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Top 5s & 10s From California Camping California Camping

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1) Samuel P. Taylor State Park -
This redwood paradise is a great place to take the family, particularly for weekend trips based out of the park's campground. The finest mountain biking in the North Bay can be accessed from here. That includes nearby Bolinas Ridge, several rides on ranch roads at Point Reyes, and two pleasant rides within park boundaries -- one to Devil's Gulch, the other a paved route along Papermill Creek.

2) Briones Regional Park -
Beautiful Briones Reservoir is the centerpiece of this park, which covers 5,300 acres of rolling grasslands and oak woodlands. A challenging loop ride is a route that goes from the Homestead Valley Trail to Sindicich Lagoon, around Briones Peak, and back. Sure, this one is a puffer, but the view from the peak is well worth the grind.

3) Annadel State Park -
This park, located just off Highway 12 southeast of Santa Rosa, provides a myriad of ranch roads to explore. They crisscross 5,000 acres of rocky terrain, including a route that takes you to a backcountry bass lake. "You can easily spend a full day riding at Annadel," Michael Hodgson says. (His favorite destinations are Ledson, Marsh and the trail toward Lake Ilsanjo, the Rough Go Trail, and the Spring Creek Trail.

4) Monte Bello Open Space Preserve -
Some of the best riding terrain on the Peninsula is found in this region. A bonus is that the routes connect to adjacent greenbelts, including the Long Ridge Open Space Preserve, the Saratoga Gap Open Space Preserve, Stevens Creek County Park, and the Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve. It is possible to connect one continuous loop encompassing all of these parks.

5) Wilder Ranch State Park -
This state park is located two miles north of Santa Cruz, adjacent to Highway 1. It is a historical preserve, but hidden beyond the ranch are several excellent mountain biking trails (mostly jeep roads). The trail system is ideal for beginners, yet still fun for advanced riders.

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