A Guide to Ebike Friendly Trails in SoCal

A Guide to Ebike Friendly Trails in SoCal

May 14, 2021

Here in Southern California we are extremely lucky to be surrounded by a huge diversity of beautiful landscapes and unique environment. From coastal bike paths to trails which lead you up to mountain top campsites, SoCal has it all! And, throughout this wide variety of terrain, there is a trail to suit each individual's level of skill and ambition.

Commuting and short trips to the post office or the pharmacy are all great uses for your ebike -and they're better for the environment than the alternative- but the time comes when people, and ebikes, want to broaden their horizons and travel further afield than the streets they frequent every week.

It is light of these points that we've put together this comprehensive ebike trial guide for everyone living in or visiting Southern California, so they can know where they can legally ride their ebike. Firstly, we're going to explain some of the terminology used, for those that are not familiar with it, and then we'll jump right into the trails!

NON-SOCAL RESIDENTS: If you aren't in the SoCal area, Alltrails.com is a great resource to discover some great trails in your local area!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Ebikes are still relatively new to the world of biking and biking trails and rules and trail usage rights can change at any time. This is all at the discretion of the many parties involved in the management of these areas. Much of the material below is based on public contributions and has not been confirmed by Aventon. Please always check the local rules and regulations before taking your ebike on a trail.

 

Terminology 

Biking trails, much like ski trails, are categorized using a color coded system. This system goes from easier to harder through the following colors:

 

As with any sport it is important to know and ride within your limits, and no one is ever going to judge you poorly for making the decision to turn around and head back.

In this guide there are also "Access Roads". These are rideable trails, often double track, designed to accommodate vehicles and to allow access to other trails or other parts of a recreation area. These are not rated but are often considered to be either green or blue.

When discussing trails we've used the following terminology to describe them:

Ebike Classes 1, 2, and 3: These are the ratings which the state of California gives to ebikes depending on their functionality and top speed. If you don't know which class your ebike falls into here's a helpful, easy to read guide which tells you which category your ebike falls into (alternatively you can check the Aventon product page for your ebike model).

NOTE: Some of our ebikes allow you to change the class int heir settings and, if you wish to, you can simply and quickly remove the throttle to reduce your ebike's class to a class 1, the class limit for many trails.

Singletrack: A trail with only one rideable track. Requiring riders to lean to the side of the trail to allow others to pass.

Doubletrack: Two tracks. Allowing riders to pass each other without stopping, or to ride next to each other.

Bidirectional: A trail where bikers are allowed to ride in both directions.

Downhill Only: A trail which only permits riding in the downhill direction.

 

Choose Your County

Now we've covered all the important items, select your county from the list below to be taken to the related section of this guide, and start exploring your ebike!

P.S. If you know of any ebike friendly trails we’ve missed then please contact us so we can add them to the list. Vice versa, if there are any trails here which have been designated non-ebike trails please let us know so that we can remove them and keep the wider ebike community informed.

 

Imperial County

Currently there is only one option for ebike trail riding in Imperial County, and these are the very accessible Picacho Trails. Luckily these trails offer a good variety of terrain and cover a large distance, meaning that although they are few they can be seen as quite mighty.

Picacho Trails

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: 7 Trails

Length: 2-19 Miles

Rating: Green - Blue

Located just North-West of Winterhaven at the base of Stud Mountain, the Picacho Trail system offers seven trails through this desert landscape. 6 of these ride around Stud Mountain itself, whilst the other is a 19 mile, bidirectional trail which takes you through the Picacho State Recreation Area to the CampGround at Picacho State Park. All of these trails are dirt/gravel roads, well maintained and bi-directional. There are a few other trails in this system which are mountain bike routes only, so know before you go.

 

San Diego County

San Diego County is littered with biking trails and it is no surprise that, over the past few years, many have begun to permit ebikes. Some are located in built up areas, others are located on National Forest land closer to the middle of the Country. Overall there are over 300 ebiking trails in the area and whilst we can’t cover them all here we’ve covered the areas with large quantities of trails so that whichever location you choose there are options for everyone.

