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  1. #1
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    Best way to get to demo trails from sc

    I'm looking at maps and reading forums and trying to find the best way to get to demo trails from santa cruz. Where do I park and so forth. Any suggestions would be awesome

  2. #2
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    I was there earlier this year.
    I can follow up later today if you haven't yet received a good answer.

  3. #3
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    If you're looking to ride instead of shuttle your bike, up and over from Nisene Marks is a good way to go. There's a ton of stuff off to the side on the way back, or if you decide to shorten up the ride jetison the Demo thing, the destination. You can also come in from above Cabrillo, through Vienna Woods.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jms View Post
    If you're looking to ride instead of shuttle your bike, up and over from Nisene Marks is a good way to go. There's a ton of stuff off to the side on the way back, or if you decide to shorten up the ride jetison the Demo thing, the destination. You can also come in from above Cabrillo, through Vienna Woods.
    No offense to jms, but not knowing your fitness, I would categorize it as some of the worse advice ever.

    What he's saying is:
    - start near the ocean and climb 3000 feet
    - if you're too tired, just skip Demo Forest
    - there's a ton of renegade stuff there that you have no chance finding
    - add 800 feet of Cabrillo College of up and down trails at the beginning.

    Basically, this is a 40-mile, 5000 feet local's favorite for the very fit if you know the secrets.
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  5. #5
    fc
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    So the way most folks go is....
    - Drive here: 29400 Highland Way, Los Gatos, CA 95033
    - park at the upper parking lot across the bridge
    - go out on Highland Road again and climb and turn right at Buzzards Lagoon.

    Do two laps, Flow then Braille Trail. It requires very good fitness at about 3200 feet of climbing. Take your time, hydrate well. Have to climb out.

    One lap is about 1800 feet and it's good enough for most. But it's hardly worth the drive getting out there. So work up to two lappers.
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  6. #6
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    From Santa Cruz, there is no quick way to get there. Either you just get on Hwy 17 going north, take Summit road exit (go right), follow Summit Rd to Highland Way and follow Highland Way until you get to the gate for Demonstration Forest. You can park outside the gate o drive up to the parking lot inside. Doesn't matter either way and it will be obvious where the gate is. Your smart phone maps should be able to get you to Demonstration Forest.

    The other option, for a scenic drive is to head down to Aptos, Soquel Ave, and make a left on Trout Gulch. Smart phone apps should be able to direct you to Demonstration Forest.

    For you, I believe either way is probably about the same drive time.

    Once your at demo, it will not be obvious where to start your ride, but you just ask someone standing around and they will point you in the right direction. I suggest riding Highland Way to Buzzard Lagoon. Ride the fire road up to top to Demo forest. Ride Ridge trail to Flow. At the bottom of Flow, ride Hinhs Mill to Sulfur Springs, back up to ridge trail where you can drop into Braille. At the bottom of Braille, ride Hinh's Mill all the way out to the parking lot.

    That is a pretty challenging ride, as far as climbing goes.

    You have the option of only riding Braille or Flow to shorten the pain. If your doing this, I suggest skipping Flow and riding Braille for the better trail.

    What day are you planning to ride??? maybe I can show you around.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azflyfishing View Post
    I'm looking at maps and reading forums and trying to find the best way to get to demo trails from santa cruz. Where do I park and so forth. Any suggestions would be awesome
    I find it hard to believe that you did any research on this at all before posting here. I typed in "Soquel Demo Forest mountain biking" into the good old fashion Google Search, and the top results were links to mtbproject, bayarearides, trailforks, and singletracks.com. All had very self explanatory biking routes shown, and all had the parking area indicated with further details about mileage, elevation gain, and trail type. This was all found in less time that it took me to type out this post.

  8. #8
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    I find it hard to believe that you did any research on this at all before posting here. I typed in "Soquel Demo Forest mountain biking" into the good old fashion Google Search, and the top results were links to mtbproject, bayarearides, trailforks, and singletracks.com. All had very self explanatory biking routes shown, and all had the parking area indicated with further details about mileage, elevation gain, and trail type. This was all found in less time that it took me to type out this post.
    Maybe he wanted to hear from folks he's heard from before. And maybe discuss a little? Possible guide/group, etc.?
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  9. #9
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shamis View Post
    From Santa Cruz, there is no quick way to get there.

    ....

    What day are you planning to ride??? maybe I can show you around.
    Now we talkin!!
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  10. #10
    jms
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    No offense to jms, but not knowing your fitness, I would categorize it as some of the worse advice ever.

    What he's saying is:
    - start near the ocean and climb 3000 feet
    - if you're too tired, just skip Demo Forest
    - there's a ton of renegade stuff there that you have no chance finding
    - add 800 feet of Cabrillo College of up and down trails at the L.

    Basically, this is a 40-mile, 5000 feet local's favorite for the very fit if you know the secrets.
    LOL! Tough love?

    Thanks, I try.
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  11. #11
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    If you're new to bay area MBing, this website is a great resource:

    https://bayarearides.com/rides/demo4/
    https://bayarearides.com/rides/demo2/

    What others said... (take Summit/Highland and park at lot or off Highland) One last thing: on the way up to Ridge, suggest you hit Cusacks, it's well worth the side trip.

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    OP - same advice I gave for EMT area. 3 options:

    1) find someone here to join a ride
    2) use meetup.com and there are various group rides at various locations on weekends
    3) just show up the trailhead on the weekend between (8am-noon) and there will be groups going out every 5-10mins - be friendly, introduce yourself and join.

    I used option 3 the first time I went to demo and was gladly guided by a stranger. I have since returned to the favor 3 times over to tourists and riders that showed up for their first time @demo. My current riding group - we meet randomly at demo - we just ended up riding at the same pace, got along well, and we ride together almost every week now.

    If all goes well with my plans - I plan to be there next Monday as I have the day off.

  13. #13
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    I'm sure you've seen the google map distances/times from Santa Cruz. I always park in the 'main' parking lot on Hihn's Mill (it's the patch of bare dirt in the photo), there always seems to be someone leaving or a space even on weekends, or you can park on Highland, you'll see cars/spots lining the road before and after the entrance to the parking lot on Hihn's Mill.

    I'd recommend going on the weekend until you get to know the place. There's zero cell reception there except in one spot up top, if you get hurt and no one is around you're walking out, pushing your bike, alone!

    Another tidbit, I use this site to check the weather up there.

    https://www.wunderground.com/persona...?ID=KCASOQUE20

    Best way to get to demo trails from sc-screen-shot-2018-11-06-9.39.03-am.jpg

  14. #14
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    Uber.



    If you choose to drive yourself be prepared to go slow on Highland Way (narrow, road bikes, oncoming trucks, potholes, blind corners, parts of the road missing, etc.)
    The broken are the more evolved. Rejoice.

  15. #15
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by jms View Post
    LOL! Tough love?

    Thanks, I try.
    We'll take him out for your route when he's ready. But not yet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtvert View Post
    Uber.



    If you choose to drive yourself be prepared to go slow on Highland Way (narrow, road bikes, oncoming trucks, potholes, blind corners, parts of the road missing, etc.)
    Serious? Does Uber now have bike rack option? Half the time I call an Uber with my suitcase going the airport the driver needs to clear out the junk in his trunk to make room. Can't imagine even trying to load a bike without a rack.

    BTW the road is not all that bad. But maybe because I've driven in S. America, Africa and Italy so my perception maybe skewed.

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    Wow. Such love. Actually was just looking for local advice. Really dont want my truck broken into. And yeah bad road aren't an issue. I always ride alone so that's y I asked. And yes I looked at maps online. Duh.... this ain't my first rodeo

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    Planning to ride there next Saturday. I'll b in a white truck with AZ plates. I stick out like a sore thumb in the here parts.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azflyfishing View Post
    Wow. Such love. Actually was just looking for local advice. Really dont want my truck broken into. And yeah bad road aren't an issue. I always ride alone so that's y I asked. And yes I looked at maps online. Duh.... this ain't my first rodeo
    Ignore the knuckleheads on here. Not sure why they care your asking for advice. By the way, the days of mass car break-ins at Demo are in the past. This place has so much traffic and activity since the Flow trail was completed, it is unlikely local mountain trolls will break windows and steal your underwear.

    Seriously, about 10 years ago, they broke the window on my Tacoma and took everything insight. That included the underwear I removed before getting into my bib...

    Either way, like most trail systems, the routes are not crystal clear without a helping hand. There will be plenty of people to show you the way. I'm free Sunday if you want to ride
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  20. #20
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    No worries. I ignore some comments on this forum anyways. Haven't quite felt the total love since moving here anyways. I'm down to ride sunday. I'll admit I'm a slow climber tho. But I want to explore more here

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shamis View Post
    Ignore the knuckleheads on here. Not sure why they care your asking for advice. By the way, the days of mass car break-ins at Demo are in the past. This place has so much traffic and activity since the Flow trail was completed, it is unlikely local mountain trolls will break windows and steal your underwear.

    Seriously, about 10 years ago, they broke the window on my Tacoma and took everything insight. That included the underwear I removed before getting into my bib...
    How do you know the trolls haven't simply moved on to Phase 2?

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  22. #22
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    Should a left a note that said those aren't bike skid Mark's lol!

  23. #23
    NRP
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    I've ridden the Flow trail twice, and while the locals may downplay it, I think it is an absolutely awesome trail. Well worth doing if you haven't. The climb sucks, but all climbs suck so don't worry about it.

  24. #24
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    I rode Demo back to back days when I traveled to the area.

    Yes it was difficult to locate. I typed in the park address to Google and the maps got me there. But when I was there I didn't know I was there. I didn't realize that parking on the turnouts what "you have arrived". There is a parking area that I downplayed as a driveway at first.

    After all that, Saturday I rode a double flow lap. I am not one to enjoy linked turns, etc at flat out speeds. I enjoyed the trail but honestly I was hoping for more considering I drove there for that. I went up the main road, 45 minute climb for an in shape person not riding hard and enjoying the dirt road. Lap 2 was up Sulphur Springs and back to Flow. Sulphur Spring climb was no joke.
    That day I covered 25 miles and 4600' gain.
    The next day I parked in the same place, rode up Hihns Road (the parking lot) to Sulphur Springs and down Braille. Back up Sulphur and down Braille again.

    Flow trail is flowing and not a lot of technical stuff, aside from riding berms with a lot of braking bumps.
    Braille is a technical trail that is steeper and full of drops. All obstacles can be avoided if you ride with an awareness to your surroundings.

    I am not in good enough physical shape right now to duplicate that ride. I could probably ride Flow 2x, or Flow/Braille one day but not two days in a row.

    It sounds like there is plenty of advice already outlined here on how to get there so I won't bother. I did however get there via Google Maps no problem. I went in from Aptos and left through Summit. I didn't like Summit road as an alternate as I was staying in Aptos.
    There is a lot of climbing, and almost not worth a trip to ride a single lap of either Flow or Braille. Take plenty of hydration. Take a map. Enjoy the day!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azflyfishing View Post
    No worries. I ignore some comments on this forum anyways. Haven't quite felt the total love since moving here anyways. I'm down to ride sunday. I'll admit I'm a slow climber tho. But I want to explore more here

    Alright, itís on. Ridge/Flow/Braille/Summit Store
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azflyfishing View Post
    No worries. I ignore some comments on this forum anyways. Haven't quite felt the total love since moving here anyways. I'm down to ride sunday. I'll admit I'm a slow climber tho. But I want to explore more here
    Just so you know the majority of the riders you'll encounter that live around Santa Cruz are super chill. It's usually when you get online where people get rude.

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    A local guy parked next to me. I asked him all the common questions -where do I go. How difficult are the trails. What do you recommend I ride today if I am this ability.

    All great answers. He offered to have me tag along for the climb to the top via the long road. I declined as I did some video recordings from the parking area and explored a little.
    At the top before entering Ridge trail, a group of about 15 riders had finally congregated. The same guy from the park area offered me a place in line of their train.
    Again I declined -just wanted my own fun experience making my video and enjoying riding new trails.
    Everybody any anybody I encountered were friendly -which has been my experience with most MTB riders on the trails.

    I had a great experience riding the Demo trails. I enjoyed Braille much more than flow as I am a technical rider over a flow rider. But both were great. I'm glad I hit each trail twice. I ended up covering 40 miles and almost 8,000' for the two days.

    I used Air B&B for lodging. The first place I reached out to -I asked if they had a place to store my bike, and if they had any idea how far Soquel Demonstration Forest was from her place. I commented that I was going to ride mountain bike.
    A response from the owner not only told me exactly how far it was but answered with "My Boyfriend and I are riding Demo Saturday as well".
    She continued to be in contact through the weekend asking how it went and what U thought of it. She informed me of Summit Store for a delicious deli sandwich after the ride. I don't recall what else, but the point is she is local to Santa Cruz and her and her b/f ride and was super friendly and helpful.

    Good thing the room was actually booked for the days I'd be there or we would never have slept staying up all night talking mountain bike stories.

  28. #28
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    Has anyone used Dave Smith's Shuttle Smith service?

    I know nothing about it other than Dave seems like a real nice guy who won the 2018 Sea Otter Enduro Cat2 60+ and the DH too, I believe. He would have got 3rd in the 50+ Dual Slalom but crashed on the first heat of the 3rd place round and nearly covered the differential on the 2nd heat over some first time DS racer who got lucky - me.

    Mountain Biking ‚ÄĒ Shuttle Smith Adventures & Party Bus



  29. #29
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    I'm there. Sunday. Im frickin stoked! The riding here is insane!

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shamis View Post
    Alright, itís on. Ridge/Flow/Braille/Summit Store

    ahaha you mentioned all the fun stuff but skipped the pain. How about: Climb up to Ridge/Ridge/Flow/climb sulfer (suffer) springs/braille/climb hihn's mill/Summit store!

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by DH40 View Post
    Has anyone used Dave Smith's Shuttle Smith service?

    I know nothing about it other than Dave seems like a real nice guy who won the 2018 Sea Otter Enduro Cat2 60+ and the DH too, I believe. He would have got 3rd in the 50+ Dual Slalom but crashed on the first heat of the 3rd place round and nearly covered the differential on the 2nd heat over some first time DS racer who got lucky - me.

    Mountain Biking ‚ÄĒ Shuttle Smith Adventures & Party Bus


    Havenít used his service, but donít really understand the benefit. He drives you as far as he can up Buzzard Lagoon, so you have a shorter climb to the Demo drop in. Then you ride Demo and have to climb out and then back up to the top of the ridge so you can do a 13 mile fire road downhill back to Aptos. There are other options on the way back, but Renwgade and not to be discussed here. Iíd rather drive to Demo trailhead and be able to drive away when Iím done.

    Most of his business, though, is made up of families and tourists who can do a short climb and ride down fire road back to Aptos and wonít drop in to Demo. Iím sure itís helpful for some, but not a great option for Demo riders.

    Heís a nice guy I see on the trails occasionally and is usually smoking up before he descends. Just a personal annoyance to me and I hope heís not doing this when heís driving people up the mountain.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by partlan View Post
    ahaha you mentioned all the fun stuff but skipped the pain. How about: Climb up to Ridge/Ridge/Flow/climb sulfer (suffer) springs/braille/climb hihn's mill/Summit store!
    Yeah, as FC mentioned earlier in the post, this will be a 2500-3000 ft climbing ride. To be honest, Demo is in my backyard and I rarely ride there anymore because you do have to climb out at the end of the ride and itís about the same drive time to UC. UC is a bit of a shit show right now and would hate to be giving a tour to a new rider and end up with 100ís in fines.

    Hopefully its itís fairly cool on Sunday cause somehow, itís always hotter at Demo. Just no breeze in there.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shamis View Post
    Havenít used his service, but donít really understand the benefit.
    The benefit is you get to add an extra ~2500ft of descending to your ride that you did not have to climb.

    But I wouldnít ever pay to do it either. By the time you drive all the way up there, then ride the rest of the way, I could have been most the way up the climb already.

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    But you get to skip the 30 minute drive up the mountain -beneficial if you don't have a ton of time in a day and can get to the Aptos area easily enough. Maybe the benefit on a quick day is not having to drive BACK the 30 minute drive.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    The benefit is you get to add an extra ~2500ft of descending to your ride that you did not have to climb.

    But I wouldnít ever pay to do it either. By the time you drive all the way up there, then ride the rest of the way, I could have been most the way up the climb already.
    Yeah,
    I should have mentioned that I live in Los Gatos Mountains right off Old Santa Cruz Hwy so my drive to Demo is not as bad as others. That being said, if I go to Nisene, it's because I just want a chill climbing day and even if I climb all the way up to the Santa Rosalia Ridge, I usually won't drop into demo but I'll hit some other fun stuff on the way down depending on what bike I'm riding.

    I typically only use a shuttle service when I go to Downieville. Personally, for me, I ride better when I've had some ample climbing time. I've tried shuttling trails like mailboxes and for some reason, on cold legs I'm always a little uncoordinated when I get to jump lines.

    All personal preference. I think it's only $25, so if your curious, I would book it and give it a shot.
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    Shamis how does one go from Trout gulch to Demo? I have ridden the road bike as far as fern flat and Aptos view but any map Iíve seen doesnít show it connects to rider rd and buzzards eventually. Been chased by One pissed off dog a few times up there too.

  37. #37
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    I hardly ever shuttle unless a ride canít realistically be done otherwise (like Bachelor to Bend). When I shuttle at D-Ville it feels like cheating and Iím definitely not as ready for the descent. Itís strange because Demo is an ideal place where a shuttle should work well. Two descents there arenít quite enough but three of those climbs is enough to destroy me. Two climbs and three descents would be a perfect day.


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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by J-Flo View Post
    Two climbs and three descents would be a perfect day.
    Is that one of those MENSA puzzles?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trespinero View Post
    Shamis how does one go from Trout gulch to Demo? I have ridden the road bike as far as fern flat and Aptos view but any map Iíve seen doesnít show it connects to rider rd and buzzards eventually. Been chased by One pissed off dog a few times up there too.
    Ok, it's a scenic route and maps will actually tell you to go to freedom blvd to do this route, but here is the path:

    Start @ Soquel & Trout Gulch>Right @ Valencia School Rd>Left @ Valencia Rd>Left @ Day Valley Rd>Left @ Freedom Blvd>Left @ Hames Rd>Right @ Pleasant Valley Rd>Left @ Hames Rd>Left @ Eureka Canyon>Eureka Canyon becomes Highland Way.

    A very scenic loop, for sure. If you were going to drive from Aptos and wanted the most direct route other than heading over Hw17, you would jump on Hwy1 South and Take Freedom Blvd to Hames Rd to Eureka Canyon...

    Another option from Aptos would be Soquel to San Jose Soquel Rd to Summit to Highland...
    Hunt Hard, Kill Swiftly, Waste Nothing, Offer No Apologies...

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by J-Flo View Post
    I hardly ever shuttle unless a ride canít realistically be done otherwise (like Bachelor to Bend). When I shuttle at D-Ville it feels like cheating and Iím definitely not as ready for the descent. Itís strange because Demo is an ideal place where a shuttle should work well. Two descents there arenít quite enough but three of those climbs is enough to destroy me. Two climbs and three descents would be a perfect day.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Shuttle @ Demo only makes sense if you can be picked up on Hihn's Mill. Otherwise, your only saving a short road climb and a short fireroad climb. Just end up with getting cold legs.
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  41. #41
    jms
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shamis View Post
    Ok, it's a scenic route and maps will actually tell you to go to freedom blvd to do this route, but here is the path:

    Start @ Soquel & Trout Gulch>Right @ Valencia School Rd>Left @ Valencia Rd>Left @ Day Valley Rd>Left @ Freedom Blvd>Left @ Hames Rd>Right @ Pleasant Valley Rd>Left @ Hames Rd>Left @ Eureka Canyon>Eureka Canyon becomes Highland Way.

    A very scenic loop, for sure. If you were going to drive from Aptos and wanted the most direct route other than heading over Hw17, you would jump on Hwy1 South and Take Freedom Blvd to Hames Rd to Eureka Canyon...

    Another option from Aptos would be Soquel to San Jose Soquel Rd to Summit to Highland...
    Something like this:
    https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3139590543
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    Right i am very familiar with that route. I thought you were talking about keeping left and going up trout gulch, I forgot that lower part off Soquel is trout gulch not valencia.

    Hey op if you ever want to meet at Cabrillo and climb up that way pm me. Iím slow but can point you in the right direction. Fun stuff and totally rideable on a hardtail.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trespinero View Post
    Right i am very familiar with that route. I thought you were talking about keeping left and going up trout gulch, I forgot that lower part off Soquel is trout gulch not valencia.

    Hey op if you ever want to meet at Cabrillo and climb up that way pm me. Iím slow but can point you in the right direction. Fun stuff and totally rideable on a hardtail.
    Hell, I might take you up on that. Never ridden from Cabrillo area and always good to expand trails options.
    Hunt Hard, Kill Swiftly, Waste Nothing, Offer No Apologies...

  44. #44
    Nobody
    Reputation: Shamis's Avatar
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    Apr 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by jms View Post
    If you zoom in on this route, but follow trout gulch, it looks like Fern Flat to Pax Pl Ct dead ends about 800-900 ft from Eureka Valley Rd. Wonder what that terrain looks like and is it all Private Property???
    Hunt Hard, Kill Swiftly, Waste Nothing, Offer No Apologies...

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