Cycling Through Sonoma County

Experience the beauty of Sonoma County on a bicycle

When it comes to cycling, Sonoma County is one of the best destinations on the planet.

Other places may possess challenging routes that twist high into scenic mountains, but they lack a gorgeous ocean beside which bikers can tour for miles and miles. Some spots offer bike treks through wildlife-filled wetlands, but they probably lack meadows filled with spring wildflowers, straw-colored summer hillsides dotted with oaks, or easy trails through ranchland and vineyards along old railroad routes.

And then you get to thinking about all the other things Sonoma County’s bike routes offer, and its place at the top of the bicycle destination pyramid snaps securely into place.

That’s thanks to meandering back-country roads, quaint villages, farm stands groaning with just-picked produce, old wooden barns, stunning ocean views, world-famous wineries, and to-die-for eateries.

Not to mention off-road trails that bring bikers through the county’s astonishingly beautiful and diverse landscape. Routes so challenging that major competitive biking events are held here, and routes so gentle that beginning bikers or families with kids have the time of their lives pedaling about.

Together, we can protect and preserve the beauty and natural resources of Sonoma County for generations to come. Check out our page on Sustainable Travel, and look over the Leave No Trace Seven Principles.

Here’s an overview of how you can explore and enjoy Sonoma County by bicycle.

Rent a Bike or Bring Your Own

If you don’t want to cart along your own bike on a visit, don’t worry: you’ll find plenty of bike rental companies in Sonoma County. There’s even a company,, that rents Bike Friday folding bikes (pop ’em in your trunk and take off to a remote location)

For other options, search our listing of bike rentals in Sonoma County.

Self-Guided or Guided Bike Tours

Cyclists ride in the vineyards with Ace It Bike Tours, Sonoma County
Ace It Bike Tours

Some people love planning their own bike tours; for them, researching the route is a big part of the fun. Others prefer leaving the route and planning to a professional cycling company.

If you’re the former, skip ahead to the ‘route styles’ section to get some tips about planning your biking adventure in Sonoma County.

If you prefer riding with a touring company, you’re in luck: Sonoma County is home to a generous support system of guided bike touring companies.

Among them are Ace It Bike Tours, Adventures in, Getaway Adventures, and Sonoma Valley Bike Tours. For other possibilities, search our listing of all bike touring companies in Sonoma County.

Annual Biking Events

Sonoma County is home each year to dozens of biking events that appeal to everyone from casual cyclists to international competitors. Most of these events wind up with a party at the finish line, including music, great food, wine and brew, and other goodies. Most events also donate their proceeds to local charitable organizations. Here are some of the most popular yearly events:

  • Levi’s GrandFondo (Spring): This event offers 11 different routes, ranging in length and difficulty from the 8.8-mile Family route to the steep 114-mile Growler + Willow Creek.
  • Giro Bello (Summer): Four beautiful cycling routes through the wine country and redwoods, all starting and finishing at the O’Reilly Media campus in Sebastopol. After your ride, enjoy a fun Expo with live bands, food vendors, trade booths, and, of course, Lagunitas beer! Limited to the first 1,000 riders.

For dates of upcoming events, see the Sonoma County events calendar.

Sonoma County Route Styles

Bicycling in Sonoma County is divided into four categories — although there’s plenty of room in-between to suit your particular style. The four basic route styles are Family/Beginner/Easy-Going, Intermediate/Casual Touring, Winery Touring, and Gonzo:

Cyclists enjoy the easy pace of the Santa Rosa Creek Trail, Santa Rosa
Santa Rosa Creek Trail

Biking for Families, Beginners or Just Taking it Easy

Many of the county’s cities and towns have bike-friendly routes, paths and parks. For example, Santa Rosa has an extensive system of trails. The walking/biking path in the town of Sonoma runs past vineyards, 1800s mansions, parks, and a museum housed in an old railroad depot; it comes within a block of the historic town plaza, which is bordered by shops, galleries, and restaurants.

Most of Sonoma County’s regional and state parks contain biking trails, and some are perfectly suited for families.

For something adventurous, try the West County Regional Trail, which runs between the towns of Sebastopol and Forestville. Relatively flat (it has only a few gentle climbs), it’s paved throughout and offers beautiful farm and agricultural views.