 

Bayshore Bikeway

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: 1 Trail

Length: 23 Miles

Rating: Green

Website: Bayshore Bikeway

This scenic bikeway begins with 13 miles of car-free bicycle paths before joining the traffic on the road and heading back in the other direction to complete the loop. Whilst the second part of this loop is made up of designated on-street, bike-lanes and bike-routes riders should not be put off by these as the route passes through downtown San Diego and other interesting parts of the surrounding area. This route begins and ends on both sides of the Coronado ferry, and if you choose not to take the road parts of this route you can always turn around at Imperial Beach and ride back up the traffic free bicycle paths.

 

Corral Canyon OHV Area

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: 14 Trails

Length: ⅓-10 Miles

Rating: Blue - Double Black Diamond

Being a designated OHV area Corral Canyon does permit motorized off-road vehicles i.e. motorbikes, quad-bikes, and dune buggies; but this shouldn’t deter adventurous ebike riders from coming here and riding the trails. This trail system is located on National Forest land and there are over 51 miles of trails here (if you’re not riding an ebike).

Some of the trails listed for ebikes are access trails, and, even though some trails are only ⅓ mile, these trails need to be accessed via other trails (making your overall journey a lot longer than ⅓ mile). These trails vary from being flat and winding to downhill trails full of obstacles like rocks and granite slabs. There are two basic campgrounds, Bobcat Meadows and Corral Canyon, located within these trails, allowing weekenders to bring their RV or tent and enjoy this beautiful area.

 

Tijuana River Valley Regional Park

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: 24 Trails

Length: ⅕-1 Mile

Rating: Access Trail - Green

The Tijuana River Valley Regional Park offers many great recreating activities for people in the local area and one of those recently added to this list is ebiking. The trails here are all quite flat, and easy to follow and these cruiser trails allow riders to take in the beautiful scenery of the park, whilst enjoying the Southern California sunshine. The trails here run from the beach into the beautiful Tijuana River Valley, however the ebikes trails don’t all connect up, and riders may have to forego using the e part of their ebike as they respectfully traverse between ebike trails.

 

Los Peñasquitos Canyon

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: 120 Trails

Length: 300ft - 6 Miles

Rating: Green - Double Black Diamond

Website: Los Peñasquitos Canyon

North of the City of San Diego, near Solana Beach, you’ll find a large network of trails in the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. This area is highly biodiverse, boasting over 500 plant species and more than 175 types of bird. Regarding the trails, there’s something for everyone here! The trails range from comfortable, bidirectional trails winding along flat ground, to adrenaline pumping downhill only, singletrack trails. Many of these trails interlink together to form longer trails, and this is why some are only 300ft in length.

 

Black Mountain

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: 44 Trails

Length: 236ft - 4 miles

Rating: Access Road - Black Diamond

Website: Black Mountain

Located just East of Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, Black Mountain is accessible via 4 different trail heads. There is an access road that can be ridden to the top of the mountain and, on a clear day, you can see the Pacific Ocean to the west, Mountain views to the east, and city views to the south. In the Black Mountain area there’s an even mix of bidirectional and singletrack trails, with many of the bidirectional trails meandering around and up and down the beautiful landscape found here.

 

Daley Ranch

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: 24 Trails

Length: 500ft - 2 Miles

Rating: Green - Blue

Website: Daley Ranch

Daley Ranch is just north of Escondido in northern San Diego County. The trails here provide great riding for riders of any skill set and there are three different entrances one can use to access this network of trails. There’s a good mix of singletrack and bidirectional trails in this group of trails, yet there is a lot of climbing to be done. Fortunately, most of this climbing is done up the wider fire roads, allowing for less congestion of the trails, and also allowing all riders to do things at their own pace.

 

Orange County

In 2018 Orange County put in place an ordinance prohibiting the use of ebikes in all the counties parks and recreation areas. They did, however, include in that legislation an exemption which states that on some regional, paved off-road bikeways riders can ride Class 1 and Class 2 ebikes. These byways are Those listed below. See the map on page 4 of the legislation linked here to find the bikeway closest to you.

Limit: Class 2

Quantity: 7 Trails

Length: 7.5 - 29 Miles

Rating: Paved Bikeways

Website: Legislation and Map

Bikeways

  1. 1. Coyote Creek Bikeway
  2. 2. Santa Ana River Trail Bikeway
  3. 3. Bay View Bikeway
  4. 4. San Diego Creek Bikeway
  5. 5. Peters Canyon Bikeway
  6. 6. Hicks Canyon Bikeway
  7. 7. Aliso Creek Bikeway
  8. 8.Salt Creek Trail Bikeway
  9. 9. San Juan Creek Bikeway
  10.  

