Big Sur bike trails and riding in the Big Sur area of California

Biking in California

One of the greatest bicycle adventures is biking in the Big Sur area of California. Coastal riding cannot be more dramatic anywhere in the country than in this area. Big Sur is a beautiful and rocky section of coastline from Carmel South to San Simeon. Waves from the sea strike on the rock below the highway. Cliffs fall hundreds of feet into the sea. The road is 800 feet above the surf at some points. Biking in Big Sur terrain needs experience. An inexperienced cyclist will find it too difficult to enjoy the ride. Because the terrain is challenging, with countless ups and downs. Most of the stretches of Highway 1 have a little shoulder. The traffic is heavy on the summer weekends. The road is narrow and twisting. Spring and fall are the best weather there. For a cyclist who is experienced, biking in Big Sur can be an unforgettable adventure and I used a mountain bikes under 500 in this adventure.

Bike Trails

The Big Sur area of California features some of most challenging, beautiful, scenic coastal bike trails which offer you the most dramatic ride you will ever have. Some specific bike trails are listed below with the details of how you will be riding:

  • Monterey to Big Sur (45 Miles): You can start with a side trip out to scenic Seventeen Mile Drive where you will get the chance to experience the golf courses of Pebble Beach. Then you will be riding through Carmel. You will be enjoying Carmel’s white sandy beach and its beautiful mission. When you are at the South of Carmel, you will enter the famous Big Sur coastline. This place will show you some of the most breathtaking coastal scenery. Most the Highway 1 is carved out of the cliffs. There are high ridges stands above the Pacific Ocean where surfs crash on the rocks below. Then you will cross the famous beautiful photogenic Bixby Bridge. Bixby Bridge is the most famous bridge of Big Surs’ Highway 1.


  • Big Sur to Ragged Point (49 Miles):Cyclingin the Big Sur coast is going to be an epic experience you will ever have. You will be approaching the greatest hill of Monterey to Santa Barbara bike tour as you ride above the Big Sur River. While biking there, you will be passing colorful cafes and redwoods. Then your rest of the day will be dominated by rocky and remote coastline where you will see countless state parks that offer short hikes to waterfall and scenic views of the Pacific. Then after biking the last set of hills, you will have a chance to enjoy a rest at the Ragged Point Inn.


  • Ragged Point to San Luis Obispo (61 Miles): After you had descended from the Ragged Point, you will see that the route features more easy terrain, but still surrounded with beautiful ocean views. You will be passing by the historic Hearst Ranch and Hearst Castle and a colony of distinctly weird looking elephant seals. At the South of Hearst Castle, there are a number of small coastal towns you will ride through. Each of these towns has its own unique character. In Cambria, there are countless art galleries and restaurants. And you will find the popular surfing location with the extensive beach in Cayucos. The route from Morro Bay to San Luis Obispopast the edge of Morro Bay National Estuary before carving inland for some hilly, but very charming biking.


  • San Luis Obispo to Santa Maria (43 Miles): This route heads back to the coast. You can have a short detour to Avila Beach’s small resort town before biking through Pismo Beach which is another classic beach town. The route takes a sudden turn from Pismo Beach through rich farmland. You will find artichokes and strawberries there. There are some rolling hills in the terrain of south of Pismo Beach.


  • Santa Maria to Solvang (38 Miles): After leaving Santa Maria, you will be riding through the picturesque vineyards of the Santa Ynez winery region. The movie “Sideways” was filmed in this beautiful place in which most of the time the actual staff from winery tasting room was used. Through approaching the hills at the south end of Foxen Canyon Road, you will reach the tiny hamlet of Los Olivos and its countless tasting rooms. With a short spin, you will reach the Danish-themed of Solvang.


  • Solvang to Santa Barbara (52 Miles): You will be riding your bike through the isolated country behind Solvang past Nojoqui Falls Park before you reach the US 101 route. From there, you can bike over Gaviota Pass to return to the coast. It is quite charming for biking on US 101 which is a freeway and it offers beautiful ocean views.


For the adventure seekers, biking in Big Sur area is a dream to be fulfilled. The intense natural beauty, the scenic routes, the rolling hills, the expensive views of the ocean will give you an unforgettable biking experience.

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Steven Rocks

Hi, I'm Steven Rocks. I'm a creative photographer and professional traveler for last 5 years. From last five years, I have visited many countries and gather a lot of traveling experience and important traveling resource information. I love to share my experience. I have created this travel blog; here I'm sharing all of my travel related experience to help travel lovers.

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