Top Gravel Rides in California

Finding the top gravel rides in California is no easy task which should come as no surprise to anyone that knows this state.

Covering this much area is already daunting, but we’re also blessed to consider our diverse landscape with mountains, deserts, forests, grasslands, coastline and everything in between.

There can be no mathematical methodology to ranking these rides as these are visceral experiences that are exclusive to riding bikes.

In fact, the way I remember these excursions the most is how much I’m stopping.

Top Gravel Rides in California (4K)

With hiking on one end of the spectrum and driving on the other, biking is the perfect medium in covering a lot of ground while still experiencing your surroundings on a human scale instead of being trapped in a two-ton cage.

Another consideration was the riding itself as there has been gorgeous adventures stacked against soul sucking ascents or rough surfaces.

I also left out events like Rock Cobbler and BWR as the route changes from year to year and can include private lands.

Over our first five years, I’ve created a decent stable of gravel guides across the state and this is no easy task as a majority I would absolutely love to ride again.

Not by design, I was surprised my top gravel rides in California list was as evenly split as possible between our state’s three zones as you could with the number ten.

Also not a consideration in forming this list, how I came across all these differing regions of landscapes seems improbable until you realize there are even more that didn’t make it in:

#10 – Big Bear
#9 – Everyone Loves Raymond
#8 – Pacifico Mountain
#7 – Half Moon Bay
#6 – Alabama Hills
#5 – Lassen Gravel Adventure Ride
#4 – Mount Tam
#3 – Mammoth Tuff
#2 – Catalina Island
#1 – Big Sur