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Hi,

I was wondering if there was a connector form Sierra Azul to Soquel Demonstration Forest and into Forest of Nisene and what the total elevation would be. Would it be 8000' or less? (that's about my limit for a day.) I realize one might have to ride through some private property and was also wondering if that was being strictly enforced or if it were possible to quickly get through it without upsetting anybody? I recently road Sierra Azul from Limekiln over Mt El Sombroso down Woods trail to Barlow Road and then up Mt Umunhum Rd before doubling back as the total ascent to that point was a bit over 3500' so adding the return the total trip was 7000+'. From Google Earth it looks like continuing over into Soquel and Forest Nisene may be about the same though I would need motor transportation for the return. Or may be better take a bus for the return from Aptos. Is there a bus that would get me and my bike back to Los Gatos and if so, where can I find a bus schedule?
 

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rjmcmahon said:
Hi,

I was wondering if there was a connector form Sierra Azul to Soquel Demonstration Forest and into Forest of Nisene and what the total elevation would be. Would it be 8000' or less? (that's about my limit for a day.) I realize one might have to ride through some private property and was also wondering if that was being strictly enforced or if it were possible to quickly get through it without upsetting anybody? I recently road Sierra Azul from Limekiln over Mt El Sombroso down Woods trail to Barlow Road and then up Mt Umunhum Rd before doubling back as the total ascent to that point was a bit over 3500' so adding the return the total trip was 7000+'. From Google Earth it looks like continuing over into Soquel and Forest Nisene may be about the same though I would need motor transportation for the return. Or may be better take a bus for the return from Aptos. Is there a bus that would get me and my bike back to Los Gatos and if so, where can I find a bus schedule?
People are pretty possesive about that road from the top of Mt. Um to Loma Prieta. It used to be open but now it seems that the law enforcment agencies let those people threaten people for just getting close to their property. I think Mid Penn bought the trail we used to call Rattlesnake and that is a downhill all the way from the top of Loma Prieta near the end of Mt. Bache/Loma Prieta Rd. to Hihn's Mill Rd. You can catch a bus at Santa Cruz Metro. They leave about once an hour, maybe more at peak times. The bus is called the Highway 17 express and it cost 4.00. I wouldn't but a 5000 dollar plus mountain bike on the rack but that's just me. I think you are looking at about 7500 feet but that's just a guess. The problem with the route is the road from Mt. Um to Loma Prieta. If you are quiet and it's a really hot or stormy day you might be able to slip by the hillbillies.
 

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Not Quite Connected Yet

I've also been fantisizing about that route from Los Gatos to Santa Cruz. I'm not quite in shape for it now, but will be by end of summer.

The missing link is indeed down the back, or south side, of Mt. Umunhum to Demo. I attended a meeting where the MPOSD said they now owned the land, and were going to open up that section as soon as the paperwork and committes all got done doing their thing. The issue is what roads or trails to open and how to pay for it. Each of the equestrian and bike groups said they had enough volunteers to make a singletrack around where Rattlesnake used to be. Some even proposed there was enough space to put in two singletracks, one for horses, one for bikes, which many liked but somehow don't think will happen because it would be too good to be true.

I would be very cautious about poaching. Those folk up there are very protective. You'll see lots of No Trespassing signs and they mean it. Many stories of bikers meeting up with armed residents can be found. One sweet group of two men and a woman just went to prison last month for clothes lining a dirt biker by pulling up on a steel cable as he was on a legal dirt road by their house, just because the noise was annoying them. Even with a FF helmet, the dirt biker almost died and had to have something like 100 stiches in his face and a titanium plate in his jaw.

Personally, I'll wait until they open it up legally, which shouldn't be long.

For an alternative, you can try a long hill epic by crossing Hicks on Woods Trail and going through Quicksilver and out the Mockingbird entrance, then jogging over on Harry Rd to the singletrack entrance to Santa Teresa by the IBM parking at Camden and Harry. Then come out of Santa Teresa near Gilroy. The Santa Teresa singletrack is a lot of fun. Hit Stile Ranch and Rocky Ridge. I had my wife drop me off at St. Joeseph's in Los Gatos one day, and I came back like a lost dog on that route, minus ST. If you have a GPS, I can give you tracks and waypoints for the route. It would be more like 30+ miles and around 5000-6000' climb, depending on what options you take.
 

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Does anyone know if MPOSD is thinking about continuing with this? Is it just some big pipe dream that I could one day ride from LG to Demo / Aptos on dirt? I'm guessing with Mt Umunhum they are pretty well focused. Every time I go to Demo and see the MidPen gate though I think about it.
 

