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  1. #1
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    Good job! The return of Giant Salamander!

    haven't seen any other posts on this big news - but Giant Salamander is now open.

    rode there yesterday - my loop has always taken me up the GS. However, after riding my 'usual' loop on the new GS, I'm going to work out a course which takes me down the salamander ... there are some very nice sections of the new trail, it's very do-able, no dabs on my first attempt at it yesterday.

    thanks to all who gave their time to this - great job!

  2. #2
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    Where is this at?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacobman
    Where is this at?
    D'oh!
    sorry - Skegg's, aka El Corte de Madera SP aka ECDM

  4. #4
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    That used to be among the best downhills at skeggs. i'm hoping they didn't sanitize it too much. i'll have to check it out this week if the rain stops.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by madzane
    That used to be among the best downhills at skeggs. i'm hoping they didn't sanitize it too much. i'll have to check it out this week if the rain stops.
    you may be disappointed - it is quite a bit tamer ... I have always climbed it - was the toughest climb out there, would clean it about 50%; now it's still a decent climb, just not a lung buster anymore. I think the downhill side is a cool coaster, though certainly not as steep as the original.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by feetsnofail
    haven't seen any other posts on this big news - but Giant Salamander is now open.
    That is so good to know. One of my favorite ride in the Bay Area.

    Cheers.

  7. #7
    Fireball in the Night
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    Skeggs ride Friday 1:00pm
    2:40 - 3:12 ride time for various loops. Choose yer poison.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by madzane
    That used to be among the best downhills at skeggs. i'm hoping they didn't sanitize it too much. i'll have to check it out this week if the rain stops.
    The lower section has not been touched - the upper part is sanitized quite a bit, all the rutted steep sections are taken out (think Crosscut); not too hard to clean anymore uphill. Descending it is still fun but don't expect a lot of challenge. I guess that's definitely better than seeing it closed though...

  9. #9
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    Good to know its open, I thought it was closed for good. Sucks they changed it so much, but again it's nice to know it is open. It is a vital section to a few loops there that I enjoy, but have had to bypass.

  10. #10
    Fireball in the Night
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    Ride On

    Here's the OpenSpace conditions online
    The Giant Salamander Trail is OPEN to all use!!!

    The North Leaf and South Leaf Trails are OPEN to bikes and horses.

    seasonal trail closures may change from day to day without notice

    Last updated on: 4/27/2007
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  11. #11
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    Rode the new version yesterday. The start of the new section is quite a ways below the old start. Thus, there isn't nearly as much elevation loss of the trail. The bad part is there is much more elevation loss on the Timberview fireroad. The new section reminds me of the new section of Blue Blossom, but with a lower flow/fun factor. There are lots of water bars/rolling dips. They aren't postioned very well for launching off of. Some of them are pretty close together and many have gravel. I think they are an accident waiting to happen. I give the trail a C grade. I guess the best things you can say is that is it FINALLY open and it will be much easier riding the up direction now.
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  12. #12
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    Maybe too much slick going on there Friday after that shower Thursday.

    Anyone up for it? Alternate ride?
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  13. #13
    Less yappin, more Brappin
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    Quote Originally Posted by justbob
    Rode the new version yesterday. The start of the new section is quite a ways below the old start. Thus, there isn't nearly as much elevation loss of the trail. The bad part is there is much more elevation loss on the Timberview fireroad. The new section reminds me of the new section of Blue Blossom, but with a lower flow/fun factor. There are lots of water bars/rolling dips. They aren't postioned very well for launching off of. Some of them are pretty close together and many have gravel. I think they are an accident waiting to happen. I give the trail a C grade. I guess the best things you can say is that is it FINALLY open and it will be much easier riding the up direction now.
    I thought it was just like BB also. Fun, but not "whoopee!" fun. Actually somewhat challenging because you cant just let it all hang out. More like an East Coast or PNW trail. Some of the corners are narrow and flat, with the conscequence of falling down the cliff if you come in too fast. The whoops were funky. If you were to try to air it out off of one, you could be sent well off the trail down the hillside.

    Its better than just shooting and skidding down a rutted out gulley(old trail). That gets boring for me, its not much of a challenge.

  14. #14
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    Giant Salamander

    Rode down Giant Salamander yesterday. While the "new" trail is not particularly technical it was generally fun and fast.

