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Thousand Oaks

Great Rides: The Top 5 Scenic Bike Routes in Thousand Oaks

If you ask me, we’re smack dab in the middle of one of the most gorgeous spots on Earth. If you’re into biking, you’re in for a real treat around Thousand Oaks — it’s a beauty overload. Here are my top 5 picks for the most scenic bike rides in Thousand Oaks.

#1 Sycamore Canyon to the Beach and Back

This trail is beautiful any time of year. This year has been especially beautiful, with flowers galore blooming and numerous easy-to-navigate creek crossings. It’s pretty much all downhill on the way out and uphill on the way back. Pro-tip: Have someone meet you at the beach for a beach day, then have them give you a ride back to your car.

It’s an 18-mile round trip to the beach and back on mixed and dirt roads, so ride a mountain or gravel bike. Start at the corner of Potrero Road and Wendy Drive. Follow the trail to the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center, then down the Sycamore Canyon trail to the beach. See the route here.

#2 Tour of Lake Sherwood and Hidden Valley

For me, riding around Lake Sherwood and through Hidden Valley never gets old. It’s like going on the greatest staycation ever. Every time I ride around the lake, I’m shocked at how beautiful the place is. Five minutes later, you end up in the beautiful farmland of Hidden Valley.

It’s an 18-mile round trip to Hidden Valley around Lake Sherwood and back, all of it on paved road. Start (and end) at Stonehaus on Agoura Road in Westlake Village. See the route here.

#3 Backbone Trail from Encinal Canyon

This ride is, amazingly, almost all on maintained single track. The trail winds up the Santa Monica Mountains and dead ends at the Top of the World on Yerba Buena. The cool thing is that you don’t need to climb the whole way up the mountain to get breathtaking views of the ocean. So, ride up the trail until you get tired and cruise back to your car.

It’s a 20-mile out-and-back ride with 2,600 feet of climbing. It’s best on a mountain bike, but you can also ride a gravel bike. Start at Backbone Trail Access at Encinal Canyon. See the route here.

“Now that my secrets are out, I hope to see you out on the roads and trails this summer.”

#4 Malibu Lake and the M.A.S.H. Site

This is an absolutely beautiful ride and one of my personal favorites. You tour the breathtaking Malibu Lake area through the M.A.S.H. filming site for a little 70’s television nostalgia and finish with a ride through Malibu Creek State Park.

This ride is 10 miles long with 1,300 feet of climbing. It is half on the road and half off-road and is suitable for a mountain or gravel bike. Start at the corner of Las Virgenes Road and Mulholland Drive. See the route here.

#5 Paramount Ranch to the Top of the Rock Store Climb

This ride takes you through the town of Cornell, by the famous Rock Store (keep an eye out for Jay Leno on weekends), and a climb up a section of Mulholland that is closed to cars. The way back is super fun because it’s pretty much all downhill. If it’s open, you might want to tour the western town located at Paramount Ranch.

This ride is 13 miles long with 1,500 feet of climbing and is all on the road. Start at the Paramount Ranch parking lot off Cornell Road. See the route here.

Now that my secrets are out, I hope to see you out on the roads and trails this summer.

John Swanstrom is a Thousand Oaks native, a competitive Mountain Bike racer, and the founder of Cyclists Authority.


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