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There’s something special about getting out of your car and hopping onto to two wheels to experience the great outdoors. It offers up unobstructed views, the pure scent of pine air and sounds of nature. To experience this yourself, these three car-free High Sierra bike paths offer you bike rides from winding trails through old growth forests to unrivaled scenic landscapes.

Pope-Baldwin Beach Bike Trail

Best Bike Paths In The High Sierra Pope Baldwin Beach Bike Path
Photo by: Rachid Dahnoun – Image appears courtesy: Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority

The southeast corner of Lake Tahoe is lined with an assortment of beaches. And as the summer warmth arrives, droves of people descend upon those sandy havens. While bumper to bumper traffic sits on Highway 89, you can escape the madness by hopping onto the Pope-Baldwin bike path. The 3.4-mile flat route whisks through old-growth pine trees and meadows filled with aspens. And the best part is its easy access to both Pope and Baldwin Beach, along with the Tallac Historic site and Camp Richardson’s famed ice cream shop.

Yosemite Valley

Best Bike Paths In The High Sierra Yosemite Bike Path
Photo by: Nancy Robbins – Image appears courtesy: Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau

The beating heart of Yosemite is the valley itself. It’s home to many of the famous cliffs and waterfalls that make Yosemite National Park famous. While it can be accessed by car, you’ll amplify the experience by hopping onto a bicycle. The Yosemite Valley multi-use trail system, at over 12 miles long, provides the opportunity to combine a short two-mile ride with a pit stop at the scenic Mirror Like. While it might be a bit chilly for most to jump into, it’s a perfect place to take off your shoes & socks and cool off those toasty digits. Another great option is to ride the five mile loop starting at the bike stand at the Yosemite Valley Lodge. As you pedal around taking in the massive granite walls looming above while hearing the thunderous symphony of falling water, you’ll fall in love with Yosemite deeper than you thought possible.

Note: While cruising around, be respectful for your fellow pedestrian nature lovers so everyone can enjoy the path together. 

For more family fun ideas, check out Yosemite Mariposa County’s article – things to do in Yosemite in the summer.

Truckee River Legacy Trail

Truckee River Legacy Trail
Image appears courtesy: Truckee Chamber Of Commerce

Being the only outlet from Lake Tahoe, the Truckee River is quite literally the lifeblood of the communities in the greater Reno-Tahoe area. The Truckee River Legacy trail hugs the river’s southern side, providing a scenic backdrop, an opportunity to see wildlife, countless bird species, and plenty of fresh air. With only a few small rolling hills, this 12 mile out and back trail makes for a perfect day outside for the entire family to enjoy.

All three of these bike paths in the High Sierra provide a relatively easy ride but with a nice dollop of adventure with them. So, don’t sit in traffic this season and instead pedal your way to see a whole new side of the Sierra.

Author: Alex Silgalis

Alex Silgalis is an outdoors travel writer who enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking, or having a cold one from a local mountain brewery. See more of Alex’s work at

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