    Feetsnofail - This is the route I took to set up a "down" on Giant Salamander

    Skeggs-- Fir --Sierra Morena (pts 1 and 2) -- Gordon Mill -- Exit gate CM04 -- Bear Gulch Rd.-- Enter Gate CM05-- Springboard -- Connector to Lawrence Creek -- Lawrence Creek - Blue Blossom -- Springboard -- Gordon Mill -- Crossover/Crosscut -- Timberview -- Giant Salamander -- Methulselah -- Fir - Skeggs.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by macleodofskye
    Rode down Giant Salamander yesterday. While the "new" trail is not particularly technical it was generally fun and fast.

    Feetsnofail - This is the route I took to set up a "down" on Giant Salamander

    Skeggs-- Fir --Sierra Morena (pts 1 and 2) -- Gordon Mill -- Exit gate CM04 -- Bear Gulch Rd.-- Enter Gate CM05-- Springboard -- Connector to Lawrence Creek -- Lawrence Creek - Blue Blossom -- Springboard -- Gordon Mill -- Crossover/Crosscut -- Timberview -- Giant Salamander -- Methulselah -- Fir - Skeggs.
    cool - how's the climb on Crossover/Crosscut and Fir? i tried a similar loop but climbed Gordon Mill to Giant Salamander (brutal, not recommended) and then climbed Fir to ride down Resolution (even worse - all hike a bike), then up to the top on the ECDM trail which was easy ...

  16. #16
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    Crossover/Crosscut is a short climb....but there are a few steep bits/switchbacks. Very doable.

    I climbed Methusaleh from the intersection with Giant Salamander to where it meets up with Fir/Manzanita. Long basic climb. You are basically at the top once you get to that part of the Fir Trail. If you still have energy at that point you can head downhill on Fir to Resolution and then return to Skeggs via El Corte de Madera Creek Trail.

    Yeah - I don't recommend climbing up the lower part of the Fir Trail to Resolution - that is definitely hike-a-bike.

  17. #17
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    perfect! thanks for the info - my next Skegg's ride will be your loop including the extension down Resolution and up ECDM ->out

  18. #18
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    Rode GST on Saturday

    It's a whole new trail. I'm used to riding GST in the downhill direction, though I've done it uphill a few times.

    The reroute took out a good deal of elevation. The trailhead now starts out much lower on the mtn. Instead of dropping into a steep, fast, somewhat technical trail, it's now more of an XC cruiser. It's fun in its own respects, but it's an entirely different thing now. Almost all of the reroute is essentially flat. It's got some nice redwood forest to go through, some quick up and downs, and such, but little/none of the downhill fun of the former trail.

    If you hadn't experienced the old GST, you'll probably like it. If you're expecting anything like the old GST, you might end up cursing it, as my friend did.
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  19. #19
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    No good Giant Gerrymander Trail

    And I do mean that in the most pejorative way possible. In this case, MROSD has redrawn the lines of the old GST to simply make it less fun.

    I don't believe that GGT won't be subject to the same erosive forces as GST, which MROSD's catch-all, unimpeachable, frequently cited reason for closing or neutering trails. "Save the salmon"... Please, in a preserve that was clear cut several times over from 1850-1980s, *now* it's the great evil of mountain bikers that are damning the environment?! Particularly the oddly-placed water-barry part of the new alignment between the second bridge and the meadow is still steep enough to get dusty and flake away into the creek. Once again it appears that MROSD has used "the MTB folks seem to be having fun on the trail" a the central metric for altering a trail such that you can now rollerblade down it. I'm surprised they didn't put a Starbuck's hut in.

    I'm sorry to be a big negatron here, but GGT has *none* of the fun parts of old GST, in either direction. The most charitable description I can give the new trail is that it is a useful connector trail between Manzanita and the leafs, having falling precipitously from its previous position as one of the three best descents at Skeggs. The descent is now a joke, as is the climb. I'll see if I can nose-wheelie down the whole thing by the end of the summer.

    Sorry for the rant, but seriously, what we have a bunch of schmucks managing these open spaces. Shame.

