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  1. #1
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    Landslide completely closes Los Gatos Lake Ranch Trail Sanborn Park 8am 1/12/2017

    Landslide completely closes Los Gatos Lake Ranch Trail Sanborn Park 8am 1/12/2017

    As I frequently do, today I was riding up Highway 9 from Saratoga to Sanborn Road around 8am and then up the Lake Ranch Trail toward Lake Ranch Reservoir and the John Nicholas trail, when WHAM!

    The huge landslide was right in front of me completely destroying the entire trail!
    Landslide completely closes Los Gatos Lake Ranch Trail Sanborn Park 8am 1/12/2017-xfqglr.jpg

    I tried to go uphill around it, but the mud would have carried me into the landslide, which was still moving slowly (taking entire trees with it).
    Landslide completely closes Los Gatos Lake Ranch Trail Sanborn Park 8am 1/12/2017-7ndbrr.jpg

    I tried to go downhill around it, but that was even worse:

    Landslide completely closes Los Gatos Lake Ranch Trail Sanborn Park 8am 1/12/2017-idjz3a.jpg

    There was something like 100 feet of a nearly sheer drop into the creek below.
    Landslide completely closes Los Gatos Lake Ranch Trail Sanborn Park 8am 1/12/2017-22auuf.jpg

    I know this is brand new because it wasn't here on my prior ride up to the John Nicholas trail around the western edge of Lake Ranch shown below just a couple of days ago:
    Landslide completely closes Los Gatos Lake Ranch Trail Sanborn Park 8am 1/12/2017-d5hd3e.jpg

    The water level at the reservoir (which is right in the middle of the San Andreas Fault so it empties out on both ends) was as high as I've seen it in a long time:
    Landslide completely closes Los Gatos Lake Ranch Trail Sanborn Park 8am 1/12/2017-5z2zox.jpg

    I rode back to the Sanborn Park office where it took a while to locate a ranger since the park was closed even after 8am when it normally opens) and I showed them the photos (they didn't know about it yet).
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Normally I don't worry about such things and just go around them, but this one was still moving, with boulders and trees much larger than I am, so I didn't want to become one of them!

    I suspect that Lake Ranch Trail will be out of commission for some time, don't you think?
    Last edited by woodrock; 01-13-2017 at 12:41 AM. Reason: Wrong date by accident in the title! :(

  2. #2
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    Great info and pics.

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    The road on the other side of the lake has also slid into the canyon. It'll be a while before we're riding there again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aliikane View Post
    Great info and pics.
    Thanks. I wasn't initially planning on going up to Ranch Lake in the first place. I was riding up Highway 9 to the road closure at Sanborn Road today at 8am
    http://i.cubeupload.com/WmkAjC.jpg


    They were stopping everyone, even cyclists, at Highway 9 & Sanborn Road:
    http://i.cubeupload.com/zXWYfj.jpg


    So I took Sanborn Road (which was also closed but they don't stop you):
    http://i.cubeupload.com/YK2109.jpg


    On the way, I pasted Walden West, which was overflowing down the road onto Sanborn Road.


    What was interesting is that the park itself was closed, even though it's normally open by 8am and it took me about an hour to get back from the landslide, so they were still closed at 9am.


    The ad-hoc plan was to ride up to Lake Ranch to see how it was flowing:


    At 8am there was just a paper sign at the beginning of the 2.5 mile Lake Ranch Bike Trail to Black Road that the John Nicholas Trail was closed ABOVE the reservoir:


    So I figured I'd do my morning ride the next day to see what improved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    The road on the other side of the lake has also slid into the canyon. It'll be a while before we're riding there again.
    Thank you for that information as I tried to get to that closed section on the other side of Lake Ranch by going up Ambrose & McGill and then down the PG&E power line but I couldn't find the connector that takes me down to the power lines!

    Starting in Saratoga, I rode up highway 9 at 7am to that spot where it was closed yesterday.