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MidPen has plans...

Yes; this route has been discussed a fair bit in the planning for Mt Umunhum; if you look at this page https://www.openspace.org/plans_projects/downloads/2010.12.09.MTUSiteOverviewOblique.pdf you'll see the comment near the bottom about the "Potential" trail connection.
Photobucket

(You may notice that they have Barlow Road completely misplaced!)

However; at the rate MidPen accomplishes opening public access this could be decades before it happens (yes; decades!)
 
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Not meaning to hi-jack the thread, but I've been very curious about riding from Quicksilver-to-Umunhum (via Sierra Azul) and either Kennedy, or Limekiln down to Los Gatos and back home for a nice loop. Is the Sierra Azul past Umunhum and across the top open to Mountain Bikers? Thanks.
 

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Not meaning to hi-jack the thread, but I've been very curious about riding from Quicksilver-to-Umunhum (via Sierra Azul) and either Kennedy, or Limekiln down to Los Gatos and back home for a nice loop. Is the Sierra Azul past Umunhum and across the top open to Mountain Bikers? Thanks.
Not from the high ridge where the tower is, (legally). You can cross the street when you ride out from Quicksilver and then ride into Los Gatos.

I've done an out and back from Los Gatos to Quicksliver, it took me a long time and was a serious bit of climbing.
 

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Not from the high ridge where the tower is, (legally). You can cross the street when you ride out from Quicksilver and then ride into Los Gatos.

I've done an out and back from Los Gatos to Quicksliver, it took me a long time and was a serious bit of climbing.
Yep. Cross over to the parking lot, and there you will see the Woods Trail connector. From there, you can ride up Barlow to Umunhum, and it's another 0.9 miles up Umunhum Road until you absolutely MUST turn around for legal reasons (trespassing). From there, go back down Barlow, hang a left at Woods, and do the deathmarch up Woods to the El Sombroso Peak. From there you can go a bit further and get to the Kennedy/Woods/"Powerpoles" intersection-going right you can take the famous "rollercoasters" to the Kennedy/Dogmeat intersection and go down Dogmeat, or you can keep going straight and take Powerpoles down. Keep going all the way and you will eventually end up at Alma Bridge Road near St. Joseph's and downtown Los Gatos. It's a nice little ride from the Quicksilver side. If you bring a water purifier/filtration system with you, you can filter the water from one of the horse troughs about 1 - 2 miles from the Overgrown/Dogmeat/Powerpoles/Priest Rock intersection, otherwise plan on bringing at least 3 liters of water with you.

HOWEVER

If you are feeling hardcore, you can ride "The Whole Shebang": up Quicksilver -> Woods -> up Barlow -> down Barlow -> up Woods to el Sombroso -> down Woods/Powerpoles to the Kennedy intersection -> right and downhill onto Kennedy -> down Dogmeat -> down Priest Rock -> right on Alma Bridge Road -> up Overgrown -> up Powerpoles -> left again at the Kennedy rollercoasters -> down Kennedy to Kennedy Road. I did it once and on my heavy bike:
 

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Yep. Cross over to the parking lot, and there you will see the Woods Trail connector. From there, you can ride up Barlow to Umunhum, and it's another 0.9 miles up Umunhum Road until you absolutely MUST turn around for legal reasons (trespassing). From there, go back down Barlow, hang a left at Woods, and do the deathmarch up Woods to the El Sombroso Peak. From there you can go a bit further and get to the Kennedy/Woods/"Powerpoles" intersection-going right you can take the famous "rollercoasters" to the Kennedy/Dogmeat intersection and go down Dogmeat, or you can keep going straight and take Powerpoles down. Keep going all the way and you will eventually end up at Alma Bridge Road near St. Joseph's and downtown Los Gatos. It's a nice little ride from the Quicksilver side. If you bring a water purifier/filtration system with you, you can filter the water from one of the horse troughs about 1 - 2 miles from the Overgrown/Dogmeat/Powerpoles/Priest Rock intersection, otherwise plan on bringing at least 3 liters of water with you.

HOWEVER

If you are feeling hardcore, you can ride "The Whole Shebang": up Quicksilver -> Woods -> up Barlow -> down Barlow -> up Woods to el Sombroso -> down Woods/Powerpoles to the Kennedy intersection -> right and downhill onto Kennedy -> down Dogmeat -> down Priest Rock -> right on Alma Bridge Road -> up Overgrown -> up Powerpoles -> left again at the Kennedy rollercoasters -> down Kennedy to Kennedy Road. I did it once and on my heavy bike:
Thanks! This is exactly what I was looking for, and the route is pretty much how I envisioned it.
 
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