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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey MTBR! I will be heading up to NorCal for a Motorsports race and decided to take extra days off to experience mountain biking in Santa Cruz. I think I narrowed down my two options to either:

1) Wilder Ranch
2) Soquel Demonstration Forest

Wilder Ranch Routes:
https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/7019596/wilder-ranch-singletrack-loops
https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/7011506/best-of-wilder-ranch

Soquel Demonstration Forest Routes:
Park at main trailhead, across the bridge -> Hihn's Mill Road -> Sulphur Springs Road -> Flow Trail -> Sulphur Springs Road -> (Braille or Sawpit) -> if not tired, Go back up Sulphur Springs Road -> whichever single track I haven't done.

How are the conditions for either park area? Have there been any recent vehicle break ins? Do I need to pay for parking for either trailhead? What area would you recommend and why? Any particular loops you know of that aren't displayed on trail forks or mtbproject?

Some details about me:
2016 Intense Tracer T275 Carbon, Carbon Wheelset
Intermediate/Advance rider - I don't like to do table top jumps
Ok fitness level, usually ride 3 times a week; closer to 20 miles/2-3k elevation gain a week.

Will only be able to ride a single day out in Santa Cruz. Plan on riding on a Friday morning and possibly cruise around town during the day.

Are there any must sees or dos while in Santa Cruz?

Any help is greatly appreciated, thanks!
 

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RIDDLELDDIR
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Just saying, if you ride 2-3k' of elevation "a week" get ready to do that in a day, and near the 20 miles part if you ride Demonstration Forest. Demo/Braille/Sawpit, the drive there and back from SC takes all day commitment. And mid June, it will most likely be warm.

BUT, if you reallllly want to ride Demo, score a shuttle from Aptos and ride back. That's a fun one and saves on all the logistics.

BUT, if it was me, and I was on a time frame, you can ride Wilder, hit the single track, see the Redwoods, shred the loam, take in the views etc etc and be so close to town that you will see all-the-things after your ride.

Just my 2 cents.
 

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OOOh weeee. How did your legs feel the first few minutes of day #2?? Little bit o' ouch?
I think I felt okay. Better than expected I guess. Been a year now and don't remember exactly. I wasn't 2nd guessing myself though. Now being familiar, I rode the road (can't remember the names) right from the parking lot to the base of Sulfur. Instead of all the way out the pavement and up the dirt to the trail beginning. I enjoyed the road climb on day 1 though. Nothing too steep (relative to what I ride at home), nice and consistent, just goes on forever.

I was definitely tired out though. The end of day 1 I was beat. Pretty close to the max daily miles and/or elevation. Maybe not max, but one of the top few distance rides that I accomplished and not whined about. ha Minor cramping after Flow (day 1) up the road from I'd say Sulful to the parking lot. I only passed a few people and the trail was very busy that day, could always see people up the road as the day ended.
 

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If you can find a local to ride with and show you the goods then I would reccomend riding the trails at UCSC. You can link this ride to drop down into Wilder Ranch and end at the bluffs overlooking the ocean.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Just saying, if you ride 2-3k' of elevation "a week" get ready to do that in a day, and near the 20 miles part if you ride Demonstration Forest. Demo/Braille/Sawpit, the drive there and back from SC takes all day commitment. And mid June, it will most likely be warm.

BUT, if you reallllly want to ride Demo, score a shuttle from Aptos and ride back. That's a fun one and saves on all the logistics.

BUT, if it was me, and I was on a time frame, you can ride Wilder, hit the single track, see the Redwoods, shred the loam, take in the views etc etc and be so close to town that you will see all-the-things after your ride.

Just my 2 cents.
Thanks for that! After a little bit of route planning, it would seem better to do wilder. My AirBNB is about an hr drive from the Demo trailhead. That's two hours of time wasted.

I'll do 20 mile/ 3-4k elevation gain rides every now and then and have no problems, albeit tired by the end of the ride though.

I visited Demo for 2 days last July. Day 1 was double flow loop. Two laps of flow was no joke for climbing.

Second day was a double Braille Loop.
Thanks for sharing the ride data. As much as I want to do those same routes, it just seems like too much driving for the little time I'll be in Santa Cruz. I decided to do the Widler ranch loops. I'll definitely plan a visit to Demo in the near future

If you can find a local to ride with and show you the goods then I would reccomend riding the trails at UCSC. You can link this ride to drop down into Wilder Ranch and end at the bluffs overlooking the ocean.
I may drop by UCSC just to check out the campus, I heard its amazing.

The more resources the better. Thank you!
 

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I lived in LA and we had nothing like Demo flow down there, so I would consider it for the novelty factor. I had a friend from LA come up and he loved it, even though the trail was hella blown out when he rode it. It was in decent condition last weekend. fyi.
 
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