Old La Honda & Tunitas Creek

Sunday, May 26, 2013

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Today I’m leading one of my favorite rides from Woodside; this very hilly route includes a climb up Old La Honda Rd up to Skyline Blvd followed by a twisty descent to CA-84. It stays on CA-84 out to CA-1 for a gorgeous run along the San Mateo coastline out to the back ridge on Bean Hollow Rd. The climb up Stage Rd is followed by another beautiful long climb through the redwoods on Tunitas Creek Rd. The ride concludes with a wicked descent on Kings Mountain Rd back to Woodside.

We head south on Whiskey Hill Rd to Sand Hill and Portola Rd to Old La Honda Rd.

Old La Honda Rd is a gorgeous 3.4 mile stretch of road that winds around the narrow switchbacks through the canopy of trees and beautiful redwoods. The average grade is 7% with several steeper sections with 9-10% grades.

The descent on Old La Honda to CA-84/La Honda Rd is on a narrow twisty road with many blind corners-be cautious, watch for cyclist and cars coming from the opposite direction!

We head west on CA-84 for the next 12.2 miles; the rolling descent and gentle climbs take us out to the San Mateo coastline on CA-1/Cabrillo Hwy.

The 7.5 miles south along CA-1 is absolutely beautiful; I love riding this portion of the California coast and truly enjoy the phenomenal views of the Pacific Ocean and its golden sandy beaches, dunes, coastal shrubs, driftwood, sandstone bluffs, rocky shores and roaring waves. The rolling climbs along CA-1 may look daunting but they’re pretty short with gradient ranges of 7-9%. Don’t forget to look around and take in the natural beauty of your surroundings!





The turn on Bean Hollow Rd take us north with a short climb up along a ridge with breathtaking views of the Santa Cruz Mountains and of the valleys below! The sweeping descent drops us into the small town of Pescadero.



The lunch stop is at Norm’s Market/Arcangeli Grocery; the long driveway leads us to the nice picnic area at the back of the store. The artichoke garlic herb bread is delicious and all the other pastry items are fabulous! They also make the best chocolate chip cookie and chocolate croissant-yummy!


The 8.4 miles on Stage Rd has 3 separate climbs with a couple of fun downhills in between. The first climb from North Rd up to the top has gentle grades of 4-5% followed by a blasting descent down to Pomponio Creek.

The second climb on Stage Rd begins at the creek crossing up towards the grove of eucalyptus trees and cuts through the Santa Cruz Mountains with steeper grades of 7-11%. The twisty descent along the back side of the ridge has great views of the ocean and of the surrounding hills; the road drops us down to CA-84 at San Gregorio.

The third climb up Stage Rd from San Gregorio is 1.1 miles with an average grade of 5%; the fabulous mountain and valley views are a great distraction to the steady ascent to the top at CA-1.


The fast descent on CA-1 brings us to the turn on Tunitas Creek Rd; there’s no signage for this road so it’s easy to miss-the turn is at the first intersection after the bridge crossing.

Tunitas Creek Rd is 9.4 miles long from CA-1 all the way up to Skyline Blvd. The first mile up to the red Bike Hut has one little hump; this is a great place to stop if you’re running short on water and snacks, they even have some bike tools if you should need to use them.


The next few miles of gentle rolling terrain goes pass a few farms, ranches, homes and open meadows.

The steeper climb begins as you enter the magnificent redwood forest along the west edge of Tunitas Creek Open Space Preserve on a narrow single lane road; it winds up through the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains between 2 ridges. The road runs along Tunitas Creek with initial gradient ranges of 7-9% and gradually increases up the wall and switchbacks with grades of 9-12%! Enjoy the beauty and calm of the redwoods and get into your own rhythm on this climb.

The last 2.5+ miles on Tunitas Creek Rd winds up through the wonderful canopy of trees on gentle 3-4% rolling terrain all the way up to the top at Skyline Blvd.

The five mile descent on Kings Mountain Rd can be very fast, proceed with caution; this narrow road has many tight hairpin turns and blind curves! This road leads us to Woodside Rd and back to the Town Hall parking lot.

Thanks to everyone for coming out to join me for this beautiful hilly ride through the Santa Cruz Mountains and out to the San Mateo coastline! This ride has a bit of everything from the towering redwoods to the spectacular Pacific Ocean and the gorgeous valleys! Come ride this for yourself and you’ll love it too!

38 people in attendance with 1 tandem

Garmin Stats:
57 Miles with 5699′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1806′
Avg grade: 4%
Max grade: 12%

Weather: Wonderful! Sunny and warm with mild NW coastal winds. Temps ranged from the high 40’s to the low 70’s

Don’t exist. Live. Get out, explore. Thrive. Challenge yourself. Evolve. Change forever. Keep moving. Don’t stop.   ~Brian Krans


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Follow this route for today’s ride:

One Comment

  1. Hi Nancy

    Great photos, I love it!!

    Next time you are in this neighborhood let me know ahead of time and I will try to meet up with you. I was riding on many of the same roads today 🙂

    I hope and trust all is well. Hi to Michael.

    yours, Brian

    Brian, Great to know you’re back on the bike! For sure, I’ll plan a ride out that way-I’ll email you. Are you ready for the DR? Nancy


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