Been in West Sacramento lately? With the completion of several multimillion-dollar projects to improve levees and restore riparian habitat, the area is a gravel rider’s dream come true, with multiple options for rides on the edge of the Sacramento River. Beginners can start with this easy loop, which begins on the bucolic Clarksburg Branch Line Trail, jumps onto the setback levee along the old South River Road, past the riparian forest known as Bees Lakes, and leads riders back into the urban, edgy and artsy Bridge District.
Distance: 10 miles
Difficulty: Beginner; if you want a greater challenge, head west on the paved trail at Barge Canal Access, which will shortly turn into gravel and will allow you to add a 10-mile out-and-back taking you past big ships in the port and birds in the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area just across the waterway.
Parking: West Sacramento Barge Canal Access, Barge Canal Access Road off Jefferson Boulevard
Restrooms: None on the trails; restrooms are available at Nugget and Target in Southport Town Center
Beware: This route does not offer much shade, so enjoy it early in the morning or on a cool day. Also, do not attempt it on your road bike.
Things to see and do: Keep your eyes peeled for leaping coyotes, geese and other wildlife. Enjoy West Sacramento’s exciting new Bridge District with the extraordinarily beautiful pavilion called The Barn and photo-worthy public art, the River Walk near the base of the Tower Bridge and the charming Tree House Cafe with healthy eats and locally brewed coffee and beer.