Three Great Cycling Rides in Sonoma County
It's hard to beat Sonoma County as a cycling destination. The range of terrain is so vast that it practically guarantees you'll never get bored.
Hop on your road bike one day, and take off exploring a back-country road in a bucolic valley filled with vineyards, or a steep stretch of coast highway edging the ocean.
The next day? Grab that mountain bike to peddle up a trail or deep into a redwood forest.
And the diversity doesn't stop there. On your rides you might encounter winter streams in a deep canyon; meadows filled with springtime wildflowers; summer's bleached yellow hillsides dotted with ancient stands of oak trees. You'll find extensive wetlands, 50 miles of stunningly beautiful coastline, the winding Russian River, quaint rural towns, and the modern city of Santa Rosa.
The best thing is that there's something wonderful for every level of rider. If you're a rank beginner or a family with young kids, there are plenty of fun — and flat! — routes to keep novices happy. And if you're a veteran of Race Across America or the USA Pro Challenge Professional Cycling Race — well, you will love the challenge of Monte Rio's King Ridge.
The Santa Rosa Cycling Club, a social and recreational organization of about 1,600 Sonoma County cycling enthusiasts, offers a list of 10 rides in Sonoma County that range from easy to challenging. Here are three to check out:
Dry Creek, Alexander Valley (Easy)
Santa Rosa Cycling Club calls this the essential, definitive Wine Country ride and notes that it's appropriate for entry-level riders. Some wonderful stops along the way are Quivira Vineyards & Winery on West Dry Creek Road, Pedroncelli Winery on Canyon Road, and the town of Geyserville for lunch. Read a description of the Dry Creek ride or download the Dry Creek route map.
Valley of the Moon (Moderate)
Ride through a lovely landscape, charming villages, moderately steep mountain roads, and Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. The ride begins and ends at the Glen Ellen Village Market in the tiny northern Sonoma Valley town of Glen Ellen. Follow back roads out of town and around Sonoma Mountain, then circle through the nearby village of Kenwood. From here there's an optional out-and-back route up Adobe Canyon Road to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park (seven miles round trip), and then follow a different route back to Glen Ellen. Read a description of the Valley of Moon ride or download the Valley of the Moon route map.
King Ridge (Challenging)
SRCC notes that this route is considered by many to be the crown jewel of North Bay cycling. It's also thought to be very challenging (it's steep), or, as one rider put it, it's "a death march." At the finish you’ll arrive at Jenner, owning bragging rights for a major ride, well ridden. Consider celebrating with an overnight in Jenner. You’ll spend your time soaking up ocean views from a room at the Jenner Inn and watch the sun set over a great meal at cliff-top restaurant River’s End. Read a description of the King Ridge ride or download the King Ridge route map.
To learn about all 10 rides, check out the Santa Rosa Cycling Club's Ten Great Rides. For even more options, visit our Guide to Cycling in Sonoma County, Popular Bike Itineraries: Cycling Through Wine Country, and Bike Trails in Santa Rosa.
Written by Sonoma County Insider Suzie Rodriguez.