  20. #20
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    Totally disagree. The old GST was merely steep and rutted, but to me, not that enjoyable or frankly, that technical. I love technical trails as much as the next guy, but the old GS wasn't the end-all, be-all that many seem to be making it out to be. I like the new trail because it is different than many of the trails at Skeggs and tests different skills. While many of the rollers are indeed too tightly spaced for launching, they do provide a really excellent test (at speed) of one's ability to quickly adjust and absorb. Most trails at Skeggs don't test that, IMO.

  21. #21
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    Rode it today, going up. The lower section is fine- not as good (read: fun) as it used to be, but definitely more sustainable in terms of erosion. Seems like the upper section -which is now a perfectly smooth, 4 foot wide path bypassing the only rocks and roots on the original trail- was where the powers that be decided to castrate a salamander.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Santo
    And I do mean that in the most pejorative way possible. In this case, MROSD has redrawn the lines of the old GST to simply make it less fun.

    I don't believe that GGT won't be subject to the same erosive forces as GST, which MROSD's catch-all, unimpeachable, frequently cited reason for closing or neutering trails. "Save the salmon"... Please, in a preserve that was clear cut several times over from 1850-1980s, *now* it's the great evil of mountain bikers that are damning the environment?! Particularly the oddly-placed water-barry part of the new alignment between the second bridge and the meadow is still steep enough to get dusty and flake away into the creek. Once again it appears that MROSD has used "the MTB folks seem to be having fun on the trail" a the central metric for altering a trail such that you can now rollerblade down it. I'm surprised they didn't put a Starbuck's hut in.

    I'm sorry to be a big negatron here, but GGT has *none* of the fun parts of old GST, in either direction. The most charitable description I can give the new trail is that it is a useful connector trail between Manzanita and the leafs, having falling precipitously from its previous position as one of the three best descents at Skeggs. The descent is now a joke, as is the climb. I'll see if I can nose-wheelie down the whole thing by the end of the summer.

    Sorry for the rant, but seriously, what we have a bunch of schmucks managing these open spaces. Shame.
    As an occasional motorcycle dirt bike rider who has seen many of our riding areas disappear you should be more gracious. "Shmucks", very harsh dude, shame is right. Do you have any idea just how quickly these "schmucks" could take Skeggs away from us if they so desired.
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  23. #23
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    Another great trail gone bad, very bummed after riding this today.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by #1Hammerhead
    As an occasional motorcycle dirt bike rider who has seen many of our riding areas disappear you should be more gracious. "Shmucks", very harsh dude, shame is right. Do you have any idea just how quickly these "schmucks" could take Skeggs away from us if they so desired.
    Well which is it? Shmucks or Schmucks?

    Rode it today going down, felt like I rode Resolution twice.

  25. #25
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    I have to weigh in on the side that the old GST was just steep and rutted ... not particularly technical or interesting. I'd rarely bother to go down it before, but definitely looked forward to testing my skills and fitness riding up it. Sounds like it might be more fun to go down it now from what's been described here ...

  26. #26
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    After riding it again this week I need to revise my earlier comments. The new top section is not great, but OK. I actually think the reworked middle section starting at the bridge is the real problem. It is curvey, but not enough to really slow you down enough. And the water bars and gravel sections are poorly designed and will likely result in some bad crashes. I do understand the intent, but the implementation was not good.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by reklar
    I have to weigh in on the side that the old GST was just steep and rutted ... not particularly technical or interesting.
    It was just like old steep section of Blue Blossom before they rerouted it. It (for me) was steep and challenging years ago, but now steep rutted chutes are not very exciting for me.

    I would much rather have longer trails with more flow that take more endurance and style than just skidding the rear tire and pointing the front wheel down the hill.

    If you dont like the trails, then just dont ride at Skeggs anymore.

    I wont mind

  28. #28
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    It is a bummer about Skeggs. It used to be a great place to ride back in 98 &99. Ever since then is has gone down hill IMO. The only positive is that it is an option to ride but I may ride there twice a year so it's no huge loss to me but I feel bad for those who frequent this spot. I think the only think you can do is get involved with some group like RUMP and work to keep these places alive.

  29. #29
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    I'm with you guys Skeggs SUCKS! I will never ride there again and I think all of you should do the same.
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  30. #30
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    Still a fun place to ride, but I've gone from riding there weekly in the nineties, to a couple times a year. Used to be such an incredible place to ride, now all the good trails have been dumbed down or closed and it's just a zoo with the number of people riding there.

