Santa Clara: Hecker Pass-Eureka Canyon-Hazel Dell-Mt Madonna

Friday, January 16, 2015

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Ride #3-South Bay Ramble: This hilly route goes up and over Hecker Pass Hwy/CA-152 W into Santa Cruz County and continues west along the agricultural communities. It turns north into the town of Corralitos for a gorgeous out & back climb through the Santa Cruz Mountains on Eureka Canyon Rd. The ride exits Corralitos on Browns Valley Rd to Hazel Dell for the steep climb up Mt Madonna Rd. Descend Pole Line and Hecker Pass Hwy back into Santa Clara County.

We exit Uvas Pines onto Uvas Rd.

Watsonville Rd south goes through the vineyards along the Santa Clara Wine Trail to CA-152 W/Hecker Pass Hwy.

CA-152 W/Hecker Pass Hwy begins with gentle grades for the first 0.9 miles

The climb up east Hecker Pass Hwy/CA-152 W is 4.2 miles with an average grade of 4.3%; the road travels underneath the dense shade of the towering redwoods to Hecker Pass Summit at 1309′ elevation. It’s a winding two-lane highway that crosses the Santa Cruz Mountains with narrow to no shoulders and a few turnouts-watch traffic!

The sweeping descent on CA-152 W/Hecker Pass Hwy drops down through the farmlands into Santa Cruz County to Casserly Rd.

The flat-rolling terrain on Casserly Rd jogs along the valley orchards, nurseries and rich agricultural farmlands around Interlaken to Green Valley.

Pioneer and Varni continues west through the farmlands and apple orchards around Amesti to Corralitos Rd.

Corralitos Rd heads north for 1.5 flat miles along more apple orchards and Driscoll’s berry farms to the town of Corralitos.

Eureka Canyon Rd begins in Corralitos; it’s a quiet remote climb through the wooded canyon to the summit at Highland Way & Ormsby Trail. It’s 8.8 miles with gradient ranges of 4-8% and a few steep pitches of 10-11% along with an elevation gain of ~1629′. The road weaves along the lines of Corralitos Creek from Browns Creek to the upper highlands. The first few miles exit the residential neighborhoods and orchards to the De un Amor residential care facility on gentle rollers.

The road continues winding through a scattering of homes nestled in the woods around the lower highlands area to the steel bridge crossing into the Koinonia Conference Grounds-a Christian Church retreat.

Eureka Canyon Rd snakes around the gulches out to a open clearing at the Orchard; the road flattens out for a short bit before climbing back through the forest to the entrance of Pema Osel Ling retreat Center.

The shaded climb reaches the upper highlands community.

The road exits the forest onto a open exposed ridge with sweeping vistas of the dense forests and mountains! At this point, the road narrows significantly with rough pavement and lots of patches and potholes for about half a mile.

The road improves as cuts back into the woods to the summit at the wide open intersection at Highland Way & Ormsby Trail-the turnaround point. On the descent, pay attention and watch your line through the pot holed stretch of road! The twisty descent leads back into Corralitos onto Browns Valley Rd.

Browns Valley Rd heads north through Corralitos and continues out to the orchards, farmlands and pastoral fields.

The road enters the beautiful shaded forest and rolls alongside Browns Creek to Hazel Dell Rd at Redwood Canyon.

Hazel Dell Rd turns south and climbs into the deeply shaded redwoods for 1.3 miles with an average grade of 4%. The road exits the forest to the open meadows at the top of the hill near Windy Oaks Winery. Hazel Dell continues winding along a creek to Mt Madonna Rd at Banks Canyon.

Mt Madonna Rd is a steep 2.7 mile climb up along the west edge of Mt Madonna County Park to Summit Rd & Pole Line Rd. It snakes up though the canyon on a single lane road with grades of 10-13% and steep sections of 14-15%!

Check out the phenomenal views of the Santa Cruz Mountains and valleys!


The road continues kicking up to the gated mountain top homes into the woods.

Mt Madonna Rd eases down to lesser grades as it rounds the culvert up to the summit.

Pole Line Rd climbs through Mt Madonna County Park for a short half mile with grades of 5-7%; it winds down Mt Madonna and exits the park along the Santa Cruz and Santa Clara county lines onto Hecker Pass Hwy.

Hecker Pass Hwy/CA-152 E returns into Santa Clara County with a sweeping fun descent on super smooth pavement; it drops down through the redwoods along Bodfish Creek to the flat valley floor.

We return on Watsonville and Uvas Rds to Uvas Pine.

This moderate-challenging route takes you away into the remote mountain forests, canyons and valleys. Breathe in the fresh mountain forest air and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds us! You’ll love the gorgeous peaceful “middle of nowhere” roads with minimal to no traffic!

Garmin Stats:
60.45 Miles with 5659′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1915′
Max grade: 15%
Terrain: Extremely hilly with a couple of steep climbs

Weather: Sunny and cool with mild winds. Temps ranged from the high 30’s to the low 60’s. NW winds with 76% humidity.

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Eureka Canyon

Follow this route for today’s ride:


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