost at the same level as the flood control channel, which normally only has a trickle, so access is expected to be limited when rains are forecast.

Griffith Park

It's easy to forget that you're still in Los Angeles as you walk through Griffith Park's mix of native chaparrales and landscaped trails that cover 4,310 wild acres. By far the most efficient way to tour this park is by bike. You can stick to the perimeter and to L. A.'s bike route along the river for a flat ride, detour to Crystal Springs Drive for a slight change in elevation or test your endurance with a grueling climb up into Griffith Park Mountain.

See a full map of Griffith Park here (PDF).While this trail offers safe traffic-free driving, users should stop when crossing streets that run perpendicular to it. For cyclists stopping from time to time reduces their overall ability to maintain an uninterrupted flow while cycling or training. That's why this Orange Line bike path is suitable for casual and recreational pedaling.

Griffith Park Southern Railroad

Griffith Park is huge; it takes up 4,210 acres of nature park. You can play golf, walk, go horseback riding, ride a miniature train visit a zoo or attend a concert in an amphitheater (to name just a few activities).

There are several routes and circuits for cyclists here some of which are quite steep. Occasional passengers will want to focus on this round trip between Travel Town Museum and Griffith Park Southern Railroad. If you're going to pack your bikes here in a car there are parking lots at both ends of this Griffith Park route. The field described below is maintained within park boundaries. Start at Travel Town Museum and follow Zoo Drive to Los Angeles Zoo; then take Western Hermitage Way as it passes through zoo continuing on Crystal Springs Drive. For what it's worth stay on main roads and their names will change but you won't even notice; continue on Crystal Springs Drive on straight road running between Wilson & Harding Golf Courses.

Adam Martabano
Adam Martabano

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