El Corte de Madera - TRAIL

El Corte de Madera - Trail, San Mateo, California

Everything from very Technical Singletrack to mellow Fireroads. Lots of different loops, routes available. Nice redwood forest area with a big creek at the bottom. Excellent variety of trails from woodsy singletrack to fast fireroads to rocky sandstone. Stays fairly cool thanks to tree coverage and proximity to oceanside winds. Lots of mosquitos in summer. Very muddy in winter.

User Reviews (68)

Showing 1-10 of 68  
gavman   Cross Country Rider [Jul 26, 2010]

Note, there are another 50 or so reviews for this area under the trail name "Skeggs," which is the CalTrans vista point parking lot on Skyline adjacent to the park affectionately known as ECdM. Pound for pound, this area is the best collection of legal, technical, flowing singletrack in the Bay Area, beating out the likes of Tamarancho, China Camp, and others. But these accolades don't come without a price - climbing, usually to finish the ride (think soaping up after rinsing). So not for beginners for the most part, unless one stays in the Sierra Morena area along Skyline without dropping in. Must do's are Resolution (down from Fir), North Leaf, Manzanita (the most technical trail imho), Crosscut (too short!?), Giant Salamander (from Timberview, NOT Methuselah!), and Sierra Morena (from Fir) - these are all XC treats - for more DH-type stuff, mack the waterbarred fireroads and the south end of the park. I've always done full-suspension and swore I wouldn't go hardtail, but recent forays have seen the 26 and 29 inch hardtails in use. You only need to avoid Manzanita to enjoy a hardtail out here.

The route below is a fat(ter) loop(s) that incorporates all of the goodness with plenty of climbing.

Customer Service

CM02
Right Sierra Morena
Right Fir
CM01/Tafoni
Right ECdM Creek (Casey Jones you better ...)
Left Tafoni
Right Fir
Right Resolution
Left EcdM Creek
Left North Leaf
Left Methuselah
Right Manzanita
Right Timberview
Right Giant Salamander
Right Methuselah
Right Manzanita
Right Timberview
Left Crosscut
Right Crossover
Left Gordon Mill
Left Sierra Morena
CM02

Similar Products Used: Purissima is next door and has a great but not-so-flowy screaming downhill; like others suggest, it is best linked up with ECdM and don't bother on the weekends. Belmont's Water Dog Lake Park - hand-cut trails but way too many blind corners and lots of other riders/hikers. Bring a bell; in fact, don't ride without one - other users dig it.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Quik564   Cross Country Rider [Jul 21, 2009]

A video summary of a sweet all-season loop at ECdM:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkCtXHPTG2A

Tons of options, you could make a short loop or an epic. Amazing!

Customer Service

CM02 - Sierra Morena - Blue Blossom - Crossover - Crosscut - Manzanita - Fir - Resolution - ECdM Creek - Sierra Morena - CM02.

Similar Products Used: Demo Forest, Purisima Creek, Saratoga Gap, Waterdog, Wilder Ranch, Russian Ridge...
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
rblatner   Cross Country Rider [Apr 20, 2009]

Skeggs is great - probably the best all around MTB riding in the Bay Area. The trail map is deceiving though - this place is huge and it is easy to take wrong turns here, even for us locals. Lots of up and down, but beautiful, well-maintained, shaded trails and fire roads - roots, rocks, sharp drops, blind turns, brutal climbs, wicked downhills, creek crossings - Skeggs has it all.

I usually ride here on weekdays and some days I can grind for three hours and not see anyone. Weekends of course bring out more people, but that's the norm in most Bay Area preserves. This place is so big though, that it never feels crowded. Trails can get very muddy during the winter - not the best place to go for a mid winter ride, unless it hasn't rained for a few weeks.