    Sanborn is still marked closed.
    http://i.cubeupload.com/1Svutn.jpg


    But nobody stops you from riding up the road.
    http://i.cubeupload.com/YLs7Tg.jpg


    The reason is that they still haven't cleared both lanes of the road:
    http://i.cubeupload.com/2sQcQQ.jpg


    And Walden West is still awash:
    http://i.cubeupload.com/6c77TX.jpg


    And the park itself is closed again but at least now there is a sign saying so.
    http://i.cubeupload.com/DIwUX8.jpg


    Meanwhile, the park has closed off the trail to the landslide I reported to them yesterday:


    The park doesn't get fancy with their signage changes though!
    http://i.cubeupload.com/xRNNYE.jpg


    The Lake Ranch Trail was a nice smooth pathway, albeit a bit steep:
    http://i.cubeupload.com/hSAO5n.jpg


    However, the landslide has obliterated the connect from Sanborn Road to Lake Ranch.


    So I rode took the path up into Ambrose and McGill instead but I never found the connector to the PG&E trail from McGill.
    http://i.cubeupload.com/EGbK9i.jpg


    I ended up at Bohlman at the top, having missed the PG&E trail cutoff!
    http://i.cubeupload.com/80Qav6.jpg
    Last edited by woodrock; 01-14-2017 at 12:53 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gonzo View Post
    Can the nicholas trail be access from the trail head on Black Road - ????
    The facts, as I know them, from the standpoint of Lake Ranch, is that the John Nicholas trail has five possible approaches:
    1. From Lake Ranch to Skyline is open (AFAIK).
    2. From Lake Ranch to Sanborn Road is definitely obliterated by a massive landslide (so it's closed)
    3. From Lake Ranch to Black Road has been washed out (I'm told) & is also closed.
    4. From Lake Ranch to PG&E Service Road to McGill Road to Bohlman Road is permanently closed to cyclists, dogs, and equestrians within the park and recently closed to the public outside the park
    5. From Lake Ranch to PG&E Service Road to Sherry's Way to Montevina Road is permanently closed to cyclists, dogs, and equestrians within the park and permanently closed to the public outside the park

    So, the only viable option for the John Nicholas trail is the single bike-legal trail from Skyline to Lake Ranch and back to Skyline.

  7. #7
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    Today I radiated outward from Lake Ranch to explore the three routes:
    1. From Lake Ranch to Sanborn Road
    2. From Lake Ranch to Black Road
    3. From Lake Ranch to the PG&E border of the park with private property

    Here are a few shots of what it looks like from Lake Ranch to Sanborn Road, where Lake Ranch itself is pretty full and emptying out at both the north and south ends (which is what it does).


    The park rangers haven't been able to access Lake Ranch yet by truck so they asked me for a report, where I told them it was clear from the lake to about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way to Sanborn Road.


    However, this is the other side of that obliteration just about 1/4 to 1/2 the way up from Sanborn Road where the park rangers I spoke to said they were amazed at how that 100-foot-tall three just slide sideways, as it were, into the middle of the trail!


    We spoke over the trees for a while until the park ranger clambered on top to ask me questions of how the trails were, since they hadn't been able to access them all week and I told them I had been there almost every day since the landslide.


    The workers said the mud would be easy to get rid of, once it dries out a bit.


    But they said that the trees would take longer since they're astoundingly huge so professionals with big equipment will be needed.


    He said the soil engineers will also have to check out the landslide to ensure it's not still dangerous.

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    While there is only a single obliteration of the path from Lake Ranch to Sanborn Road, radiating out from Lake Ranch to Black Road shows almost a half dozen large obstacles, one of which is humongous.

    The first 1/4 to 1/3 of the trail from Lake Ranch is pretty clear of obstacles:

    Some of the obstacles were very recently cleared by hand, as evidenced by the wood chips:

    But then there is a tree blocking the road:

    After that tree comes a quagmire caused by a landslide:

    After the quagmire comes another set of fallen trees:

    After that came the big washout:

    This one took out the entire curve:

    There were even more fallen boulders after that:

    And then some more fallen trees:

    And then finally, a clear stretch of trail:

    Until another fallen tree:

    And then I turned back to the lake when I could see the park entrance on Black Road:

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    In the surrounding trails which you can use to go around these blockages, are, guess what?


    Yup. More landslides than you can easily count!

