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Latest Best of LA

Best Biking Trails In Los Angeles

March 16, 2014 7:49 PM

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(credit: istockphoto)

(credit: istockphoto)

(credit: istockphoto)

(credit: istockphoto)


Whether you’re looking for a leisurely ride or an all-day workout, there is not a better place to ride on two wheels, soak up some California sunshine and relish the spectacular ocean views along the way than in and around L.A. Now is a great time of year to skip the traffic, ditch your car and get out on a two-wheeler. In addition to transportation, biking is great exercise and a fun way to see different neighborhoods. With the wind in your hair and the California sunshine warming your back, look for a great workout and time away from everything on the following bike trails.

(credit: istockphoto)

(credit: istockphoto)


Marvin Braude Coastal Bike Trail/The Strand

The Marvin Braude Coastal Bike Trail bike path is a great one to take when you don’t want to deal with biking near cars and traffic. This pleasant 7-mile ride along Ballona Creek from Culver City heads west to the ocean in Del Rey. The east end of the bike path is easily accessed from Syd Kronenthal Park (south of Washington Blvd), behind the park’s ball field backstop. A number of entrances are found along the bike path, so you don’t have to do the entire ride. Heading west, you’ll be pushing against the wind and your legs will burn, but you’ll get some relief on the way back. The scenery becomes more picturesque as you get closer to the ocean – a nice reward when it comes into full view. The path ends at Fiji Way at Fisherman’s Village in Marina del Rey, but connects to the South Bay Trail so you can ride out to the beach and travel south down the Strand.

005_GlendaleNarrowsLARRC
Glendale Narrows/Elysian Valley Bike Path

Spring is one of the best times of year to hop on the Glendale Narrows bike path and view a green oasis along the Los Angeles River, where the City of Angeles was founded. You might also recognize the concrete bank from the drag race scene in the movie Grease which is a nice surprise. Also, scenes from Terminator 2 were shot here. The 7.4-mile path has an upper route that goes through the Glendale Narrows, with great views of the San Gabriel Mountains. Birds and wildlife abound on the lower part of the route, near Atwater Village. You might see ducks, geese and herons and a hawk or eagle circling above. Although, you’ll get past the traffic, the area is busy with walkers, joggers, fishermen and horseback riders.

(credit: Chris Goldberg)

(credit: Chris Goldberg)


Ballona Creek Trail

This bike path is a great one to take when you don’t want to deal with biking near cars and traffic. It’s a pleasant 7-mile ride along Ballona Creek from Culver City, heading west to the ocean in Del Rey. The east end of the bike path is easily accessed from Syd Kronenthal Park (south of Washington Blvd), behind the park’s ball field backstop. A number of entrances are found along the bike path, so you don’t have to do the entire ride. Heading west, you’ll be pushing against the wind and your legs will burn, but you’ll get some relief on the way back. The scenery becomes more picturesque as you get closer to the ocean – a nice reward when it comes into full view. The path ends at Fiji Way at Fisherman’s Village in Marina del Rey, but connects to the South Bay Trail so you can ride out to the beach and travel south down the Strand.

(credit: Matt Bell)

(credit: Matt Bell)


Griffith Park Bike Loop

This scenic 9-mile bike loop begins/ends at the north end at Zoo Drive at Riverside and at the south end at Crystal Springs Drive at Los Feliz. Both routes join inside the park, forming a loop. Griffith Park is the largest municipal park in Los Angeles and houses the LA Zoo, The Autry, the Greek Theater, Travel Town and the Griffith Observatory. Plenty of trees on the path provide shade and the LA River Bike Path is also incorporated along this route. In case you don’t have a bike, you can rent one at Griffith Park at Spokes ‘N Stuff Bike Rentals (Ranger Station parking lot). When you’ve worked up an appetite, check-out The Trails Café, a cute and healthy café that serves vegan dishes, and is an uphill ride from Los Feliz Blvd. to Fern Dell Drive.

(credit: istockphoto)

(credit: istockphoto)


Pacific Coast Trail

For the hardcore biker, a ride along this 22-mile stretch will take you from Pacific Palisades, all the way south to Torrance Beach (near Redondo). The route is split into two sections, though you can join at any point along the way. The north section is about 8 miles longs starting from Temescal Canyon Road (Will Rogers State Beach) and continuing south, through Venice into Marina del Rey. Be sure and check out the skate park and infamous Venice boardwalk.

(credit: Joan S./Yelp)

(credit: Joan S./Yelp)


South Bay Trail

If you feel up to it, continue onto the southern stretch, aptly named the South Bay Bike Trail. There’s a bit of a street detour from Washington Blvd. which takes you to Fishermen’s Village, south in the Marina. The bike path thins out at this point and you’ll glide along the gently curving path, seeing long stretches of sand, and the vast, sparkling ocean. Noisy planes zoom overhead as you pass LAX, but you’ll soon be noticing the cute beach bungalows of Manhattan Beach. This is a great place to stop and grab a bite to eat – shops and cafes abound. You’ll also find snack stands, restrooms and bike rental/repair shops, along the bike trail.

Liz Laing is a writer, web designer and photographer who lives in Los Angeles. Her latest projects may be followed on Liz Laing.
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