3 Underrated Cycling Destinations in California and Texas

Embarking on a biking adventure is an incredible way to explore diverse destinations and fully immerse yourself in their unique offerings. You can’t choose wrong between the following three underrated cycling destinations. Regardless, plan to experience a sustainable, healthy, and affordable way to explore the great outdoors while embracing each remarkable destination’s sights, sounds, and flavors.

Find Your Cycling Paradise in North Lake Tahoe

A man and women stand over their mountain bikes while gazing at Lake Tahoe
Photo by Chris Segal

What better place to begin your next cycling adventure than North Lake Tahoe? North Lake Tahoe is a cycling paradise with stunning views and endless biking trails. If you want a challenge, try tackling the Flume Trail via mountain bike. 

The Flume Trail Mountain Bike Route is a moderately tricky one-way, 14-mile ride at 7000′ to 8000′ feet in elevation, with over 1000′ of climbing in the first four miles and 4.5 miles of single track. 

For a longer trail, consider the Tahoe Rim Trail. This 165-mile long-distance trail forms a loop around Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada and Carson ranges of California and Nevada in the United States. 

The trail ranges in elevation from 6,240 feet (1,900 m) at the outlet of Lake Tahoe to 10,338 feet (3,151 m) at Relay Peak in Nevada. No matter your skill level or interests, you will find a bike trail perfect for you in North Lake Tahoe. So, lace up your shoes and hit the trail!

For North Lake Tahoe, let’s break it up by cycling-friendly towns to explore after a ride: 

Located in Incline Village, NV, is the Flume Trail we previously mentioned and the Tahoe East Shore Trail—a three-mile paved portion of the Tahoe Trail that will eventually go around all of Lake Tahoe. Those looking to grab a bite to eat after biking on one of these two excellent trails in Incline Village should head over to Country Club Drive and explore one of the family-owned restaurants here. 

A local favorite is Mountain High Sandwich Company—an all-natural gourmet deli emphasizing fresh, healthy whole foods and a casual, friendly environment. If you have a food allergy or a specific diet, this is the place to go. They offer vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free options, and more. 

Another local favorite is Austin’s Family Restaurant, which has excellent chicken fried steak, meatloaf, and unbeatable-sized salads for everyone in the group. 

On the California side, visitors should head to Palisades Tahoe, where they can rent a bike at the Village Bike Rental and cruise along the scenic bike path through Olympic Valley and the Truckee River. Once you’re done riding, explore the shops and restaurants in the Palisades Tahoe Village. 

Remember that some restaurants are only open seasonally, so paying attention to what’s open year-round is essential. Some year-round restaurants include Fireside Pizza Company and Granite Bistro. 

Travelers who need to rent gear in the destination, don’t worry. Many gear shops will be happy to help rent out a mountain bike or regular bike. A popular one in the area is Tahoe Adventure Company, which leads high-quality adventure travel trips and tours focusing on experiencing the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains, trails, and brilliant waters of Lake Tahoe. 

Unlimited Adventure in Siskiyou County, CA

 A female cyclist rides her gravel bike on a rocky trail with Mt. Shasta in the background

Siskiyou County is a vast destination. It’s the size of Connecticut, with 4% of the population, so there is much room to explore. The trails near Mount Shasta are heavenly, and you can choose from restaurants in both Dunsmuir and Mount Shasta after your ride. 

Part of the Black Butte Trail is located near Mount Shasta, so there are a few spots to stop for a post-ride meal. For a place to eat, the Yak’s Shack in Mount Shasta is a great stop. 

This is not to be confused with Yaks on the 5 in Dunsmuir, a sit-down restaurant. While the same people own them, Yak’s Shack has an entirely different vibe. Its menu features burgers with fun names like, “Make Me Want To Cry Garlic Obsession,” which is covered in fermented garlic, topped with melted cheddar cheese, and more. 

Also, in Mount Shasta, you can rent bikes from Deadwood Supply Co.

In Dunsmuir, The Wheelhouse is a perfect spot to go and eat. The vibe of this place is enchanting and rustic, and they even have a patio outside so guests can enjoy the sound of the Sacramento River outside. They have local craft beer, cider, and board and card games. It’s a great place to stop and relax after a long ride. 

Siskiyou County is a destination beyond the ordinary because it’s uniquely touched by all four seasons, shaped by rich local pride, and watched over by a legendary mountain. 

A make cyclist rides his gravel bike at a Grinduro event in Siskiyou County, CA.

If you are looking for a challenge, the Black Butte Trail, the largest of Mount Shasta’s satellite volcanic peaks, is a 15-mile trail that winds through the forest and along the river. Many trails throughout Siskiyou offer fantastic views, including the Klamath River Trail Loop, a 9-mile loop that passes through an old-growth forest of Douglas fir, pine madrone, and numerous oak species. 

Mt. Shasta Mountain Bike Park is great for all riding levels and provides a unique experience with 15 trails, including a Skills Park. 

Siskiyou is home to one of the Grinduro races. This internationally recognized event occurs in Germany, Wales, Italy, Japan, Pennsylvania, and Siskiyou’s Mt Shasta. Grinduro is a gravel road race, and mountain-bike style enduro on one long loop of pavement and dirt. Finishing times in a Grinduro event aren’t based on overall loop time but on four timed segments, each roughly five to ten minutes. 

Underrated Cycling Destination in Texas Hill Country

Downtown Bastrop, Texas

Last but certainly not least, Bastrop in Texas is an excellent destination for biking in the U.S. Bastrop is a charming town in the heart of Texas Hill Country. It is a great place to visit for a relaxing weekend getaway or a more extended vacation. 

Bastrop offers many bike trails and paths, so you can find one perfect for your interests. Bastrop State Park is a go-to for those looking for a bike adventure. It has over 20 trails, including paved paths and mountain biking trails. If mountain biking is more your style, the Rocky Hill Ranch has been open for mountain bikers and other trail users since 1993. Finally, Bastrop’s North Shore and South Shore Park are fabulous for those exploring outdoors via a 4-mile bike trail. 

Whether you choose North Lake Tahoe, Siskiyou County, or Bastrop as your biking destination, each offers a captivating experience. From the stunning trails and breathtaking views of North Lake Tahoe to the rugged beauty and diverse trails of Siskiyou County and the charming town and scenic routes of Bastrop, these destinations provide ample opportunities to pedal your way through remarkable landscapes. So, grab your bike, map out your route, and let the journey begin.

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