  10. #10
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    I read somewhere the trail is open from Black Rd? Also all of JN is open?
    We will never know our full potential unless we push ourselves to find it.

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    It's not open from Black rd. Didn't you read the previous posts?

  12. #12
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    FWIW my kids went exploring on Saturday; Black Rd itself was closed at Gist. They then drove around through Saratoga and parked on Sanborn; they hiked to the lake over the landslide(s)---the soil was consolidated enough by then to hike across.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    It's not open from Black rd. Didn't you read the previous posts?
    Yes I did read it. You don't have to be an ass. I read SOMEWHERE ELSE it was open. Guess not
    We will never know our full potential unless we push ourselves to find it.

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    concur----------

    nm nm
    Last edited by gonzo; 03-15-2017 at 09:00 PM.

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    ^^ You should have that Tourette's checked out.

    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyl26 View Post
    I read SOMEWHERE ELSE it was open. Guess not.
    Some people have been, uh, hiking it. Hooligans!
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  16. #16
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    All this rain has the members of this board very cranky. Gonzo calls me a piece of shit out of nowhere and now this guy asks an innocent question and gets slammed.
    I'm the problem....

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbrdan View Post
    All this rain has the members of this board very cranky. Gonzo calls me a piece of shit out of nowhere and now this guy asks an innocent question and gets slammed.
    Sorry, just got a lapse of DTrump.............. I'm over it.....
    Great discussion.
    Peace and Love.....

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    I haven't been out riding since my knee operation but here's a quick summary last I checked of the five "trails" that touch Lake Ranch in Saratoga/Los Gatos.

    The five well-maintained trails that touch Lake Ranch that I know of are:
    1. Black Road to Lake Ranch (temporary obliterated in multiple spots)
    2. Sanborn Road to Lake Ranch (temporary obliterated in one spot)
    3. Skyline to Lake Ranch (I'm told it's temporarily closed based on the 2 threads below)
    4. Montevina to Lake Ranch (temporarily obliterated at one spot but always closed to the public anyway)
    5. Bohlman to Lake Ranch (not obliterated but always closed to the public anyway)

    The only trail I haven't seen recently with my own eyes is the Skyline to Lake Ranch trail, but it has two threads dedicated to it so they should be updated:
    1. John Nicholas trail status
    2. Does anyone know when John Nicholas Trail will reopen

    In addition, after my operation, I found out very (very) disconcerting information from Tom Lausten, Area Superintendent for Mid Peninsula Open Space (direct line 650-625-6596) about MPOS plans for access to the Bohlman side of the Montevina Connector Trail.

    Here's a recent picture of an unmarked unnamed but reasonably well maintained trail in that area, but not one of the five mentioned above:
    Last edited by woodrock; 02-23-2017 at 11:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by woodrock View Post
    In addition, after my operation, I found out very (very) disconcerting information from Tom Lausten, Area Superintendent for Mid Peninsula Open Space (direct line 650-625-6596) about MPOS plans for access to the Bohlman side of the Montevina Connector Trail.
    I'm sure I'm not the only one who's curious about this very (very) disconcerting info. Do tell!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott M View Post
    I'm sure I'm not the only one who's curious about this very (very) disconcerting info. Do tell!
    What's disconcerting is that MPOS has not secured the proper easements.

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    I think SCC was working on that. Last i asked (in the fall before all the rain) I got a curt 'not legal', which isn't promising.

    The highway 17 wildlife corridor/trail has some options that look like they'd make interesting riding. But I think that even with approval the budget is lacking so it may be a long time before anything happens on the ground.

    I hope that fixing Lake Ranch etc roads doesn't come out of future trail budget. If that happens I'll be needing an e-bike with geritol holders by the time new trail opens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    I think SCC was working on that. Last i asked (in the fall before all the rain) I got a curt 'not legal', which isn't promising.
    Which gate did you ask about?

    The only gates at Lake Ranch that are legal are the ones at Black Road, Sanborn Road, and Skyline (and they're all currently closed due to trail obliterations). Ambrose Road/McGill Road, the PG&E Service Road and the McGill Connector up to Bohlman Road are all almost completely on private property where there is no public access.