Riverside County

Riverside County is sparsely populated with mountain bike trails and there are only a handful of ebike accessible trails out there. Most of these are located not far from the town of Riverside itself, and are therefore easily accessible to a majority of the county’s residents.

 

Sycamore Canyon

Limit: Class 2

Quantity: 2 Trails

Length: 0.5-1 mile

Rating: Green - Blue

Sycamore Canyon has a number of mountain bike trails but only two ebike trails. The first is Chicken Hawk, a green, 1 mile, singletrack, downhill only trail. This is a fun, leisurely downhill trail, excellent for those who want to try something a little more adventurous than a bikeway. The second trail is Ammo Gully, a blue, 0.5 mile, singletrack, bidirectional trail. It runs along the walls of a gully as it goes downhill, there are obstacles on this route which will give you a little air if you have enough speed; although you can dismount and walk around them if you don’t feel comfortable.

 

Box Spring Mountain

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: 5 Trails

Length: ¼-1½ Miles

Rating: Green - Blue

Located in the Moreno Valley, just East of Riverside, is Box Spring Mountain. Here, where there are mountain bike trails, there are a handful of trails which permit ebikes. The longest of these, 1.5 mile, is the Sunnymead Pathway, a bidirectional, machine groomed, pathway. The other trails begin at different trailheads and offer more scenic ebiking through the Hidden Springs Community Green Belt.



Palm Desert/Cathedral City Trails

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: 2 Trails

Length: 8-12 Miles

Rating: Access Road - Black Diamond

To the West of Palm Desert lie Cathedral City Trails and in the Southern part of these trails there are two ebike accessible trails. The first, and most difficult, is Hopalong Cassidy I, a singletrack, bidirectional, black diamond, incorporating over 900ft of vertical climbing, many switchbacks and steep drops on either side at many points. Whilst the views are excellent it’s not for the faint hearted. If this isn’t for you then Dunn Road and Palm Canyon Drive might be the one for you. It is an out-and-back, doubletrack trail, running 12 miles in each direction and allowing for easy riding, on this steady, but long, climb.

 

San Bernardino County

Almost all of the trails permitting ebike riding in San Bernardino County are Access Roads and they’re located within 40 miles of the San Bernardino city limits, in the Big Bear Lake area. Good news for residents of this area and the surrounding towns is that, as of June last year, Big Bear Mountain Resort allows ebikes in it’s Summit Bike Park, so if you’re looking to do some downhill, gravity-fed mountain ebike riding there’s now an exciting and ebike friendly place for you to visit.

 

Big Bear Lake Area

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: 5 Trails

Length: 5.8 - 27.7 Miles

Rating: N/A

Website: People for Bikes

If you’re looking to ride around the Big Bear Lake Area on your ebike then People for Bikes have created an excellent document detailing five different OHV trails which ebikers can enjoy. The 5 trails vary from hard packed dirt to loose gravel with rock slabs, and views vary from desert to lake. There’s something here for every ebike rider!

 

Los Angeles County

Whilst it might be seen by outsiders as a landscape dominated by the city, LA County actually has a lot to offer when it comes to ebike trails. There’s the Pacific Coast Bike Path, for those looking to take in the California coastline on a 22 mile ride, and there are also recreation areas and parks offering more challenging terrain for those who like to be challenged in that way.

 

Marvin Braude/Pacific Coast Bike Path

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: 1 Trails

Length: 22 miles

Rating: Paved Bikeway

This is a multi-use trail which runs along the beach front for pretty much its whole length. It runs between Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades and Torrance County Beach and is a highly scenic cruiser trail. This bike path is well used by bikers, walkers, and skateboarders alike, but it is wide and very rarely feels crowded.

 

Griffith Park

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: N/A

Length: N/A

Rating: N/A

Website: Griffith Park Biking Guide

Griffith Park has over 70 miles of hiking trails, some of which are open to bikers and ebikers, along with other on and off road routes. This wide variety of trails here offer a HUGE variety of terrain, for riders of all abilities. If you ride all the way to the top of the park you’ll find phenomenal views of downtown LA whilst the lower trails offer routes through both well kept and slightly wild areas of the park. If you live in the city and need to feel like you’ve left it, Griffith Park is a place in which you can do just that.

