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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife is getting into mountain biking, she likes fireroads and non-technical single track and doesn't like steep climbing. We tried Saratoga Gap and she did not like that ride at all because of the technicality we also tried Arastradero and she was not into the climbing or the rather boring scenery.

The one place we've gone that she absolutely loves is Waddell Creek trail to Waddell Falls in Big Basin. We've been doing this ride on most weekends, but I've been getting a little bored of it and wanted to see if there was anything else comparable in the bay area. I was thinking Nisene Marks but heard that the climbing was pretty steep.

Any suggestions?
 

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East garrison @ Fort Ord near Marina, CA as loads of fun easyish trails to ride. At least they did the last time I rode there. It's been over three years though.
Bill
 

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wilder ranch: bluff trail

and the fireroads east of hwy 1 have a few climbs but nothing outrageous

Russian Ridge, Skyline ridge and Coal Creek openspace off hwy 35 & Alpine rds
www.openspace.org have some easy singletrack and lots of fireroads..good parking and its free
 

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ugh.....hard one.....virtually nuttin' flat here in Norcal unless ya wanna dodge lil' pudgey human missiles on paved creel trails.......there's Quicksilver in South SJ that's an 11 mile loop with 1500' total ascent....all fireroad, zero technical and great views - but ya gotta climb a bit (first 1.2 miles is 300' ascent - the next 2 miles is another 600').......then there's Alum Rock Parkin East SJ......prett light stuff....some "fun" areas to doodle around in, and a pretty basic ST loop (Todd Quick trail)......but again - some light climbing......there's Grant Ranch - lotso' fireroad - but it can be pretty harsh........and please (unless you want a divorce) do not bring her to Henry Coe ;)..

bottom line.....she's gotta learn to climb a bit - start her off slow and be encouraging......and whatever you do try not to discuss tires with her while riding - for some reason chix h8 that (well, according to the Law they hate it.... :))
 

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big_mountain_biker said:
My wife is getting into mountain biking, she likes fireroads and non-technical single track and doesn't like steep climbing. We tried Saratoga Gap and she did not like that ride at all because of the technicality we also tried Arastradero and she was not into the climbing or the rather boring scenery.

The one place we've gone that she absolutely loves is Waddell Creek trail to Waddell Falls in Big Basin. We've been doing this ride on most weekends, but I've been getting a little bored of it and wanted to see if there was anything else comparable in the bay area. I was thinking Nisene Marks but heard that the climbing was pretty steep.

Any suggestions?
You can ride Nisene for a ways until the fireroad pitches up for a 12 mile climb. It's a pretty place and a good place to take an absolute beginner. You could even ride up the fireroad until you/her got tired and then turn back.

Check out the Los Alamitos Creek trail. I took my girlfriend on that for her first bike ride. It went pretty well. She can stay on the fire road while you hit the singletrack just off to the side. The single track is actually kind of fun for being so close to major roadways.

All in all, though --- it's NorCal. You've got to climb.

Justin
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think we'll head to Wilder Ranch this weekend, I like the fact that the Bluff trail is easy but there are more advanced trails readily available in case she wants to get a little more adventureous. She doesn't need it to be totally flat, she actually likes some climbing but nothing too long and steep.

The trail we usually ride in Big Basin near Waddell beach is about 12 miles round trip with around 800' of elevation and I think both of us are looking for a little more.

Does any one have any suggested newbie routes at Wilder Ranch that start with the Bluff trail that includes some light climbing and some easy/low intermediate single track? I'm looking to put together a 7-8 mile route.
 

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you can go north on bluff then cross the highway at 4 mile beach for a mile long couple hundred feet of fire road climb into wilder. yo ucan hook into enchanted loop or stay on the fireroad to a 3 [4?] way intersection where the fire road that goes through the fenceline and loops rt heads back to the parking lot with some single track loop options splitting off to the right in about a half mile
 

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I'll 2nd Quicksilver. Go to the Hacienda entrance and follow the fire road clockwise. (See the map at the trail head) All fire road and great views of the valley and surrounding hills. I'll be a bit careful on the decent as you can get going pretty fast... My favorite fire road workout in the whole south bay area.
 

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Quicksilver involves climbing

Bail_Monkey said:
I'll 2nd Quicksilver. Go to the Hacienda entrance and follow the fire road clockwise. (See the map at the trail head) All fire road and great views of the valley and surrounding hills. I'll be a bit careful on the decent as you can get going pretty fast... My favorite fire road workout in the whole south bay area.
I love Quicksilver for the views and wild life. The dirt roads there are shady and cool as well. But I'm not sure it's right for a new beginner, as there is some 3 miles long of constant moderate climbing of 1200' involved if you go all the way to the peak. But there are some smaller options involved (see below)

Here's specs from my GPS (follow with PDF map from the official park page). [EDIT: Fixed Link]

From Hacienda Entrance to the picnic table at the Cape Horn intersection on Mine Hill:
1.2 miles, 510' of climb.
From Cape Horn to English Town, continuing on Mine Hill on the first left:
0.8 miles, 320' of climb
From English Town to Bull Run via the shady back trail by turning right at the English Camp intersection;
0.9 miles, 240' of climb.
If at Bull Run you turn left and come back to English Camp via Castillerro in the other direction, you do a short loop around all the tourist spots. Overall you'll do around 6 miles and 1200' of climbing. From my house, I do a longer loop down to Guadalupe Dam on the back trails of Randol and it's 16 miles, 2000' of climb from my house.