    The only gate in all of El Sereno MPOS that is completely legal for public access is the MPOS Montevina gate.

    The MPOS Bohlman gate is completely illegal as is the MPOS Loma Vista gate at the Overlook Road north branch and the MPOS Overlook Trail gate at the Overlook Road south branch.

    What's interesting is that there is no way to legally get to Sheldon Road, but if you parachuted there, you can both hike and bike up Sheldon Road to the MPOS Aquinas Trail gate, but you can't drive on Sheldon (due to the terms of the "license agreement" with MPOS and the homeowners there <-- it's NOT an easement!).

    More interesting is that it's the opposite situation at the MPOS Overlook Trail gate at Overlook Drive, where you can drive (and park) there with a permit, but you can't hike or ride there. However when you drive there, the permit tells you exactly which roads you must use to get there.

    That's just a cursory summary where I put more details earlier today in this thread:
    - New status of MPOS dog rules and private property easements on El Sereno trails!

    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    The highway 17 wildlife corridor/trail has some options that look like they'd make interesting riding. But I think that even with approval the budget is lacking so it may be a long time before anything happens on the ground.
    If you ask Allen Ishbashi at the MPOS real estate department (650-691-1200x546) he will tell you that they're still exploring where to put that $17 million-dollar underpass through Highway 17. I covered the details in the thread listed above.

    NOTE: By way of comparison as to how EXPENSIVE 17 million dollars is, in Los Gatos they just completely knocked down an old school and rebuilt an earthquake-proofed entire new school about two years ago in that very area for 18 million dollars

    (Something tells me MPOS isn't very good with taxpayer money.)

    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    I hope that fixing Lake Ranch etc roads doesn't come out of future trail budget. If that happens I'll be needing an e-bike with geritol holders by the time new trail opens.
    They're different entities, but the point is valid that both the county parks and MPOS has plenty of trails to fix, as does the SJWC and PG&E whose service road coming out of Lake Ranch is completely washed out in multiple places with at least one huge landslide that blocks all vehicular traffic.

  23. #23
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    As a related aside, based on the meeting on Monday or Tuesday of this week, the county has erected black on white signs (which means they are legally binding) at a bunch of the roads in the area.
    1. Local Traffic Only
    2. 2-Axle Vehicles ONLY

    The first is apparently because too many people are using these side roads whenever highway 17 is closed and the second is because any one truck apparently damage the road 5,000 times more than does any one car (I got that information from someone who went to the meeting so take it with a grain of salt).

    Here's the new set of signs that went up just this week on Black Road near Highway 17 which is one way to get to Lake Ranch from the Lexington Reservoir Los Gatos Lyndon Creek Canyon area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by woodrock View Post
    Which gate did you ask about?
    None. I was talking about the PG&E road. I'd heard a few years ago from a ranger that SCC was working on opening that up and a few landowners were not willing to grant easements or make whatever arrangements they make. It sounded fairly promising at the time, but I guess not.
    Quote Originally Posted by woodrock View Post
    Which gate did you ask about?

    What's interesting is that there is no way to legally get to Sheldon Road, but if you parachuted there, you can both hike and bike up Sheldon Road to the MPOS Aquinas Trail gate, but you can't drive on Sheldon (due to the terms of the "license agreement" with MPOS and the homeowners there <-- it's NOT an easement!).

    More interesting is that it's the opposite situation at the MPOS Overlook Trail gate at Overlook Drive, where you can drive (and park) there with a permit, but you can't hike or ride there. However when you drive there, the permit tells you exactly which roads you must use to get there.
    Ahhh, MidPen + mountain land ownership.
    Quote Originally Posted by woodrock View Post


    They're different entities, but the point is valid that both the county parks and MPOS has plenty of trails to fix, as does the SJWC and PG&E whose service road coming out of Lake Ranch is completely washed out in multiple places with at least one huge landslide that blocks all vehicular traffic.
    I'm hoping that SJWC and PG&E can work faster than SCC.


    There's now a lot of people up here who are suddenly dependent on Black rd. Most people on south skyline and in the Las Cumbres development used skyline and 9 to get to town. With the big collapse on skyline that's no longer an option. If Black fails then the only way out is the "goat path" one lane section of Skyline south of Black.. and it's precariously stuck on the side of a mountain. So people are understandably nervous. There's a lot more traffic on Black now.