    I've forgotten or never knew the names of a lot of the trails out there, but when I first started riding there when the place had poor signage and the only trails mapped were the fire roads, a sign reading "Not A trail" really meant Killer single track ahead.

    I really miss that OMG I'm going to die, then wow I made it feeling.

    A few memorys - Crossing the Aerial Tree, riding thru the missing doors of the 914, Totem Tree, Dark Sun Glass's, Devil's Staircase, etc.....
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeBC
    Still a fun place to ride, but I've gone from riding there weekly in the nineties, to a couple times a year. Used to be such an incredible place to ride, now all the good trails have been dumbed down or closed and it's just a zoo with the number of people riding there.
    I'm just wondering with your past couple of rides there, you really think that it is it really a zoo? Back in 2000 when I moved down here the Vista parking lot would be completely packed with people parking out on Skyline. Now there are maybe 10 cars in the parking lot on a Thursday night and we saw 1 person on the trails last week.

    I saw more people in Coe when I rode there awhile back.

    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeBC
    I really miss that OMG I'm going to die, then wow I made it feeling.
    Definitely only a few places in the Bay Area that you can still get that feeling. At least you can get up to the Sierras enough to still get that feeling. I'm really ready to get back up to Grouse Ridge for some riding.

    -Derek

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by derek
    I'm just wondering with your past couple of rides there, you really think that it is it really a zoo? Back in 2000 when I moved down here the Vista parking lot would be completely packed with people parking out on Skyline. Now there are maybe 10 cars in the parking lot on a Thursday night and we saw 1 person on the trails last week.

    I saw more people in Coe when I rode there awhile back.
    I have not been up there mid week in awhile, I can definitly say it was a zoo this Saturday, parking lot filled to the brim and all the road pull outs full. I passed on a couple of trails when I saw large groups about to head down them and got stuck behind plenty of slow a$$ riders.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeBC
    I have not been up there mid week in awhile, I can definitly say it was a zoo this Saturday, parking lot filled to the brim and all the road pull outs full. I passed on a couple of trails when I saw large groups about to head down them and got stuck behind plenty of slow a$$ riders.
    Bummer, guess I'm glad I ride there on Thursday nights when the place is almost empty (never actually ridden there on a weekend). Definitely not a place that you want to get stuck behind groups (or run into them going the opposite way).

    -Derek

  34. #34
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    I rode El Corte de Madera SP on Saturday for the first time and had a great time. That's excellent riding there, going down Steam Donkey, Giant Salamander and the steep part of Fir Trail. Only at some of the junctions would I run into other riders, but it didn't seem very busy. I'll have to ride there some more!
    Last edited by JL de Jong; 05-17-2007 at 10:49 AM.
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  35. #35
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    new Skeggs loop - 'bats in the belfry'

    with all the changes to Giant Salamander, I wanted to hammer out a loop that takes in Blue Blossom, Giant Salamander and Resolution. after a few attempts I found a loop that is completely ride-able (no hike a bike), and when outlined on the Skeggs map it looks like a bat (so named - "bats in the belfry" =)

    see highlighted skeggs map

    basically, starting at CM02: Sierra Morena> out CM04>right on Bear Gulch> in at CM05> L Springboard > R Blue Blossom> R Gordon Mill> L Crossover> L Crosscut> L Timberview> Giant Salamander> R Methusaleh> L to Fir> L Fir> R Resolution> R El Corte Madera Trail> R Sierra Morena> End CM02

    Total Dist: 14.8 miles
    Saddle Time: 1:42
    Elevation: 3826

    enjoy!

  36. #36
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    Dead Salamander

    I rode there yesterday, I guess it's been a lot longer that I thought since my last time at ECdM. I was totally unaware of any changes to GS until yesterday.

    After taking our usual loop down Steam Donkey up Gordon Mill, up Crossover to Crosscut, down to Timberview and fianlly to GS.

    I was very disappointerd when I got to the old trailhead and it was GONE! Where did it go. Hiked through the brush to see if we could find the trail, but they really did a number on it and chewed up the forest for quite a ways back. And they say Mt. bikes cause damage, HA! you should see the damage they did on purpose to keep us out, rediculous. So we continued down Timberview and happened upon the new GS trailhead. I would describe the new trail alignment as pleasant, but mostly flat. Not nearly as fun as it was before. That WAS one of the best trails in the park. The ruts were challenging if you are going fast enough. I never had my brakes locked up as some have mentioned. Ride it fast with little braking and it was fun and challenging.

