Santa Cruz Mtns: Page Mill-Skyline-La Honda-West Alpine

Saturday, August 2, 2014

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This short hilly route climbs up around the Santa Cruz Mountains on Page Mill Rd to Skyline Blvd. It drops down along CA-84 W to La Honda and continues on West Alpine Rd for the climb back up to Skyline.

Our ride begins from Pearson-Arastradero Preserve on Arastradero Rd in Palo Alto.

We head east on Arastradero Rd to Page Mill Rd.

Page Mill winds 8.3 miles from the Palo Alto Hills up through Foothills Park to the expansive woodlands around Foothills, Los Trancos and Montebello Open Space Preserves to the summit at Russian Ridge on Skyline Blvd.

The first 0.8 mile begins on false flat terrain along the residential neighborhoods around Palo Alto Hills. The road kicks up for the next 1.5 miles pass Altamont Circle to the switchback at the entrance to Foothills Park; the climb has gradient ranges of 5-9% along with a steep section with 10-13% grades.

The climbing continues with an average grade of 8% and steep pitches of 10-13%up towards Moody Rd and weaves under a canopy of dense woodlands to the backside of the ridge before descending towards Foothills Open Space Preserve.

Page Mill tilts up again and snakes up through the woodlands for the next 1.1 mile to Los Trancos Trail with an average grade of 9.6% and steep pitches of 11-14%.

The road eases up for the next 0.9 mile to the Page Mill Trail through a small residential area with an average grade of 4%.

The next 1.6 mile exits the woodlands through Los Trancos Open Space to the rolling 9-11% climbs up to Montibello Ridge.

The road drops back down under a canopy of trees for the last 1.2 gentle rolling miles to Skyline Blvd.

We head NW on Skyline Blvd; the rolling terrain goes along Russian Ridge to the top of Windy Hill and Kelly Hill with superb views of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Stop at the Vista Point to enjoy the panorama of Santa Clara Valley!

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Skyline Blvd drops down from the ridge to the turn at Old La Honda Rd.

Old La Honda is a gorgeous 2.5 mile 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!

The rolling descent on CA-84 W/La Honda Rd leads us to our stop at La Honda Market in La Honda.

We stay CA-84 W to Pescadero Rd; the road pitches up for a short section and flattens out long the forested edge of Sam McDonald County Park to Alpine Rd.

Alpine Rd begins on gentle terrain for the first 1.6 miles under the dense canopy of the towering redwoods around Heritage Grove. This quiet less traveled back road winds along Alpine Creek through a small scattering of homes nestled in the woods.

The climb up West Alpine Rd begins at the bridge crossing over Alpine Creek; the 2.4 beautiful miles weaves its way up the mountain with several switchbacks. The ascent has an average grade of 7.7% with steep pitches of 10-12%.

The road exits the woodlands and continues up along the back side of the ridge with great mountain and forest vistas.

Alpine Rd continues to wind its way upward pass a couple of horse ranches and hillside vineyards to Camp Pomponio Rd and up to the false summit at Portola State Park Rd.

Alpine Rd continues climbing for the next 0.6 mile with an average grade of 6% up towards the ridge with magnificent views of the Santa Cruz Mountains!

The road flattens out and winds around the ridge to Big Dipper Ranch Rd for 0.4 mile.

You’re not at the top just yet; the road continues to kick up for the next 1.6 miles with an average grade of 7.5% and several false summits.

At Ancient Oaks Trail, the road winds down through the woods to the summit at Russian Ridge on Skyline Blvd.

Page Mill Rd has a couple of short rolling climbs up to Los Trancos before actually descending. The downhill is quite challenging and technical with many blind curves and steep hairpin turns. There are sections where you can really pick up speed-use caution!

Arastradero Rd leads us back to Palo Alto Open Space at Pearson-Arastradero Preserve.

This ride is a great introduction to some of the beautiful hilly back roads that can take you up and over the rugged forested ridge lines around the Santa Cruz Mountains. Take on the challenge and enjoy the natural beauty of this mountain range-it will not disappoint!

Garmin Stats:
38.6 Miles with 4728′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 2246′
Max grade: 14%
Terrain: Extremely hilly

Weather: Sunny and warm with NW winds and temps ranging from the high 60’s to the mid 90’s.

Click here to view the interactive route map & elevation profile

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Follow this route for today’s ride:

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