    It's best not to drive up here for riding The only legal riding is Skyline trail which is not that interesting and can be accessed from the highway 9 side.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    None. I was talking about the PG&E road. I'd heard a few years ago from a ranger that SCC was working on opening that up and a few landowners were not willing to grant easements or make whatever arrangements they make. It sounded fairly promising at the time, but I guess not.
    Oh, that gate. There is a long thread which discusses that gate somewhere. Turns out it's not an official gate of the park. In fact, a few weeks ago I had called Greg Bringelson on that topic where he told me that all the signs on what he called the PG&E Service Road within the park are "completely wrong" in that nobody is allowed on the PGE&E Service Road even within the park except PG&E and the park rangers themselves. Outside that gate, even the park rangers aren't allowed; only PG&E is allowed to use that road until it gets to Montevina Road, where the public is allowed again.

    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    Ahhh, MidPen + mountain land ownership. I'm hoping that SJWC and PG&E can work faster than SCC.
    The good news is that MPOS apparently allows far more off trail freedom than does the county parks, according to information contained in this thread today.

    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    There's now a lot of people up here who are suddenly dependent on Black rd.
    With respect to the access to Lake Ranch, Black Road and Sanborn Road and Montevina Road seem to be the only three ways they can get a truck into the area.

    When I called Sanborn Park today to ask about off-trail riding and hiking rules, the encouraging news is that the answering machine says that they're working on cleaning up the trails.

    I haven't been out riding since my ACL replacement surgery so I ask if anyone has seen construction equipment coming in on either of the three dirt paths that are wide enough for a truck?
    1. Sanborn Road?
    2. Black Road?
    3. Montevina Road?


    They can't get to Lake Ranch without clearing at least one landslide.

    I suspect (but don't know) that they will go up from Sanborn Road because there is only one landslide at Lake Ranch preventing the trucks from going from Sanborn Road to Lake Ranch itself.

    They can't get down through Montevina easily either because they need permission from a dozen owners (see the other thread) and it's blocked and washed out in multiple places anyway.

    If they come in from Black Road, they are limited by the new 2-axle rule on the pavement, and they have MANY issues to deal with, from mud quagmires, to large boulders in the trail to landslides to multiple trees blocking the way and even to a canyon slumpout of an entire curve.

    So I suspect they'll come up the hill from Sanborn Road to Lake Ranch, which they must be working on as we speak.

    Has anyone been there during working hours recently?
    Which way are they working in toward Lake Ranch?


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    On my way home today I stopped off at Sanborn Park where the ranger on duty (Leroy Rodriguez) told me that the section of the John Nicholas trail from Black Road to Lake Ranch is NOT handled by the county.

    The SJWC is responsible, according to him, for the maintenance of the spur from Lake Ranch to Black Road.

    The park is responsible for the spur from Lake Ranch to Sanborn Road, so the park is already working on clearing up the landslide that I first reported the morning after it happened overnight, on January 12th.

    PG&E is responsible for the spur that goes from Lake Ranch to Montevina Road, but he didn't know anything about whether they have started to work on that section since it's not a public easement and has nothing to do with the parks.

    LeRoy also told me that Caltrans is trying to grab an easement from the parks near where the road collapsed near Las Cumbres where the road collapsed, where Caltrans is presenting the parks with a proposal soon.

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    Interestingly, 2-Axle-ONLY signs went up on Bear Creek Road this week.

    Regarding the hole in Skyline at highway 35 & the John Nicholas Trail:


    Here's a map of where it looks like Caltrans is proposing to use existing Sanborn Park trails in order to temporarily (permanently?) loop past that Highway 35 hole. If they do loop there, the diverted traffic will almost certainly affect riding on the John Nicholas Trail.

    The location seems to be near latitude 37.219002 north and longitude -122.0755417 west, according to Google Maps.

  28. #28
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    John Nicholas trail proper will not be effected. The ridge trail just to the north certainly will be.

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    Is that going to impact the in-progress dh trail?

