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Finding a place to ride an ATV or dirt bike near San Francisco is more challenging than finding an apartment for less than $5k/month (just kidding, but you get the idea!). The good news is if you are willing to plan a little and drive a couple hours, there is still some good offroad riding and camping to be found near "The City".
Carnegie is the closest public riding area and is about 1.5 hours east. This large park is open daily, year-round and has a good variety of trails, multiple motocross tracks, steep hill climbs and some nice campsites.
South Cow Mountain is about 2 hours north and is perfect for those looking for rough and rugged trails with a variety of elevation changes.
Hollister Hills is about 2 hours southeast and features trails for all skill levels and vehicle types, plus there is a ton of campsites to choose from. The park is open daily, year-round, making it very attractive to offroaders in the Bay Area.
Frank Raines OHV Park is about 2 hours east. The property features wide and rugged 4x4 trails but is popular with all offroad vehicles. The trails do close for fire season around late June through October but the campground is open year-round.
San Luis Reservoir is about 2 hours southeast. This small area is only 150 acres but doesn't get a lot of visitors. The terrain is mostly flat, but is a good place to bring the kids to get some riding lessons in. The trails are open for day use only, but camping is a short distance away.
Knoxville is only 2.5 hours north but offers 24,000 acres of public land to ride on. Some neat camping spots overlooking a shallow creek can be found at the southern entrance.
Foresthill is just 2.5 hours east, plus its an easy drive off I-80. One of the cooler riding choices, this area is tucked away in the Tahoe National Forest. Lots of free primitive camping choices in the forest or you can splurge on a campsite with direct trail access and a lake shore view at Morning Star Lake Campground.
Stonyford is about 3 hours north and for decades was one of the choice destinations for dirt bike riders. Unfortunately this area is still recovering from the 2018 Mendocino Fire Complex, which means as of August 2019 only a handful of trails and a few campgrounds are open.
Penny Pines is also about 3 hours north. Just like Stonyford, Penny Pines is still recovering from the 2018 River and Ranch Fires. Most of the trails and campground areas are closed as of August 2019 but with help from the Forest Service, volunteer groups and a little luck, Penny Pines should bounce back. When it was open, this area had 135 miles of black diamond trails, which catered to the experienced rider.
Santa Clara County Motorcycle Park is just an hour south in San Jose. The park is open year-round Thursday through Sunday and features miles of trails, motocross tracks plus an obstacle course.
Club Moto is about an hour east and features a main track that is lighted for night practice and a separate peewee track for beginners. Occasional motocross races are hosted and both private and group riding lessons are offered. Call for details.
Diablo MX is about an hour north-east and offers an amazing old school motocross track built into a hillside with 300' elevation changes. The park also features a separate peewee track and plenty of room for parking.
Argyll MX has been around since the early 70's and offers a main and a separate peewee track. Weekly practice and occasional motocross races are hosted throughout the season. Check hotline for current practice schedule.