Old La Honda-Pescadero-Stage-Tunitas Creek

Sunday, May 4, 2014

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This ride is a Bay Area classic with challenging gorgeous climbs through the redwoods and up along the back roads around the Santa Cruz Mountains with minimal to no traffic. We’ll climb Old La Honda Rd to Pescadero Creek Rd into Pescadero and continue up Stage Rd to CA-1 and complete the loop with a beautiful climb up Tunitas Creek Rd.

We begin in the town of Woodside and head south through a wooded neighborhood on Mountain Home Rd to the horse ranches on Portola Rd. 

Old La Honda Rd is a one of the most popular cycling roads in this area; it’s a single lane road with great pavement and little to no traffic. The climb from the base to the summit at Skyline Blvd is 3.4 miles with an average grade of 7.3%.

This classic climb winds up along the mountain under the shaded woodlands with estate homes tucked away from the main road. 

It’s a beautiful road with narrow switchbacks that lead us through the towering redwoods and shaded canyon to the summit at Skyline Blvd.

We cross Skyline Blvd and stay on Old La Honda for the gorgeous 2.6 miles twisty descent through the redwoods out to the open ridge down to CA-84. Caution-this narrow single lane road has many blind curves-watch for cyclists and cars coming up from the opposite direction!

We head west on CA-84 for the next 3.9 fun sweeping miles pass the town of La Honda to Pescadero Rd.

The 1.1 flat miles on Pescadero Rd runs along the forested eastern edge of Sam McDonald County Park.

We cross over Alpine Creek to Pescadero Creek Rd; this climb up to the summit of Haskins Hill goes through the redwoods surrounding the Sam McDonald County Park. It’s 1.7 miles with an average grade of 6.7%.

You’re near the summit when you see the “Horse camp Entrance” sign; the road exits the redwoods to an open clearing at the summit. Enjoy the views of the expansive lush green woodlands!

Pescadero Creek Rd descends quickly down Haskins Hill through the green woodlands pass Memorial County Park to the small town of Loma Mar.

The road continues on a rolling downhill to the bridge crossing over Pescadero Creek with views of country homes tucked behind the redwoods.

Pescadero Creek Rd leads out of the woods through a farming and ranching community.

The road turns west through the open valley and farmlands.

The turn on North St takes us through the small residential community of Pescadero with a goat dairy farm and colorful crafted old wooden homes. This little town with a population of 643 even has two churches!


We stop for lunch at Arcangeli’s Grocery; their fresh baked garlic-artichoke bread is divine and the chocolate chip cookies and chocolate croissants are the best!

Stage Rd take us north out of town on flat terrain pass the cemeteries to the open ranch lands.

The eucalyptus lined road goes through the valley ranches and farms around China Flat with grazing horses and lots of pigs.

Stage Rd runs 8.3 miles up from the valley to CA-1; it’s three small climbs with a couple of fun descents in between. The first climb begins at mile 28.3 for an elevation gain of 251′; it’s one mile long with an average grade of 4.75% followed by a fantastic sweeping 1.1 mile descent to the bridge crossing over Pomponio Creek. Enjoy the valley views and green hills!

The base of the second climb begins after the creek crossing; it’s 0.7 mile with an average grade of 8.2% and elevation gain of 303′. The road runs up through the eucalyptus grove to the outer ridge with fabulous valley and mountain views. 

Stage Rd drops down along the lower ridge for a fun scenic run with gorgeous views of the green mountain valleys and the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean!

We cross San Gregorio Creek into San Gregorio.

The third climb on Stage Rd continues north through San Gregorio; it’s 1.1 mile with an average grade of 7% and elevation gain of 402′ up to CA-1. 

Take the time to look around-the valley views are absolutely stunning!

beautiful valley views

beautiful valley views

We continue on CA-1 N for the next 1.6 fast miles down to Tunitas Creek Rd. Caution-there is no shoulder area at the Tunitas Creek bridge crossing-watch traffic!

Tunitas Creek Rd runs 9.4 miles from the west end at CA-1 to the east end at Skyline Blvd. The first flat mile takes us through a farming and ranching community in the lower valley.

We make a brief stop at The Bike Hut; they now have a permanent porta-potty for public use located east up the road-250′ at the second driveway. THANK YOU Potrero Nuevo Farm!

Tunitas Creek Rd continues on flat gentle terrain for the next 2.8 miles; it follows the curvatures of Tunitas Creek along the western edge of Tunitas Creek Open Space Preserve.

Near the intersection with Lobitos Creek Rd at mile 38.9, the gradient increases as you enter the quiet dense redwood forest; the climb is 3.4 miles with an average grade of 7.2% and steep sections winding up to the switchbacks with grades of  10-12%. Take the time to enjoy the stillness of the forest and the peaceful calm it brings-it’s active meditation!

The road snakes up around the mountain and gradually flattens out at around mile 42.3 with an average grade of 3% for the last 2.8 miles up to the summit at Skyline Blvd.

We cross Skyline Blvd for the screaming corkscrew descent on Kings Mountain Rd; caution-this road has many narrow tight hairpin turns! The drop down Kings Mountain lead us onto the flats on Woodside Rd and back to the parking lot at the Town Hall.

This is one of my favorite rides-it’s one of the best routes in the SF/Bay Area! It’s quality miles with gorgeous climbs along the remote back roads around the Santa Cruz Mountains! Get out and enjoy the quiet calm through the woodlands and take in the crisp cool mountain air!

Garmin Stats:
51.16 Miles with 5482′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 2049′
Max grade: 12%
Terrain: Extremely Hilly

Weather: Partly cloudy with some afternoon sun. Temps ranging from the high 40’s to the high 60’s. Breezy NW winds with 59% humidity.

Click here to view the interactive route map & profile


Follow this route for today’s ride:


One Comment

  1. Nancy, Great pictures and a very good ride description. Gee your cue sheet looks a lot nicer than the one I had!! A very picturesque and challenging ride.

    Thanks for the invite Carole-this is one of my favorite rides! Nancy


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