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    DH trail? Do you mean the skills park across from the Black rd trailhead extending up to Skyline? I hope repairs don't come out of the same budget. I want to be able to ride it before I'm too old. But I bet park employee's time and attention have been distracted. I have not seen any on the ground activity on the bike park like work on access roads.

    Bear creek rd has had some slides amd closures, like Black. I think that's the reason for the 2 axle limit. But you can't get big trucks across the "goat trail" section of Skyline from Bear creek to the top of Black anyhow. It's too tight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    DH trail? Do you mean the skills park across from the Black rd trailhead extending up to Skyline? I hope repairs don't come out of the same budget. I want to be able to ride it before I'm too old. But I bet park employee's time and attention have been distracted. I have not seen any on the ground activity on the bike park like work on access roads.

    Bear creek rd has had some slides amd closures, like Black. I think that's the reason for the 2 axle limit. But you can't get big trucks across the "goat trail" section of Skyline from Bear creek to the top of Black anyhow. It's too tight.
    I used to do it with my truck and horse trailer all the time when I lived in Las Cumbres, we were 47 feet long
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    DH trail? Do you mean the skills park across from the Black rd trailhead extending up to Skyline? I hope repairs don't come out of the same budget. I want to be able to ride it before I'm too old. But I bet park employee's time and attention have been distracted. I have not seen any on the ground activity on the bike park like work on access roads.
    Dunno - it was mentioned here, haven't heard much lately: New Mountain Bike Park in Los Gatos?!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buzz Cut View Post
    I used to do it with my truck and horse trailer all the time when I lived in Las Cumbres, we were 47 feet long
    A pickup and horse trailer isn't what I think of a "big truck". I think I could get a pickup and stock trailer over that road but it'd be tough and I'd want someone to block oncoming traffic. I was thinking construction equipement, drilling rigs etc. In additon to pulling stock trailers I've also driven large trucks (used to have a class B license, which is large trucks and busses but not semis) and would not want to try it with any of those. A pickup and trailer that's two 20 something feet things articulated in the middle is a lot easier to manuver around tight turns than a 40 something foot truck.

    Speaking of drilling rigs there was one on the southern side of the skyline slide this morning, and a three axle service truck as well. All CalTrans. The two axle limit isn't keeping them from doing work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtJunky View Post
    Dunno - it was mentioned here, haven't heard much lately: New Mountain Bike Park in Los Gatos?!!!
    This is perhaps a better thread to follow SVMTB Sanborn County Bike Park Proposal to Santa Clara County

    IMBA's Trail Solutions came back with a pretty neat layout but there's a bit of a sticker shock associated with it; I think SVMTB got cold feet and unless some other group steps up to the plate (and quickly) the County will move on. (A zip line concession has been mentioned)

    The original plan was the County would provide the land, the MTBing community would do the rest.
    Content here does not officially represent the CA DPR.

    Windows 10, destroying humanity one upgrade at a time.

  35. #35
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    I haven't been in that area for a while as I'm still recuperating.
    Anyone have any progress report on the Lake Ranch Trail cleanup by the county parks?

  36. #36
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    Looks like everything is cleaned up on the Lake Ranch Trail from the lake to Sanborn Road, so all we need are a couple of pictures to close the loop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommybees View Post
    @ Woodrock, the Sanborn entrance side is fully cleared with the only remnant being discolored mud across the fire road. Otherwise no notable trees or branches etc. The gate bypass is mudded up so you have to stop and carry over the grating but in general it is as clear as last Fall.

  37. #37
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    Here are some pictures of the repair, kindly provided by Eric.
    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    I rode up Black and down JNT this morning. Below is some pics of the Lake Ranch road repair (the part below the dam into Sanborn, not the closed part to Black rd).

    Descending JNT and then riding back up is like having the pie first then the brussels sprouts.


    I like climbing but its just wrong.

    It's not as steep as the last picture shows.

  38. #38
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    The SJWC was working on the JNT today between Lake Ranch and Black Road.


    The only thing the SJWC construction workers tell people is travel at your own risk.


    The JNT Black Road Trailhead area is signed, but not barricaded.

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