Sunday, July 27, 2014
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This loop begins in the town of Woodside and goes up around the Santa Cruz Mountains on Kings Mtn Rd and Skyline Blvd to La Honda on CA-84. It continues up Haskins Hill on Pescadero Creek Rd to Arcangeli’s in Pescadero. The route heads up Stage Rd to CA-1 and climbs up Lobitos Creek Rd to Irish Ridge before ascending Tunitas Creek Rd to Kings Mountain.
We begin from the Woodside Town Hall parking lot off Whiskey Hill Rd and head west on Woodside Rd pass Roberts Market, the elementary school, the local library and fire station towards Kings Mountain Rd.
Kings Mountain Rd is a 5 miles stretch of road that ascends from Tripp Gulch up to the summit at Skyline Blvd. The first 0.8 mile leading to the Woodside Store Historic Site is fairly flat.
The road gradually kicks up for the next 1.5 miles with an average grade of 6.5%as we enter and exit under the shaded woodlands through a residential neighborhood to the entrance to Huddart Park.
The road continues to wind its way up Kings Mountain beneath the gorgeous canopy of towering redwoods and mixed woodlands around Huddart Park and Teague Hill Open Space Preserve to Summit Springs. It’s 2.5 miles with an average grade of 7.3% with steeper grades of 11-13% up and around the narrow switchbacks to the wooden water tower.
The road continues to the summit for the next 0.3 mile on a narrow two lane road under the deep shade of the redwoods with gradient ranges of 5-7%.
We head SE on Skyline Blvd for the next 5.5 miles; the gentle rolling terrain goes under the dense woodlands around El Corte De Madera Creek Open Space Preserve before descending to the mountain community of Skywoods Skylonda at the junction to CA-84.
We continue south on CA-84/La Honda Rd; this is a beautiful stretch of road with wonderful smooth pavement. It gently descends through the woods for over 6 miles and winds down to the small town of La Honda.
The turn on Pescadero Rd takes us along the edge of the dense forests around Sam McDonald County Park to the bridge crossing over Alpine Creek to Pescadero Creek Rd.
Pescadero Creek Rd goes through San McDonald County Park under the splendid shade of the redwoods to the summit of Haskins Hill. It’s a 1.7 mile climb with an average grade of 6.7%; you’re near the top when you see the orange horse xing sign. The road exits the redwoods to an open clearing at the summit. Enjoy the views of the expansive lush green woodlands!
The descent on Pescadero Creek Rd winds down Haskins Hill to Jones Gulch and continues through the woodlands around Memorial County Park to the small town of Loma Mar.
The road continues through the woods as it follows the curves of Pescadero Creek to the narrow bridge crossing. Pescadero Creek Rd exits the woods out to a small ranch and farm community.
Pescadero Creek Rd turns west through the open valley and farmlands around Pescadero.
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.
We stop for lunch at Arcangeli-Norms’ Market; try the warm garlic artichoke bread, chocolate chip cookie and chocolate croissant!
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 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%. Enjoy the valley views!
We head north on CA-1 for 3.2 descending miles to Verde Rd.
Verde Rd takes us pass Arata’s Pumpkin Farm to Lobitos Creek Rd.
Lobitos Creek Rd is an exceptional beautiful 4.1 miles stretch of road that heads inland to the summit of Irish Ridge. It begins on gentle rolling terrain for the first 1.2 miles along Lobitos Creek to Rogers Gulch with fabulous views of the green mountain ridges.
At the creek crossing, the road doubles back on itself and climbs up along the ridge for the next 0.9 miles with an average grade of 8.4% and steeper pitches of 11-13% around the switchbacks.
Lobitos Creek Rd levels out and descends through a small ranching community to Lobitos Creek Ranch. Take the time to enjoy the spectacular ridge top views of the surrounding mountains and forested ridges-WOW!
The road climbs up for another 0.4 mile to the summit of Irish Ridge with an average grade of 5.5%-enjoy the views!
Lobitos Creek Rd continues under the shade of a eucalyptus grove and passes through a couple of horse ranches before descending into the redwoods to Tunitas Creek Rd.
We head NE on Tunitas Creek Rd; this is a gorgeous 5.7 miles climb up under the quiet stillness of the dense redwood cover to Skyline Blvd. The first 2.8 miles winds its way up the mountain with an average grade of 7.4% and steeper pitches of 10-12% around the switchbacks.
The road gradually levels out at mile 50.2 for the next 2.9 miles up to the summit with an average grade of 3%.
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 a challenging ride around the gorgeous less-traveled back roads and redwood forests around the Santa Cruz Mountains. Get out and enjoy the quiet calm through the woodlands and take in the crisp cool mountain air!
58.26 Miles with 6519′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 2264′
Max grade: 13%
Terrain: Extremely Hilly
Weather: Sunny and warm with temps ranging from the low 60’s to the high 80’s. NW winds with 73% humidity
Click here to view the interactive route map & elevation profile
Follow this route for today’s ride:
Very nice write up. This is one of my favorite routes too. Feel a little spoiled that we have these roads in my backyard.
BTW, the three climbs on Stage Rd are also commonly known as the 3 sisters.
We do live in a great place-thanks for the info on the 3 sisters, I didn’t know! Happy riding! Nancy