One other option is after climbing the first mandatory 500' to Cape Horn, take the second from the left road to Randol trail, that's fairly level with a lot of shady up and down mild climbs of 10's of feet and some nice views. I've seen some beginners go a mile or two on Randol until they're tired and come back and take the fast free ride back to Hacienda. It's only got one mine to see, most are up on the other route I mentioned. But that could be incentive for another trip when in better shape.

There's lots of tourist places like old ghost towns and old mine camps to see as incentive, if you want to take your time. But again, I wouldn't do that for a beginner as there's a lot of climbing for the miles. Nevertheless a good beginning/intermediate ride once she's more in shape.

Other ideas in the South Bay:
Yet another option is Wood Trail at the top of Hicks Rd in Sierra Azul. It's fairly level with about 400-500' of climbing over 3 or 4 miles, with super views. In winter there's lots of little waterfalls on the shady road. Hicks turns off of Camden near Meridian, and you drive all the way to the top. There's two parking lots - a small one with bathroom for Woods Trail in Sierra Azul, and a bigger one on the other side of Hicks for the back entrance to Quicksilver that's legal. It might even be an easier way to get to the ghost towns at the top of Bull Run with better views. You may have less than 700' of climbing overall with a loop from that direction. And if you follow Mt. Umunhum Rd to the top, there's a little 0.8mile flat trail to Bald Mt. with great veiws.

Slow Rider Organizations
Finally, look at the mere mortals organization. They do lots of easier rides to get people in to MTB. They have a lot of fun easy slow rides and a no-drop policy. Contact the leader before you ride, so you can get advice and they know to expect you.
 

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big_mountain_biker said:
The trail we usually ride in Big Basin near Waddell beach is about 12 miles round trip with around 800' of elevation and I think both of us are looking for a little more.
Start at Big Basin HQ and ride Gazos Creek Rd out and back. It has climbs but they're managable and the scenery is the best of any fire road around.
 

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BigLarry said:
I love Quicksilver for the views and wild life.

Here's specs from my GPS (follow with PDF map from the official park page).
The link was to Santa Theresa park !

From that link, click on: 'Bike Here' near the top left of the page. Then click on 'Mountain bike trails' in the text. Quicksilver trail is at the top.
 

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big_mountain_biker said:
Any suggestions?
The SFPUC San Francisco Peninsula Watershed (above Crystal Springs Reservoir on the S.F. Peninsula) seems to fit what you are looking for. Some pictures here:

http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=140203

The only access is on docent rides. Here's the schedule:

http://sfwater.org/custom/trail/available.cfm/MSC_ID/68/MTO_ID/121/MC_ID/4/

I notice the schedule now indicates that the bike rides go only to "mile marker 5" which I think is the halfway point so, sadly, you may not get to the Pacifica and SFO overlooks.

///Charlie
 

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Bail_Monkey said:
The link was to Santa Theresa park !

From that link, click on: 'Bike Here' near the top left of the page. Then click on 'Mountain bike trails' in the text. Quicksilver trail is at the top.
Thanks, I fixed it.

But the MTB link you describe is a good one to look at too, just to see what's at all the parks. Unfortunately, they don't describe the climbing involved or scenery, just the distances of various MTB trails in Santa Clara parks.
 

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Shoreline Trail at China Camp is a good bet with excellent views of the bay.
 

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Bluff trail at Wilder is the ticket. I took my wife there and she wants to go back and maybe next time cross over the highway and try some of the harder trails over there.

'Nother trail that's flat and has decent views is the trail that skirts the mountains in South San Jose. Don't know the name of it but it runs along a drainage ditch about 30 or 40 feet above the last row of houses and goes from ST park all the way to the lake off Almaden expressway. Believe it or not the views are pretty good on a clear day. It may be too easy for you, though. No climbing at all.
 

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Buzz Cut said:
Russian Ridge, Skyline ridge and Coal Creek openspace off hwy 35 & Alpine rds
www.openspace.org have some easy singletrack and lots of fireroads..good parking and its free
I'll second Russian Ridge. A bit of a climb from the parking lot to the top of Borel Hill, but the views at the top make it worth it. You can stretch this out some by riding Ancient Oaks Trail and Alder Springs Trail (out and back or as loop with Hawk Hill).

Even longer, go through Coal Creek and climb back up Alpine Road (dirt trail) and return to parking area by Page Mill.
 

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Can take a year or two

Remind your wife that her stamina will build continuously, and soon hills that were challenging will be very manageable. Takes patience.

Wilder is a good bet when it is 90 degrees in the valley, or else get up early, beat the heat, and try Quick Silver at a leisurely pace.

Climbing does a body good!!
 

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Old coast highway that goes from Pacifica to Montara. You can start from McNee Ranch state park in Montara or from Higgins Road in Pacifica. Excellent views (when the coast isn't fogged in)
I rode it with the fiancee and she loved it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I think I'll head out to Quicksilver sometime during the week to scout out the 6 mile loop. Seems like a good after work ride. Thanks for your advice.
 
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