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Hello

We are 10 french riders planning to come in california for a pure MTB trip next april !
Does anyone can give us any tips to find the best ridind spots ?
our route would start from San Fransisco to LA and why not "monument valley"

Thanks beforehand

Laurent

Visit our website !!!!:thumbsup:
www.vttnantais.com
 

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If you come in April, conditions will be nice along the coast and at lower elevations inland. But there will be snow in the mountains - the Sierra Nevada. April is almost certainly too early in the spring to ride at Lake Tahoe or Mammoth, which are both ski areas.

Some places to look into for April would be:

Boggs, Annadel, China Camp, El Corte Madera (aka Skeggs), Saratoga Gap, Wilder Ranch, Soquel Demonstration Forest (SDF), Fort Ord, Henry Coe State Park. I listed these from north to south. If you look at maps of California, these places are roughly between Santa Rosa to the north and Monterey to the south.

You should be able to find lots of info here in the forums on the places I mentioned.

Monument Valley is way over on the Utah / Arizona border, so not near LA or San Francisco.
 

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HarryCallahan said:
If you come in April, conditions will be nice along the coast and at lower elevations inland. But there will be snow in the mountains - the Sierra Nevada. April is almost certainly too early in the spring to ride at Lake Tahoe or Mammoth, which are both ski areas.

Some places to look into for April would be:

Boggs, Annadel, China Camp, El Corte Madera (aka Skeggs), Saratoga Gap, Wilder Ranch, Soquel Demonstration Forest (SDF), Fort Ord, Henry Coe State Park. I listed these from north to south. If you look at maps of California, these places are roughly between Santa Rosa to the north and Monterey to the south.

You should be able to find lots of info here in the forums on the places I mentioned.

Monument Valley is way over on the Utah / Arizona border, so not near LA or San Francisco.
Those probably are the best trails in the bay area although I'm not sure any of them are worth traveling half way across the world to ride. I don't even think there are any trails in San Diego that are worth traveling from France to visit.

You guys appear to be XC oriented and Henry Coe will give you miles and miles of trails to explore with plenty of climbing and descents. It is a massive park and very pretty in the spring. Harry also mentioned some coastal areas with gorgeous views. SDF is my favorite on his list although things in the Santa Cruz mtns can be extremely wet in April. The last year I lived in those mtns a tipping bucket down the street from our house measured over 50" of rain in one year!

If Skyline to Sea were legal I'd say that would be the best trail in the Bay Area. 29 miles of meandering singletrack (and a tiny bit of fireroad) from the peak of the Santa Cruz mtns down to the Pacific. The scenery is breathtaking, the trail is incredible and when we hiked it the place was empty up until the west end of the trail near the waterfall.
 

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Mealsonwheels

I'd agree with you about not traveling from France to San Diego to go riding; I lived down there for close to 18 years before moving north. :p

I didn't want to take someone else's thread in this direction about whether the Sierra's were better than the bay area. Tahoe area single track or redwood forest single track? Is chocolate or vanilla better?

I just took the target of April as a given and made some recommendations for that time of year.
 

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HarryCallahan said:
Mealsonwheels

I'd agree with you about not traveling from France to San Diego to go riding; I lived down there for close to 18 years before moving north. :p

I didn't want to take someone else's thread in this direction about whether the Sierra's were better than the bay area. Tahoe area single track or redwood forest single track? Is chocolate or vanilla better?

I just took the target of April as a given and made some recommendations for that time of year.
You made great suggestions given the parameters. If his group hasn't booked flights, hotels, etc. they may want to move their trip to the summer so that they can do both coastal riding and the Sierras. I agree that the loamy singletrack weaving through forests of redwoods and ferns is unlike anything down here. Although I don't miss the giant spiders we had up there. Kind of miss the banana slugs though ;)
 

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Laurent,

I would recommend staying in Northern California only. Explore north of San Fran (Humbold, Chico, Shasta etc) and Santa Cruz area. Most people underestimate the size of California..especially north to south. Also there are plenty of people that are more then willing to meet up with you and show you the great local rides.

