HMB-Pigeon Point Lighthouse-Gazos Creek-Stage-Lobitos Creek-Purisima Creek-Higgins Canyon

Saturday, July 19, 2014

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This route begins in Half Moon Bay and goes along the beautiful San Mateo coastline on CA-1 S to Pigeon Point Lighthouse. It turns inland on Gazos Creek and heads north on Cloverdale Rd to Pescadero for lunch at Arcangeli Grocery Co. The ride continues up Stage Rd to CA-1 N and Tunitas Creek Rd. The climb up Lobitos Creek Rd tops out along the ridge and drops down onto Verde Rd to Purisima Creek Rd. The route climbs up Higgins Canyon before descending back down into Half Moon Bay.

We take Kelly Ave to CA-1 and head south along the coast for the next 20.3 miles to Pigeon Point Rd.

CA-1 S leads us out of town pass the local ball field, restaurants, horse ranches and golf courses.

The flat miles on CA-1 S continue through the rich coastal agricultural farmlands out to Bob’s Vegetable Stand & Pumpkin Farm.

The road continues up and down through the open coastal meadows and woodlands before dropping down towards Tunitas Creek.

CA-1 S tilts up from the bridge crossing with a climb up to Gordon Ridge at Stage Rd; it’s 1.3 mile with an average grade of 6.4%.

From Stage Rd, CA- 1 S sweeps down towards San Gregorio State Beach at the junction with CA-84.

The road kicks up with another climb from San Gregorio; it’s 4/10th of a mile with an average grade of 9%.

CA-1 S continues for the next 2.5 miles with a series of short rolling climbs to Pomponio State Beach-take a few seconds to look around and enjoy the beautiful coastal views!

The road descends from Pomponio Beach to the flats along Sand Beach to Pescadero State Beach with wonderful views of the gorgeous rocky coastline.

The next 5 flat miles continues along the beautiful coast to the turn onto Pigeon Point Rd.

Pigeon Point Rd is a great detour off CA-1; it hugs the coastal shores to Pigeon Point Lighthouse.

Take the time to walk onto the boardwalk that leads out to Pigeon Point and take in the spectacular views from the back of the fog signal building.

We continue on CA-1 S for the next 2.2 miles to the turn inland on Gazos Creek Rd.

Gazos Creek Rd is a beautiful quiet single lane road that travels underneath a canopy of trees along Gazos Creek with minimal to no traffic to the south tip of Butano State Park.

Cloverdale Rd gently climbs up along the west edge of Butano State Park before kicking up to a short steep pitch with 10-12% grades.

This less traveled road takes you up and over onto the flatlands with open meadows, scattered ranches and agricultural farms.

The turn on Pescadero Creek Rd takes us to the small community of Pescadero.

Stage Rd-Pescadero

We stop for lunch at Arcangeli’s-Norm’s Market on Stage Rd. Try out their fresh baked goods; from the warm garlic artichoke bread to the variety of pastries and cookies, it’s all delicious!

We continue north on Stage Rd for the next 8.4 miles; it’s a series of 3 climbs with fun rolling descents in between. Stage Rd begins on flat terrain towards the hillside cemeteries to the eucalyptus lined road leading out to the valley ranch and farm house.

The first climb is about a mile long with an average grade of 4.6%.

Stage Rd sweeps down below the Santa Cruz Mountains to the bridge crossing over Pomponio Creek.

The second climb enters a grove of eucalyptus trees up to the back side of the mountain; it’s 0.8 mile with an average grade of 6.8% and steep pitches of 10-11%.

The twisty descent goes along the back of the ridge with marvelous views of the coastal valley with a glimpse of the ocean! The road drops down to CA-84 into San Gregorio.

The third climb begins from San Gregorio to CA-1 N; it’s 1.2 miles with an average grade of 6.2%.

The descent on CA-1 N leads to the turn onto Tunitas Creek Rd. The gentle rolling terrain along lower Tunitas Creek leads us to the climb up Lobitos Creek Rd.*

Lobitos Creek Rd is a gorgeous climb on a single lane road; it goes underneath the redwoods and winds around stands of eucalyptus trees to the summit at Irish Ridge. This area around the ridge is known as “horse country’ with numerous horse ranches and boarding facilities. It’s 7/10th of a mile with an average grade of 7.1%. The valley and mountains views are absolutely stunning! The road winds its way down the canyon for 3.4 beautiful miles to Verde Rd.*

Verde Rd runs parallel above CA-1 for 1.6 miles on rolling terrain to Purisima Creek Rd with scenic views of the expansive agricultural fields and blue waters of the Pacific.*

Purisima Creek Rd stretches 3.6 miles between two ridges from Verde Rd to the NE end at the trailhead into Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve. The rolling terrain follows the curvatures of Purisima Creek through a picturesque horse ranching and residential community with wide open pastoral fields and meadows.*

At Whittmore Gulch, the road name changes to Higgins Canyon Rd. Higgins Canyon climbs for 0.9 mile up to McGovern Ridge with an average grade of 7%.

Enjoy the marvelous valley and forested mountain views!

Higgins Canyon Rd descends from the ridge top to the coastal agricultural valley floor around Half Moon Bay.

Main St leads us back to the center of town to Kelly Ave.

This is a gorgeous ride around the many quiet coastal back roads around the Santa Cruz Mountains. The stretch along CA-1 S from Half Moon Bay to Pigeon Point Lighthouse is quite spectacular-enjoy the views!

*While uploading photos from today, I inadvertently deleted a whole selection of pics from my SD card which explains the lack of images from Tunitas Creek to Lobitos Creek and Purisima Creek. This only means I’ll have to go back for another ride-maybe do the reverse route and climb west Lobitos Creek.

Garmin Stats:
60 Miles with 4633′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 749′
Max grade: 12%
Terrain: Hilly with a few steep climbs

Weather: Overcast cloudy skies with partial afternoon sun. Temps ranging from the high 50’s to the mid 70’s. NW winds with 94% humidity

Click here to view the interactive route map & elevation profile


Follow this route for today’s ride:


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