Definitely not a place for inexperienced riders - Skeggs can be harsh for the uninitiated. I have talked to more than one rider swear off this place. You need to be in great shape to enjoy riding here. Mostly intermediate to advanced MTB riding, some technical trails, but lots and lots of climbing to reclaim all that awesome downhill. Weekend road bikers contemplating a ride here - be warned that this is not like cranking up Old La Honda Road - better to warm up in some of the other preserves first.

You can spend an hour or all day here, depending on your abilities (kudos to anyone who can crank here all day). However, riding one mile here is equivalent to riding two miles in most other parks. Full sus, hard tail, long travel - anything will work here, it's just all so good!

Customer Service

CM02 - Sierra Morena - Fir - Resolution - El Corte Madera - North Leaf - Methuselah - Manzanita - Timberview - Crosscut - Timberview - Methuselah - CM02

Similar Products Used: Upper Stevens Creek, Monte Bello, Russian Ridge, Skyline Ridge, Long Ridge
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
jervana   Cross Country Rider [Sep 02, 2008]

I've ridden "Skeggs" a few times and am finally beginning to figure this place out. There's an endless variety of loops and routes you can take, with proper trail markers to lead you into the right direction. A couple of great trails have been closed though, but hopefully they will be opened soon and better than ever.

Customer Service

Hit up Manzanita, Resolution. If you've got legs, do a full loop counterclockwise (north leaf, south leaf).

Similar Products Used: Waterdog
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
rpalmer   Cross Country Rider [Aug 03, 2008]

I am from Utah and have lived in the Bay Area 6 months now. I have biked a different trail every week since I got here and this system is by FAR the best I have found out here (including Henry Coe and anything you hear about in Marin). The trick that people don't seem to know is that you can park at the bottom -- you don't have to park at Skegg's and its a short drive from Skyline to the bottom of the preserve. Well, its not quite the bottom, you still have to climb out a little, but I park at the bottom, ride to the bottom of the preserve and climb to the top of the other side, somewhere by Skegg's, and its not a bad climb at all. The downhill is FUN, the only place where I can really open up and cruise for a while. The trails are in great shape and work perfect with a mountain bike. There are a lot of fire roads, but you can easily avoid them if you want to plan your route around them.

Customer Service

Take any route to the top that will let you come down El Corte Madera Creek Trail. That is my favorite way down so far. Avoid going down on Manzanita. It looks inviting at first but it gets very technical with extremely rocky sections -- might be better coming up.

Similar Products Used: I hear there is some good stuff in Santa Cruz, but I haven't gotten down there yet. Henry Coe State Park trails were ok, but not nearly as good as this.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
poff   Cross Country Rider [Feb 24, 2008]

I hate fire road climbs and this place is all about them. Do not get me wrong, I love to climb, but on singletrack. This place would be perfect is all fireroads would become singletrack overnight. Overall, it is a good workout on SS. Resolution has a few hairy spots, but otherwise it is not very technical (may be cause I always do Manzanita up).

Customer Service

dan51's root -> cm02 -> cm05 -> blue blossom (yammy) -> crosscut -> manzanita -> fir -> resolution -> tafoni -> back to cm02

Similar Products Used: demo, henry coe (oh yeaHHHHHHHH)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Rex_Skidmore   Cross Country Rider [May 10, 2006]

Was there last Sunday. Started at 11:30. Drove up from Saratoga and saw there's a major sheriff/CHP crackdown at 35 and 9. Major. Several cop bikes and several vehicles. Cops standing next to the stop signs, waving motorcyclists over. Drove past 35 and 84 to Skeggs Pt.

At gate CM01, I enter and immediately take asphalt road up, entering trail gate and begin on Fir Trail, then Manzanita, then Timberview, then Virginia Mill, then South Leaf, then Leaf. Have to admit, I didn't eat my Wheaties and had to exit at Star Hill Road and then up Swett Road to Hwy 35 and back to the main Skeggs Pt. parking lot.

Most of this is fire roads. Timberview and Virginia Mill has singletrack and Leaf is only singletrack. There are recent truck tire tracks in the mud in some places.