To bad you cannot come later...there are some amazing rides in the Sierras.
 

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I don't know Northern California at all. I've only been to Tahoe and Mammoth. Based on that time of year, in SoCal, I'd recommend Noble Canyon near San Diego, and the Santa Ana River Trail (SART) near Big Bear. Both places can get snow, but both are typically okay in April.

Your best bet would be to go to Southern Utah and/or Sedona, AZ. Both are about 6 hours from SoCal. Both have epic riding all around and weather should be good.
 

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Laurent - my recommendation would be to try to focus in one area also... Depending on what you like to ride, and what you WANT to ride that might be different from what you ride in France, maybe? April is too early for the higher elevation stuff, but there is still some fun lower-elevation stuff! Annadel and Boggs, both a couple hours North of San Francisco are high on my list. For the spectacle, or if you want to race, the Sea Otter Classic near Monterey (a couple hours drive South of SF) is in April. Henry Coe is an hour or so East from there, and some of the riding in Auburn should be good around that time ~3 hours away. Bidwell park in Chico is about 2 hours from there... In Southern Cal, the mountains east of San Diego also have some good riding, and the Anza Borrego Desert east of there has some fun desert riding too. Don't know if I'd drive that far for it though - I lived in San Diego for 37 years and don't think I'd ever move back. Rocky, technical riding abounds though, if you want to get some of that in! While some great areas in Nor Cal are a few hours apart at most - the drive to SD is all day, and you have to get through Los Angeles. Good riding in the mountains east of LA, but it might be early and there were huge fires there a few years ago -

If I were making the trip, I'd probably hed South an hour or so, hit the UCSC trails/Wilder Ranch, then down to Fort Ord (Sea Otter location) for a day, East to Henry Coe for a couple of days, then up towards Auburn (East of Sacramento) and then up to Bidwell in Chico. Head Southwest to Boggs Mtn, and then to Santa Rosa to Annadel. Maybe ride in Marin just to say you did the fireroads on Mt Tam and you are back in SF... Have fun whatever you do!
 

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Didnt think of it until ATBScott mentioned it but Sea Otter Classic would be a great addition to hit. Especially as it appears you guys race. You would get a chance to see all the newest equipment, great riding, and if you want race yourself.
 

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The most breathatking views are really in the Sierra or out in the far desert, in my opinion. Still, the California coast and foothills are nice. If it were me, flying into SFO, I would take the Coast Highway (1) down to Wilder Ranch State park, and go for a couple hour ride to shake the cobwebs out after the flight. Over the top of the hill into UCSC if you want to explore, if it's a weekend you can find plenty of people to point you in the right direction if you get "lost" in there. After that, head to Ft Ord and maybe get a pre-ride in the morning before the race. Fort Ord has some fun trails but nothing that I have ridden there makes me want to drive 2 hours to go there over other 2 hour drives! After Sea Otter - head towards Henry Coe for a couple days of exploring the great trails there. After that, depending on weather and time, I would continue on my previously-mentioned loop - head towards Auburn area and then Bidwell, Boggs and Annadel. It may not be the awesome views you are looking for, but it would be good early spring Nor Cal riding. Have a fun trip!
 

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Laurent said:
but above all we're looking the most breathtaking view
If it is a clear day, Wilder Ranch has some trails with views that look out over big grassy meadows and out over Monterey Bay to the south. Very scenic!

I agree with the recommendation to hit up Henry Coe if you can. The vistas there are of lower elevation mountains (Still damn steep) covered with oak trees and grassland. It's a very California landscape.

After Sea Otter, drive down Highway 1 through Big Sur. Fabulous scenery!

One more riding spot with top notch scenery is Montana de Oro State Park near Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo. The coast there is very dramatic, and many of the trails climb up in the hills with views down to the coast.

As others have noted, Lake Tahoe riding is stunning, but thats more of a June through October season.
 

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Well if you are coming to LA you should climb to the top of Mt. Wilson for the view & enjoy single track down! :thumbsup:
 
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