If you’d prefer something shorter, the 0.5-mile Prince Memorial Greenway connects to the 2.14-mile Santa Rosa Creek Trail in downtown Santa Rosa. These paved trails meander along the creek and through a tree-shaded corridor loaded with birds and glimpses of other wildlife.

Intermediate & Casual Touring

If you ride regularly and want to explore Sonoma County by bicycle, you’ll find many moderate trails ranging from 20 to 50 miles.

One example is a 26-mile ride through the historic Valley of the Moon (otherwise known as Sonoma Valley). The ride begins and ends at the 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.

Another outstanding moderate loop begins and ends in Petaluma — the 30-mile Spring Hill-Chileno Valley route. It wends along quiet back roads and through the bucolic dairy lands between Sonoma and Marin Counties; it’s very scenic.

Bicycle Winery Touring

Sip and Cycle” rides are extremely popular in Sonoma County, allowing you to get some good exercise and, when you feel you’ve earned it, stop at a winery to relax over a glass of wine. You’ll also find wonderful stops along the way to linger with a picnic of fresh wine country produce, breads, pasta, olive oil, fruit, cheese and chocolates.

One of the most famous wine country bike routes in the world is the 30-mile Dry Creek Valley & Alexander Valley loop that starts and ends in Healdsburg. The scenery is breathtaking, the wineries are superb, and you’ll come away with memories to last a lifetime. Find complete details for this moderate ride.

If 30 miles seems a bit much, explore a portion of the route. Lovely and easy, West Dry Creek Road has only a few rolling hills to climb; it travels past vineyards along country roads, with many wineries along the way. Another great route: Alexander Valley’s Red Winery Road, between Healdsburg and Geyserville. It’s quiet and peaceful, flat, carries little traffic as you roll past beautiful oak-covered hills and miles of vineyards.

Gonzo Cycling

In a county that’s home to steep mountains, there are plenty of challenging bicycle routes. One of the most popular starts off in the small seaside village of Jenner and winds into mountains for a 4,500-foot elevation gain. It’s a glorious ride. Find complete details for the expert ride.

Another expert ride runs along the Russian River and Pacific Ocean in a 36-mile loop from Occidental, along Highway 116 to Highway 1, south to Bodega Bay, and returning to Occidental. Highway 1 can get busy, so this ride is best done early in the morning before the traffic picks up.


To find the best place to stay, search our listings of all Sonoma County Hotels & Lodging, including vacation rentals and campgrounds.

Written by Sonoma Insider Suzie Rodriguez.

You Might Also Like

Hamel Family Wines, wine tasting and non-alcoholic tasting

With a massive flood of zero-proof beverages recently hitting the market, it’s become fairly easy to find nonalcoholic alternatives on…

handmade pizza at Glen Ellen Star
Trip Itineraries

As a Sonoma local, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing Sonoma County’s finest offerings and generally end up with the…

Movie Prop Car On Display at Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Occidental

As you meander the wee 60-yard block of downtown, strolling its wooden sidewalks past 19th-century, false-front buildings, you’ll feel as…

Winter scenery at Luther Burbank in Sebastopol CA
Outdoor Activities

Lush greenery, foggy coastlines, seasonal harvests and unique wildlife sightings – Sonoma County in winter is a place where visitors…

Hot air balloon ride in sonoma county
Sightseeing & Tours

Without a doubt, Wine Country is one of the world’s most breathtaking regions to travel through whether you are looking…

Girls Getaway in Sonoma County
Food & Wine

Winter might be considered the off-season for many of the world’s hottest travel destinations, but a Wine Country visit between…

Wine tasting at sunset.
Trip Itineraries

Fall is a busy time in Sonoma County — from colorful hikes to the perfect pumpkin patch, discover what locals…

Pig at Charlie's Acres
Sustainable Travel

Need a pick-me-up? These nonprofits offer ways to spend time with cute animals — you could even try some goat…

Yellow wildflowers covering field
Outdoor Activities

Springtime offers a brilliant array of things to see and do in Sonoma County, from wildflower walks to cheese crawls!…

Wingo, California, Sonoma County’s Ghost Town, photographed by @chrisjkam
Outdoor Activities

Traveling mindfully to Sonoma County allows us to have experiences that can be savored in a place focused on and…

See What’s Happening

Share your experience using #SonomaCounty or #LifeOpensUp