    Most of the trails there are now the same, flat, kind of fun and pleasant. Very little steep and technical remains.

    To those of you who say, "well at least it's not closed", I say "fight the power" you are being naive, step one sanitization, step 2 limited closures for rain, squirrels, etc. Step 3 full permenant closures to MTB's.

  37. #37
    fc
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    This thread will benefit greatly from photos of the new trail. Someone step up please!

    fc
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  38. #38
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    feetsnofail, your map is so tiny that it's unreadable.

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    I've been riding at Skeggs since the late 80's when the trails were mostly unmarked and you had to find the trails by chance or a friendly tip from another rider. I loved testing and honing my skills (sans suspension) on trails such as the upper section of Manzanita, Elevator Shaft, NoseBleed, etc. While I agree with the sentiment that the park is no longer as "raw" as it used to be, the place is still heads and tails above anything else in the Bay Area. Sure there are other places such as Demo or China Camp , but they don't come close to the diversity or amount of trails that Skeggs has to offer. It's a premier place to ride. If you have a better suggestion in the Bay Area that I can hit within a 30 minute drive I'd like to hear it. Marin ain't got it, Los Gatos ain't got it and these are the birth grounds of mountian biking. Appreciate what you have.

    My thoughts on the reroute...

    While the reroute of GS doesn't put my stomach in my throat, nor did the old route which was essentially a moderately steep trail with some shallow ruts. Nothing awe inspiring or particularly remarkable about the old upper section. Sure you could take the old trail at speed and make it challenging, but you can do the same with the new trail. I actually prefer the new trail as it's has great flow and character. I've ridden it about 5 times since it's re-opening. My sense is give this trail a few years of winter storms and riding abuse and you'll see it's real character. I'd expect some nice technical sections will appear that will require committment and focus by the rider. It's also interesting to read in this thread that some people say the old trail was so much more technical and demanding, yet they also say the revised section below the second bridge is dangerous and prone to causing accidents. So what do you want - a technical yet safe trail? Sounds like an oxymoron to me. Make up your mind.

    I like the blind turns, hair pins, water bars, and gravel, makes it fun. If you want something more predictable, go ride Gordon Mill. If you are some downhiller on a 40 lb bike, go to North Star or Mammoth, or wherever you get your thrills. Leave this place to people who enjoy it and appreciate it.

    GS is an integral trail within the overall trail system that allows for a diverse set of ride options and routes. It's good and we should be happy to have such as a great place available to us. I'm happy to hear that some of you have decided not to ride here. Leaves more trails to my friends and me. You'll know me by the smile on my face the ire in my air.

  40. #40
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    I road Skeggs for the first time last week and I enjoyed it. I just recently upgraded from a HT to a FS and am not an advanced rider, so the trails were great IMO. I'll go back a few more times this summer.....

  41. #41
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    People have some ill nostalgia going on...

    Quote Originally Posted by factemp
    While I agree with the sentiment that the park is no longer as "raw" as it used to be, the place is still heads and tails above anything else in the Bay Area. Sure there are other places such as Demo or China Camp , but they don't come close to the diversity or amount of trails that Skeggs has to offer. It's a premier place to ride. If you have a better suggestion in the Bay Area that I can hit within a 30 minute drive I'd like to hear it. Marin ain't got it, Los Gatos ain't got it and these are the birth grounds of mountian biking. Appreciate what you have.
    Agreed. I've been riding Skeggs since the early/mid 90's. It has changed, but its still one of the best and most entertaining riding spots in the the greater Yay Area. Other places may have a bit more to offer in certain aspects, but Skeggs is still one of the only spots where you can put together a different loop every time and have them all put a smile on your face. For those of us in SF or on the peninsula, Skeggs will always be one of the places we come back to.

    GS wasn't all that before, either up or down. The new route isn't as interesting IMHO, but it didn't suck per se.

    As always, the bottom line is that we need to protect our access, participate in the process and make our voices heard. I'm just happy GS is open and its still a reasonably fun little trail.
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