Tuesday, February 10, 2015
We’re out doing another “local cycling tour” from the town of San Juan Bautisa in San Benito County. Ride #1-This short hilly route climbs up 11 miles along San Juan Canyon through the pine and oak woodlands to one of the higher peaks in the Gabilan Range-Fremont Peak at Fremont Peak State Park.
The 159-acre park is off State Highway 156, about 45 miles from San Jose or 11 miles south of San Juan Bautista. San Juan Canyon Road is paved, but it winds through canyons and over ridges. At Fremont Peak State Park, spring and fall are the most colorful seasons. Magnificent vistas of Monterey Bay and the Salinas and San Benito valleys are incomparable from the 3,169-foot peak. (http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/564/files/FremontPeakSPWebBrochure2014.pdf)
Begin this ride from San Juan Bautista and cross over CA-156 on The Alameda to San Juan Canyon Rd.
San Juan Canyon Rd starts out with 1.7 flat miles along the valley foothills of the Galiban Range.
At the first narrow creek crossing, the road continues on gentle rolling terrain through a ranching community to Quinn Canyon.
San Juan Canyon Rd winds up along the shaded canyon for the next mile with gradient ranges of 4-6% to Peak Canyon; it goes through a scattering of ranch homes and an equestrian facility with stables and open arena.
The road continues to climb with 5-7% and steep pitches of 9-10% grades up to the alpaca ranch on Hillside Rd. From this point, it’s another 5 miles to the entrance of Fremont Peak State Park.
San Juan Canyon Rd continues gently under the woodlands to Pioneer Park; the gradient kicks up to 7-9% as you reach the east end of Hillside Rd.
The road winds up pass a community of estate mountain homes tucked in the woods; the steep grades of 9-11% leads up to the first open vista-stop for a moment and enjoy the beautiful San Benito valley views!
San Juan Canyon Rd continues climbing with 7-9% grades along the west edge of Hollister Hills SV Park; you can see the myriad of motor-cross trails and hear the thundering roar of the engines making their way up the canyons and ridges.
The road seriously kicks up with steep grades of 10-12% and pitches of 13-14% on the way up to the ridge!
San Juan Canyon Rd continues up around the guardrails to the upper ridge.
Enjoy the spectacular ridge top views of the valley-WOW!
The road weaves around the ridge through the pine woodlands to the next high point.
San Juan Canyon Rd drops down through the shaded oak woodlands to the entrance into Fremont Peak State Park at Doe Flat.
The road continues on for the next half mile to the lower parking lot at Oak Point Campground.
Follow the road to the upper parking lot/picnic area.
Descend San Juan Canyon Rd; caution-steep with a few tight turns! Enjoy the spectacular views from the top of the ridge!
Return through the valley to San Juan Bautista.
Check in at Mission Farm RV Park on Old San Juan Hollister Rd.
This is a gorgeous quiet climb up to Fremont Peak State Park; the ridge top views are simply magnificent! Next time, we’ll have to go pass the closed gate and climb up to the peak; the mind is programmed to think that a closed gate means no entrance but in hindsight, I believe we could have gone up to the top.
22.12 Miles with 2799′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 2827′
Max grade: 14%
Terrain: Hilly with a few steep sections
Weather: Sunny and breezy with clear skies. Temps ranged from the low 50’s to the low 60’s. NE winds with 82% humidity.
Follow this route for today’s ride: