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  1. #1
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    Saratoga Gap recommendation

    Have never riden Saratoga Gap and would like to check it out. How long does it take at an easy pace? I am driving over 1.5 hours to get there and would like to ride at least 4 hours to make it worth the drive. Any suggestions to combine it with other trails in the area to make it a longer ride. Of course I prefer sweet flowy single track. I have been to Skeggs and would like to go somewhere I haven't been.

  2. #2
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    You can start at the trailhead where highway 35 and 9 intersect. Maps are usually well stocked there. Follow the gap trail to the longridge loop. Head towards grizzly flats parking lot and make your way back climbing table mountain and then charcoal road. Charcoal road can be a tough climb esp when it's hot out so bring plenty of water. I usually do this at a slow pace and it takes me about 3- 3.5 hrs with plenty of stops to enjoy the scenery. Have fun-

    Rick

  3. #3
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    Download this map:
    http://www.openspace.org/preserves/m...ineReduced.pdf

    It is also available at the trail heads.
    Assuming you are starting at the intersection of 35 and 9:
    Ride the Saratoga Gap Trail for 1.7 + .3 miles until you pop out at LR01. Congratulations. You have ridden Saratoga Gap. You may turn around and head home now.

    If you wish to ride further, continue along the Hickory Oaks trail and then make a right onto long ridge road.

    Do you want to see vast open plains and rolling hills? Take long ridge road past the wallace Stegner bench, past LR12, until Long Ridge trail loops around and ends up at the triple intersection.

    Do you want to stay in the shade? Take the 0.5 mile squiggle down to LR11 and contine on Peters Creek Trail. Take the .4 mile connector up to LR12 and ride that loop mentioned earlier.

    Now head north on the Bay Area Ridge Trail, also called Chestnut. Then Tree Farm Trail, and then around Horseshoe lake.
    Work your way over to Russian Ridge Preserve parking lot. GO up that trail and hang a left to Ancient Oaks, then to the head of Alder Spring, go up Hawk, out and back Ridge Trail if you have time, and back along the Bay Area Ridge Trail.
    At the RR01 Junction, cross skyline and go to Clouds rest, meadow Trail, and go to MB05.
    Go the MB04, then White Oak Trail,to MB06. If you have enough time, go all the way down to Canyon Trail, then up Bella Vista, Old Ranch, to the Black Mountain radio tower thing, and back to MB06. Do not take Indian Creek Trail.

    Now you can pretty much go back the way you came, except you can skip that little Long Ridge loop and head straight onto Peter's creek.

    In any case, I don't suggest Grizzly Flat or Charcoal Road because those are long miserable uphills.

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  5. #5
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    Yup, this is excellent. Big ride.

    On another note, don't go down Grizzly Flat which is the normal Saratoga Gap big loop. It is a fire road and the climb out is very steep.

    fc

  6. #6
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    Dog's allowed at Saratoga Gap?
    "I think it's rad, when Balls beats Natural talent" - Shaun Palmer

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnryder56 View Post
    Dog's allowed at Saratoga Gap?
    Unfortunately not.

    fc

  8. #8
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    Are these trails marked good, sounds like I will get lost.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mb2boost View Post
    Are these trails marked good, sounds like I will get lost.
    The trails are well marked but the route is hellllllla confusing.

  10. #10
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    Here's a better route for a 3 to 4 hour ride from Saratoga Gap without any road riding or climbing Charcoal road at the end. Enjoy!

    Also known as Menso's dad.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the information. Looks there are miles of trails that I will get totally lost on. May turn into a really long ride.

  12. #12
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    Do the climb!

    Quote Originally Posted by beanbag View Post
    Download this map:
    http://www.openspace.org/preserves/m...ineReduced.pdf

    In any case, I don't suggest Grizzly Flat or Charcoal Road because those are long miserable uphills.
    WHat? What! The creek crossing at the bottom of Grizzly Flat can be very refreshing... And ditto for the creek crossing before Table Mtn. You get a bit a single track climbing up table mtn, and then the death march begins up charcoal rd. If you just like the pain of climbing, get it here...

  13. #13
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    Charcoal Rd

    I climbed Charcoal Rd last weekend through table mountain trail from the bottom of
    stevens canyon trail, the trailhead is unmarked at the bottom. You get to it by crossing
    over a ditch after the Palo Alto city Limit - having descended from grizzly flat -sign leading
    you to a crossing of stevens creek. You can see a trail beginning just after that, the
    first few sections are very narrow with aggressive switchbacks. Charcoal is definitely
    the most strenuous and torturous of the two climbs with Table Mountain being the sportier
    one. Bring plenty of water, some food and fresh legs. Some people claim to be able to
    ride Table Mountain Trail without unmounting however I find that hard to believe. The
    single track on table mountain is very narrow and full of obstacles, rocks, roots and other
    debris not to mention the possibility of slipping and landing on patches of poison oak !. If
    you add rain/mud to the picture it makes it all the more challenging. I take my time on
    table mountain especially if riding alone, and usually get off the saddle on questionable
    sections where I don't want to risk coming into contact with the evil ivy. Wear long pants
    and sleeves, helmets are required. I have never seen anybody else on these trails (which
    are uphill only for bikes). They can be isolated and lonely. You are out of cell phone range, Get hurt and you are on your own !. So be careful !. After the ride change into a
    fresh set of clothes and bag everything you take off to be washed immediately at home.
    Don't forget to rinse/wash off your bike too !!!.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by lrs40708 View Post
    I climbed Charcoal Rd last weekend through table mountain trail from the bottom of
    stevens canyon trail, the trailhead is unmarked at the bottom. You get to it by crossing
    over a ditch after the Palo Alto city Limit - having descended from grizzly flat -sign leading
    you to a crossing of stevens creek. You can see a trail beginning just after that, the
    first few sections are very narrow with aggressive switchbacks. Charcoal is definitely
    the most strenuous and torturous of the two climbs with Table Mountain being the sportier
    one. Bring plenty of water, some food and fresh legs. Some people claim to be able to
    ride Table Mountain Trail without unmounting however I find that hard to believe. The
    single track on table mountain is very narrow and full of obstacles, rocks, roots and other
    debris not to mention the possibility of slipping and landing on patches of poison oak !. If
    you add rain/mud to the picture it makes it all the more challenging. I take my time on
    table mountain especially if riding alone, and usually get off the saddle on questionable
    sections where I don't want to risk coming into contact with the evil ivy. Wear long pants
    and sleeves, helmets are required. I have never seen anybody else on these trails (which
    are uphill only for bikes). They can be isolated and lonely. You are out of cell phone range, Get hurt and you are on your own !. So be careful !. After the ride change into a
    fresh set of clothes and bag everything you take off to be washed immediately at home.
    Don't forget to rinse/wash off your bike too !!!.
    Do you climb singletrack all the way up or is half of it fire road?

    fc

  15. #15
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    table Mountain is single track only and most of it is under the trees. Charcoal road is much much wider which is a benefit, however the average grade is much much steeper and parts of it are exposed which are its shortcomings. I would venture to say there are some sections on charcoal that are at least +25% !!. There is a portion of the climb that goes over a fairly heavily eroded section of sandstone with lots of grooves and channels cut into the terrain that need to be negotiated with sufficient momentum especially if tackling them clipped to your pedals. Remounting your bike and pedal clipping from these locations is VERY tricky so it's best to get through them quickly and steadily !. I actually feel more comfortable on charcoal road since it's wide open and has room to maneuver, table mountain is VERY narrow with a lot less margin for error. To get through the table mountain climb in one sitting takes great skill, stamina, balance and good momentum on some of the switchbacks and a few staircases with large protruding roots and rocks. It's a very interesting climb all around providing a sense of adventure by keeping you on your toes and testing your endurance every step of the way !.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by lrs40708 View Post
    table Mountain is single track only and most of it is under the trees. Charcoal road is much much wider which is a benefit, however the average grade is much much steeper and parts of it are exposed which are its shortcomings. I would venture to say there are some sections on charcoal that are at least +25% !!. There is a portion of the climb that goes over a fairly heavily eroded section of sandstone with lots of grooves and channels cut into the terrain that need to be negotiated with sufficient momentum especially if tackling them clipped to your pedals. Remounting your bike and pedal clipping from these locations is VERY tricky so it's best to get through them quickly and steadily !. I actually feel more comfortable on charcoal road since it's wide open and has room to maneuver, table mountain is VERY narrow with a lot less margin for error. To get through the table mountain climb in one sitting takes great skill, stamina, balance and good momentum on some of the switchbacks and a few staircases with large protruding roots and rocks. It's a very interesting climb all around providing a sense of adventure by keeping you on your toes and testing your endurance every step of the way !.
    Table Mountain is hiking only and illegal to bikes up or down. Strange but true.

    That's why we all climb and love Charcoal.

    fc

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    Table Mountain is hiking only and illegal to bikes up or down. Strange but true.

    That's why we all climb and love Charcoal.

    fc
    I ride this all the time and just checked the map. Sorry to tell you but you're wrong. Table Mt. is open to bikes uphill from the bottom up to Charcoal road. From Charcoal Rd. to the top Table Mt. is hiking only. That is where the joy of climbing Charcoal starts.

    I agree with the Op that it is a ***** to get up Table Mt. without a dab, I can't do it. But it is a fun challenging techy climb. Charcoal Rd. is just a steep MotherF'er but a good workout.

  18. #18
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    Interesting, I had to check myself because the opportunity of having one more singletrack trail to ride on in the area legally was really too good to pass up, but alas it is not true....

    Table mtn ROAD is uphill to bikes, and it runs-into becomes Charcoal road. I guess we just know it as Charcoal Road.
    Table mtn TRAIL is the ST running parallel to Table Mtn road, and it is hiking only.

    See here:
    http://www.sccgov.org/sites/parks/Ma...-Creek-Map.pdf
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Froride1 View Post
    I ride this all the time and just checked the map. Sorry to tell you but you're wrong. Table Mt. is open to bikes uphill from the bottom up to Charcoal road. From Charcoal Rd. to the top Table Mt. is hiking only. That is where the joy of climbing Charcoal starts.

    I agree with the Op that it is a ***** to get up Table Mt. without a dab, I can't do it. But it is a fun challenging techy climb. Charcoal Rd. is just a steep MotherF'er but a good workout.
    The poster is talking about taking singletrack all the way up. At least that's what I gather.

    fc

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    The maps are a little confusing but your right, you can only take the single track up as far as Charcoal Rd. From there on only the fire road is legal.

  21. #21
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    Francois you gather right. As I have said, Table Mountain Trail AND the charcoal Fire Road
    Are UPHILL ONLY for bikes. Look at the maps for yourself I am not making this up.

  22. #22
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    Let me say it again. Table Mountain Trail is SINGLE TRACK, Charcoal Road is NOT SINGLE TRACK. It is a FIRE ROAD. Both of these are UPHILL ONLY for Bike traffic.

  23. #23
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    I think we are all saying the same thing. Table MT trail is single track, open to bikes from the Canyon trail to Charcoal rd and uphill only. Just to be clear, the Table Mt trail is closed to bikes from Charcoal rd up to the Saratoga Gap trail.

  24. #24
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    Agreed Froride.

    Table Mountain is a singletrack that goes from Stevens Canyon to Highway 35. It has two parts, a top and a bottom half. The bottom is legal to bikes but uphill only. The top is completely illegal to bikes. It's hiking only (but it's too far to hike).

    So our common path is climb up Table Mountain, it spits you out in to Charcoal fire road and you continue the climb there to Highway 35. 50 yards after entering Charcoal, you can see the Table Mountain (hiking only) singletrack on the right side.

    Messed up trail system!!!!!

    fc

  25. #25
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    Maybe it strikes fear in the heart of most.
    But maybe it's time to start a new thread.
    Similar to the Kennedy climbing show down.
    How about: MTBR TableMtn(Bottom)/CharcoalRd Strava Challenge!!

    Or has this been done before?

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