I noticed a couple trails were closed to cyclists due to rainwater runoff (oops). Several fallen trees and a bit of mud. On my way in, a guy warns me of the "major mud". No worries, I still have my fenders on my Santa Cruz. Nearly zero wildlife here today. There are parts of trails where you don't even hear birds. Serious. The silence was at once sought after & stunning. At a couple of stream crossings, I see salamanders in the water.

Somebody left a blue tent behind on the side of Virginia Mill(?). A very new galvanized steel bridge crosses very high over the creek. All of the other briges are wooden and could support horses, but this one is beefy!! A little poison oak on my legs, but none on my arms.

The best trail of all is the singletrack on Leaf Trail. This is a XC trail with slight climbs that hugs the edge of the hill, winding around and over rocks, between trees, and really is a serene part of the Preserve.

Customer Service

Take the paper map from the trailhead. Or, buy the map from Krebs. I had mine laminated at Kinko's. I wouldn't go in here w/o a map - unless you've been here several times. There are some steep climbs on a few trails that can be muddy w/o traction or dusty w/o traction. Either way, if you're trying to leave and have no more gas in your tank, you don't want to get onto those trails trying to exit.

Normally, I take Tafoni to Resolution to El Corte de Madera, etc.
Last Sunday, I wanted to take the recommended route from the Krebs map. A great workout, it was. My front disc brake made such melodies on the downhill that I committed to a pro mechanic checkup. You will know why some people say this place was made for motorcycles.

Similar Products Used: Grizzly, Saratoga Gap, Longridge, nearly everything on 35 / Skyline is great. Excellent signage, and very well-maintained.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
rad1   Cross Country Rider [Aug 19, 2005]

This is where we used to ride motorcycles years ago, and I still have the old map with the original trail names...I think Manzanita is the only one that didn't change. At first I was bitter when more and more riders discovered this place, and all our secret trails got found. But now I must admit it's just as good as it ever was, and it's still the best local riding. The area looks small on a map, but it's got tons of trails and convoluted terrain...you can practically get lost in here.

Customer Service

using the original motorcycle trail names, I like Rut Hill, Devil's Staircase, Hippie Trail, Three-Road Trail, and lots more. OK, I know this doesn't help. Just explore...it's all good.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
John Finch   Cross Country Rider [Sep 21, 2004]

Skeggs Point is a fun place to ride in the coastal mountains between the towns of Halfmoon Bay and Woodside. What makes the park special is that a lot of the riding is in a redwood forest. There are a number of different trails and about five different ways to access the trail system which encompasses 2,000 acres. The main access point is the Skeggs Point parking lot which is located on the San Francisco Bay side of Skyline Blvd approximately 11 miles south of Hwy. 92. The parking lot is a viewpoint of the San Francisco Bay/Mid Penninsula area, and is located between gates 1 & 2 of the El Corte de Madera Open Space Preserve. The trails in the park are pretty much cross country oriented. The most technical trail is probably South Leaf followed by Steam Donkey, Manzanita, Resolution, Blue Blossom and North Leaf. The easiest trail is Sierra Morena along with El Corte de Madrea, Timberview, Lawrence Creek and Gordon Mill. If you are looking for a BIG drop in elevation (down to 600') and biggest climb back to the parking lot you can try the Virgina Mill trail.

Customer Service

It depends on your skill level. Get a map at the trailhead and incorporate as many of your kind of trails into some type of loop.

Similar Products Used: If you are a skilled rider you can try the Santa Cruz area which is 50 miles south or the Pacifica are which is 30 miles north.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
madzane   Weekend Warrior [Sep 10, 2004]

Paradise.

Customer Service

A good quick ride: El Corte Madera Creek to Tafoni. You can also hit the Vista Point down Fir, it adds about 15 minutes unless you smoke a blunt at the vista which adds much more time.

Similar Products Used: Skeggs is the crack.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 68  

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