 

Will Rogers Historic State Park

Limit: Class 2

Quantity: 8 Trails

Length: ⅓-2 Miles

Rating: Blue - Double Black Diamond

Just outside of Santa Monica lies the Will Rogers Historic State Park. This park marks one end of the Pacific Coast Bike Path but the biking doesn’t stop there. This State Park has 8 biking trails, many of which are designed for the experienced, more adventurous rider. Ebikes can also, however, be used to tour the State Park by road, giving riders a unique perspective of this beautiful slice of LA County’s coastal mountains.

 

Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area

Limit: Class 2

Quantity: 47 Trails

Length: ½-10 Miles

Rating: Green - Black Diamond

Tucked away in the North-Western corner of Los Angeles County lies the Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area. The geological formations here are striking and complex, displaying the interactions between the San Andreas and San Gabriel Faults. These trails, as you can imagine, vary greatly with some climbing up these geological formations, and others skirting around them. Most of these trails are bidirectional and almost all of them are doubletrack. For those living in the north of the County, or for those who really want to escape the city these trails are an excellent choice, and there are also over 200 campsites located in this recreation area.

 

Kern County

In Kern county there are only a few places where one can ride their ebike on trails. Hopefully legislation will change soon and ebikes will be allowed along the Kern River Parkway Bike Trail but, for now, residents of Bakersfield need to get out of town in order to ride their ebikes on any trails.

 

Lehigh Trails

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: 34 Trails

Length: 200ft-32 Miles

Rating: Green - Double Black Diamond

Website: Tehachapi Mountain Trail Association

The Lehigh Trails are managed by the Tehachapi Mountain Trail Association and membership, $35 annually per household, is required to ride these trails. There are two entrances to this network of trails and they’re very well maintained. All the trails here make up a few large loops which work their way up the mountain however you need not go all the way to the top as many of these trails are bidirectional and link in to other trails along their route.

 

Southern Sequoia National Forest

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: 2 Trails

Length: 5-7 Miles

Rating: Blue

Both of these trails are singletrack, bidirectional route and are the favorite of downhill bikers. The soft ground and twists and turns are exhilarating, and a short part of one trail, Just Outstanding, takes a fantastic few turns through magical manzanita tunnels.

 

San Luis Obispo County

The county of San Luis Obispo offers ebiking trails that are located close to the urban areas in the county, meaning that residents need not travel too far to find themselves cross-country ebiking in the countryside.

 

Hazard's Peak Trail

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: 1 Trail

Length: 4.2 Miles

Rating: Blue

Hazard’s Peak Trail is located in Montaña de Oro State Park and it is the only trail in the park open to ebikes. It is a single track bidirectional trail that has all the elements you need to introduce someone to single track trails. There is a little exposure towards the end of the trail which may make some uncomfortable, but the out-and-back nature of the trail means you can turn around whenever you like.

 

Poly Canyon Road

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: 1 Trail

Length: 3.8 Miles

Rating: Access Road

Located north of the town of San Luis Obispo, in the Los Padres National Forest, Poly Canyon Road is the one trail in the West Cuesta Ridge Trails which ebikers can ride. It is rolling, doubletrack, bidirectional access road which passes the Cal Poly “architectural graveyard” which is very much worth a visit on this ride through the countryside.

 

Turkey Flat Off Road Vehicle Area

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: 3 Trails

Length: 1.9-3 Miles

Rating: Access Road - Black Diamond

Whilst this is primarily an off roading area ebikers are able to use it too! There’re two black diamond trails here, and one access road. The access road travels through a valley and then up one of the hills and it is a bidirectional, single track road. At the end you arrive at one of the two black diamonds, which is a steep, rocky route with quite a bit of exposure. The other black diamond is further down the road than the trailhead for the access road and it is an intense downhill route which ends two miles further down the road you began on.

 

Santa Barbara County

With its beach fronts and steep mountains Santa Barbara County offers ebikers a little bit of everything when it comes to trail options. Take the Beach Water Bike Path from a coastal park to a bird refuge, or take a trip up to Cachuma Lake and cut your teeth on their one ebike trail (blue) before rewarding yourself by relaxing on the shore in the sunshine.



