FATMAP difficulty grade
California’s King Range is one of the most remote and isolated spots in this populous state.
In sharp contrast to the mass of humanity crowded into the metropolitan areas along the southern half of the California Coast, here the wilderness stretches from mountain tops to ocean coastline.
Indeed, the region is known as the “Lost Coast,” and when you too make the effort to reach it, you’ll verify for yourself that it is well and truly lost. While most of the singletrack trails are locked up in Wilderness areas, there are a couple of bike-legal routes for mountain bikers to explore.
Paradise Royale is the most trafficked mountain biking loop in the King Range, and a must-do for mountain bikers passing through the area. The loop ride traverses machine-built singletrack with sections of flowy trail and tough climbs.
The trail drops into a narrow mountain valley and then ascends to the top of a mountain at the very pinnacle of a ridge.
From the mountain top, you'll enjoy a long high-speed descent down old logging roads-turned-trail back to the creek bottom. While Paradise Royale does have sections of beautiful trail and moments of adrenaline on the high-speed flowy downhills, this loop can still feel a bit disappointing.
For the amount of work that’s required to pedal all the way up the mountain, the reward feels limited.
It’s always frustrating to jam on the brakes to negotiate an off-camber corner where a well-placed berm could keep you whizzing down the mountain, especially when there are berms in other corners on the same trail.
A few awkward sections will also have you wondering who designed and built this trail in the first place. At the end of the day, getting to mountain bike in the isolated King Range is a rare experience.
The trailhead for Paradise Royale might be one of the most difficult to reach in the lower 48—the isolation is that dramatic.
But the trail experience itself still feels lacking.