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Best Gravel Cycling Events in California 2023

Best Gravel Cycling Events in California 2023

Updated Nov 6, 2022

The team at Strambecco rates the top gravel cycling events in California for 2023 based on various factors, including reputation, route quality, location, rider feedback, and the overall uniqueness of the event or race.  California offers a stunning array of event options spanning high alpine, old-growth forests, remote logging roads, coastal (the famed Highway 1), desert, and everything in between.  Strambecco does not cover every event, only those we deem the best.  Our recommendations are bucket list events by themselves and almost always take place at a high-quality destination that offers a great opportunity for a longer getaway.

If we had to pick the best, we’d recommend the Belgian Waffle Ride in April, the Truckee Dirt Fondo in June, and the USAL Hopper: Lost Coast in October.   We also strongly correlate the best events and professional event producers.  In California, premiere event producers include  Monuments of Cycling, Bike Monkey, Grasshopper, and LifeTime Events.

Strambecco does not list every event.  We strive to identify and review events that are special and noteworthy.  If you have suggestions on other events we should consider or review, please get in touch with us here or send us a note at editors@strambecco.com.

Best Road Cycling Events in California 2023

Low Gap: Grasshopper

Low Gap is the first stop of the six-event Grasshopper Adventure Series produced by Hopper Adventures, a leading Northwest and global event producer.    This epic mixed-terrain adventure has become a “Hopper…

Rock Cobbler (Bianci)

A favorite among gravel aficionados, Bianchi Rock Cobbler, is a quirky and challenging adventure race in/around the surrounding hills of Bakersfield, California.  Rated by Strambecco as one of the best gravel grinders…

Huffmaster Hopper

The classic Huffmaster Hopper, produced by Hopper Adventures, and the second leg of the six-part Grasshopper Adventure Series.  The event starts in Maxwell, California. West of Hwy 5 and east of the…

Sherwood Adventure: Grasshopper

This is a true NorCal mixed-terrain Hopper Adventure and the third leg of the six-part Grasshopper Adventure Series.  The event starts in Caspar, California, a small community north of Mendocino.  On this…

Gran Fondo Hincapie Merced

A promising new event on the California early 2023 season gravel calendar, produced by Hincapie Events, whose namesake is former world tour rider George Hincapie, best known for riding and completing the…

Fish Rock

Fish Rock is a serious event billed as a “Road bike race for people who aren’t afraid of a little hardcore gravel.” Picked as one of our best gravel cycling events in…

Belgian Waffle Ride California (San Diego)

The Belgian Waffle Ride is considered one of the unique cycling events in the country with 1500+ participants and stands as one of the largest gravel events in America, surpassed in size…

Sea Otter Classic

The Sea Otter Classic, produced by Life Time Events, is a classic and the largest festival and gathering of cycling enthusiasts in North America. Picked as one of our best gravel cycling…

King Ridge Dirt Supreme

Hopper Adventures presents King Ridge Dirt Supreme, offering two stunning California coastal route options.  Picked as one of our best gravel cycling events in California, option #1 is an 80-mile course with…

Lost and Found Gravel Festival

Lost and Found Gravel Festival offers a mixed surface blend throughout the Lost Sierra, some of California’s most beautiful and vast alpine valleys. Picked as one of our best gravel cycling events…

Humboldt Hopper: Grasshopper

Hopper Adventures presents Humboldt Hopper, the series finale of the six-leg Grasshopper Adventure Series, a 99-mile course with mixed pavement and gravel with two timed segments and 11,600 feet of elevation gain.…

Truckee Tahoe Gravel

Formerly known as Truckee Dirt Fondo, Truckee Tahoe Gravel, produced by premier event operator Bike Monkey, is a wild mixed-terrain adventure ride into the gravel and dirt roads of the majestic Tahoe…

USAL Hopper: The Lost Coast

Chosen as one of our best gravel cycling events in California, the Lost Coast off-road biking event is an extremely beautiful and unique experience organized by Hopper Adventures. The Lost Coast is…

Heart of Gold Gravel

Heart of Gold Gravel, produced by Bike Monkey,  explores remote roads north and east of Nevada City, California. Picked as one of our best gravel cycling events in California, the course features…

The Hammer Road Rally

The Hammer Road Rally, produced by Bike Monkey,  is one of California’s premiere gravel events. Picked as one of our best gravel cycling events in California, it features some of the most…

The Bovine Classic

The Bovine Classic is a relatively new event billed tongue in cheek as “America’s 4th Hardest, Cow-Themed, Wine Country Experience.”  The event occurs in the Paso Robles wine region, a great, albeit…

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