Beach Way Bike Path

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: 1 Trail

Length: 3.5 miles

Rating: Paved Bikeway

The Beach Way Bike Path traverses the beautiful shoreline of the city of Santa Barbra. It connects two parks, Shoreline Park and the Andree Clark Bird Refuge, whilst providing the rider with views of the beaches and the Santa Barbara shoreline. Whilst this is a leisurely cycle it is also an oh so pleasant one!

 

Los Flores Ranch Park

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: 6 Trails

Length: ⅕-2 Miles

Rating: Green - Blue

South-east of the town of Orcutt, in Los Flores Ranch Park, lie multiple bidirectional, single track trails which are great for ebikers new to trail riding to cut their teeth on. These mellow trails flow through the fields and forests of the area providing riders with a great opportunity to enjoy the nature which is not too far from their front door.

 

Romero Canyon

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: 6 Trails

Length: 2.6-18 Miles

Rating: Access Road - Black Diamond

Whilst Romero Canyon is primarily a mountain bike area there are a few stunning trails on which ebikes are permitted. These are mainly access roads but there is one black diamond trail for those with the experience and the gusto to try it. Some of these trails have quite a significant climb in them whilst others are the reverse, easy downhill coasts. These are all bidirectional trails, and a mix of single and double track. Which of the two trailheads you start at will decide on whether you begin your adventure by heading downhill or uphill.

 

Sweetwater

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: 1

Length: 2.6 miles

Rating: Blue

The Sweetwater trail is the only ebike access allowed trail in the Cachuma Lake Recreation Area. It is a slightly technical, scenic route, running along the southern side of the lake, encompassing some sweeping turns and a few rock gardens. It is a good trail for beginners yet still an enjoyable trail for well seasoned riders.

 

Ventura County

Ventura County offers residents of Southern California some unique ebiking options, with one involving a route to a mountain top campsite. If this is too adventurous for your first time around there’re many less extreme trails on which to practice your ebike riding first.

 

Conejo Canyons Open Space

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: 12 Trails

Length: ¼-2 Miles

Rating: Green-Blue

Located between Thousand Oaks and Camarillo this open space is enjoyed by hikers, runners, mountain bikers, and ebikers alike. Trail conditions vary but most are hard packed dirt and bidirectional and single track. There are some directly uphill routes, but a majority of these trails follow meandering paths through these golden tree spotted hillsides. You may find a pond or two on your travels and keep an eye out for the local wildlife.

 

Ventura River Preserve

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: 2 Trails

Length: 2-9 Miles

Rating: Blue - Double Black Diamond

In the western Ojai Valley lies the Ventura River Preserve, protecting 3 miles of the Ventura River and its surrounding habitat. Through here snake many trails are used by everyone from hikers to horse riders. There are only two ebike trails, the shorter, Friend’s Trail, is 2 miles long, blue and easy going, snaking its way along a ridge and down the hillside to the river. The other, Ortega Trail, is 9 miles long and is a steep, rocky, double black diamond, which is usually used by motorcycles.

 

Halfmoon Campground

Limit: Class 1

Quantity: 5 Trails

Length: 2-8 Miles

Rating: Access Road - Double Black Diamond

From this remote campground, located in the South Los Padres National Forest, there’s access to a few motorized trails. They’re all bidirectional, singletrack and access to all of them requires the use of one of the access roads. At the top of this access road is another campground, Sunset Campground, and for those willing to take their gear up there is the reward of sitting atop a mountain, probably alone, and watching the sunset along with your ebike and whomever else you want to bring with you.

 

3 comments
Cindy van der Velde-Cockrell May 17, 2021

This is great! We need this for Nevada too!!

Margaret Phipps May 17, 2021

Thank you so much for that impressive list. Very informative.

I am currently waiting for the Canyon Country bike store to get one of the Aventures with a small frame, preferably in red, in stock. I just have to see and sit on an ebike before I purchase. It looks practically perfect on paper. The throttle on demand, so I can use it on take off is exactly what I wanted. Good job.

Carolyn Navarra May 17, 2021

This is GREAT, but how do we get the same level of information for Western North Carolina, specifically, Transylvania county, Henderson and Buncombe County and the surrounding areas?

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