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San Francisco

In the City on the Bay you won’t need to stray too far from the busy streets for adrenaline-inducing MTB. Believe it or not, in the heart lies a 61-acre oasis, Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve. The riding there is a bit more tame but perfect for a post-workday rush. Locals will agree that true adventure awaits outside the city limits. Want to kick it up a notch? The nearby mountains are as fun as they look.

Scale Mount Diablo via Summit Trail

You’re in for a hellish ascent and a heavenly downhill here. This 7-mile-long ride is packed with insane vistas, but resist their siren call and only make pit stops when you need to catch your breath.

santa cruz MTB
Crushing down the rugged Santa Cruz Mountains. Photo by Desolation Hiker licensed under CC BY SA 2.0

Even seasoned riders require a couple of hours to tackle this beast of a trail. Start off at South Gate Road and get ready to pedal your heart out up the hill. The ascent is steep to start with, and it gets worse. But remember that hard ascents promise rewarding descents and that’s exactly what’s in store.

Mount Tamalpais from a different perspective

Mentioning Mount Tamalpais when talking about best mountain biking in San Francisco is technically cheating. That said, this 11.5 mile ride takes you along the Coastal View Trail, with seaside vistas to rival the backpacking in Big Sur, and ends near Muir Beach, thus combining stellar views of the bay before dropping you right down into the Bay City itself.

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