Strap on the helmets and get ready to go for a ride. Bike-riding is fun, free, and a great way
to tally up exercise points while spending time outdoors surrounded by some of the Bay Area’s prettiest landscapes. Whether the kids are riding solo, enjoying the view via trailer, or buckled cozily into their bike seats, the following trails make for some carefree riding.
Bay Trail in Alameda
Biking families love trekking to Alameda for its accessible, wide paths, flat terrain, and picturesque views of the Bay. Start by the Crab Cove Visitor Center on McKay Avenue, where you can check out the aquarium life before following the path down the entirety of Crown Beach and back. Or, continue on over the bicycle bridge to Bayfarm Island, circling its perimeter before coming back the way you came. Click here for a full map of the area.
Richmond Bay Trail Landfill Loop
Richmond’s 30 miles of Bay Trail surpass that of any other Bay Area city in sheer number. One section that we love is the Wildcat March & Landfill Loop, an easy four miles by bicycle, with plenty of opportunity to stop and birdwatch along the way and a one-mile, scenic trail built into the upper slopes. Richmond Bay Trail’s beautiful tidal marshes and vistas peppered with wildflowers are largely undiscovered. Click here for a full map of the area.
Marin’s Samuel P. Taylor State Park
Located in the wooded hills of Marin, Samuel P. Taylor State Park features a paved, three-mile bike trail near the campgrounds. Because it follows the former Northwest Pacific Railroad right-of-way, the trail is nearly level. Enjoy the trickle of a creek and see if you can spot some wildlife along the way. Be sure to check their website for park closure info and direction.
Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District Wildlife Trail
Nearly four miles of level trails make this 383-acre reclamation area accessible to walkers and bicyclists. Find migratory birds, enjoy the wildflowers, and check out the freshwater and saltwater marshes. You’ll also have a view of the Sleeping Lady as you enjoy your lunch on a picnic bench.
About two miles long, this multi-use trail is wide and stable, with minimal sloping and maximum views of Golden Gate Park and the city skyline. Begin at Lombard Gate and continue on down, passing the Crissy Field Overlook and the San Francisco National Cemetery along the way.
The Embarcadero has a convenient BART exit and paid parking lots near Fisherman’s Wharf. Flat and five-plus miles long, the running, walking, and biking trail leads all the way to the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, with many exciting stops along the way, from cotton candy at Pier 39 to the historic ships at Hyde Street Pier.
San Mateo’s Sawyer Camp Trail
Bike this hidden gem of a trail to its halfway point at about 3.5 miles, where you can show the kids the oldest California bay tree. Then, head back alongside shady trees and reservoir waters, or continue to the end of the 6-miles.
Half Moon Bay’s Coastside Trail
This easy-going five-mile bike ride takes you past beach after beach. The most difficult part will be choosing where to stop and have your picnic. Park at Pillar Point Harbor, where there’s a tiny village to explore.
Los Gatos Creek Trail
A special thanks to our readers for giving us the heads up about Los Gatos Creek Trail, which meanders through San Jose, Campbell and Los Gatos. Hop on anywhere on the 11-mile trail and you’ll be greeted with easy to navigate roads, nature, and stunning views at points. We love that this trail is kid-friendly and you’ll be totally surrounded by nature. At the same time, the long trail is close to urban centers, which means it’s easily accesible for all of us city folk.
With the warm Bay Area fall weather creeping up on us, you’re going to want to get the family outside! If you’re still looking for kid-friendly bike trails in your neighborhood, check out these other honorable mentions.
The Iron Horse Regional Trail in Lafayette
Bayfront Park and Bothin Marsh in Marin
Shoreline Park in Mountain View
Did we miss your family’s favorite bike trail? Let us know where you and the kiddos strap on the helmets and pedal away in the comment section below!
— Renee Macalino Rutledge