Campgrounds near mountain biking - San Jose area- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Campgrounds near mountain biking - San Jose area

    Hi, we are looking to setup a camping trip to take the kids to Raging Waters, Winchester Mystery House and some other activities at the end of June, and I'd like to be near decent mountain biking for a few rides as well.

    My wife was looking at Joseph D. Grant County Park for it's proximity to Mt. Hamilton, but there may be other better spots, maybe lesser known and less crowded, near better riding trails, etc.

    We have a 24' travel trailer, so someplace that has RV camping spaces is a must.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
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    Do you family a favor and take them camping in the mountains. Get out on a lake, go for a hike, enjoy the outdoors. San Jose camping in June is not what its cracked up to be.

  3. #3
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    If you're set on San Jose, then Sanborn County Park? I haven't been to the campground but believe it can handle RVs and you can ride from there up (steeply up) the paved then dirt road to JNT and from there connect to the whole southern skyline system.

    Also a beautiful drive to Santa Cruz from Sanborn.

    You could ride from Grant up Mt Hamilton, but that's road biking... not sure there's much MTB there, some South Bay person should chime in. Great road biking multiple directions from Sanborn.

  4. #4
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    Campgrounds near mountain biking - San Jose area

    Will be Tahoe camping later this season, and not necessarily set on San Jose. Just trying to make the best of where we will be for the water park and Winchester House. Will also be in Santa Cruz the next week after San Jose.

    Thanks, will check out Sanborn. Not road biking, and Ive never explored much in the area as far as MTB.


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  5. #5
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    Coyote Lake Harvey Bear Ranch County Park could work. I haven't been, but there's camping and some trails/fireroads). It's close to Henry Coe State Park, but the trails there involve lots of climbing and it will probably be hot by then.

    Maybe include the Monterey-Santa Cruz area? The riding around San Jose is really mediocre (most of us drive over the hill to Santa Cruz), but the bike/skate park at Lake Cunningham, next to Raging Waters, is a lot of fun.
    Last edited by Callender; 2 Weeks Ago at 02:14 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Grant Ranch camping, nope. No shade, hot, sun, meh. It's also harder to get too, in a windy twisty area, and not much around it other than fire roads.

    San Jose, meh. Raging waters, that's OK. I guess you're probably going to check out Great America too? I can't think of any place other than checking to see if you can get a spot at Henry Cowell, which is about an hour away. There might be other things,

  7. #7
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    If I wanted to MTB, I'd be camping at Seacliff, Sunset, or Manresa State Beaches and riding epic Santa Cruz trails. Raging Waters and Winchester Mystery house would be a 40-60 minute drive each direction, but camping on the beach would make the trip amazing.

    Raging Waters will be fun for the kids, for sure and I'm not trying to be a dick, but the Winchester Mystery House is serious tourist trap let down for most who go. If everyone is set on that, then go for it and maybe have dinner in Santana Row before or after.

    Mystery Spot is another tourist trap, but its in the SC Mountains and kind cool for a one time visit.

    I really can't recommend any decent enjoyable camping on the valley side of the mountain, other than Saratoga Springs Saratoga Springs – CAMPING or Sanborn County park https://www.sccgov.org/sites/parks/p...s/Sanborn.aspx . Sanborn would probably be the more "campy" option. Saratoga Springs is more like a KOA and pretty dense, but still in a beautiful spot. Like already said, John Nicolas Trail is right there or drive up Hwy 9 15 minutes and ride Saratoga Gap. They are probably about equal in fun factor.
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  8. #8
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    Some day I imagine I'll be dragged here: https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/artic...e-12552842.php

    If you're looking for inside things, the best museum in San Jose is the Rosicrucian Museum. A little further afield the Museum of American Heritage (Palo Alto) is tiny but neat.

    Edit: And if you can get a shuttle to the gap or maybe a bit further N on 35, you can ride around there then south on Skyline and down JNT back to Sanborn. Turn left at the lake!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shamis View Post
    camping on the beach would make the trip amazing.
    If you're going that route, best to check ASAP. The spots fill up fast, and the summer might already be booked up. They tend to be, by Feb/Mar.

  10. #10
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    Henry Cowell

  11. #11
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    If you haven't already, try California State Parks Reservations.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmHolland View Post
    If you're going that route, best to check ASAP. The spots fill up fast, and the summer might already be booked up. They tend to be, by Feb/Mar.
    Very true.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shamis View Post
    If I wanted to MTB, I'd be camping at Seacliff, Sunset, or Manresa State Beaches
    We stay at the Watsonville KOA which is in that neighborhood and a hop skip and jump from Aptos and Nisene Marks. It's chock full of kid stuff with a playground, a giant trampoline, and constant activities.

    There's another one near Pescadero that's probably about the same distance to downtown Santa Cruz, but it wasn't as fun for our kids.

    Obviously this is a different definition of "camping" than parking on the beach and sleeping in the truck!

  14. #14
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    Conversely I found Winchester's architecture fascinating, and the hokum of the Mystery Spot garbage. But to each their own.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmHolland View Post
    If you're going that route, best to check ASAP. The spots fill up fast, and the summer might already be booked up. They tend to be, by Feb/Mar.
    My parents take the RV and do the lottery all the time at Sea Cliff in the summer. They get the spot they want for the weekend 8 out of 10 times. (I think they drop it off Wed morning though, then come back on Friday night to spend the weekend there).

    Only problem is traffic can be HORRIBLE getting in and out of there in the summer. It can take and hour to get from SC to Aptos in prime beach traffic.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    My parents take the RV and do the lottery all the time at Sea Cliff in the summer. They get the spot they want for the weekend 8 out of 10 times. (I think they drop it off Wed morning though, then come back on Friday night to spend the weekend there).

    Only problem is traffic can be HORRIBLE getting in and out of there in the summer. It can take and hour to get from SC to Aptos in prime beach traffic.
    God. Traffic. I wish more people would leave this state.

    Edit: Check this out. Right now, it would take you 51 minutes to go 8.7 miles. And that's on a Tuesday.

    Jeebus.

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by looks easy from here View Post
    Conversely I found Winchester's architecture fascinating, and the hokum of the Mystery Spot garbage. But to each their own.
    Fair enough. The last time I visited either, I was probably about 10 years old.
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  18. #18
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    Has traffic gotten much worse over there? We drove down HWY 1 to Pacific Grove and Santa Cruz was insane on a Saturday. I thought Marin traffic was bad!

  19. #19
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    Weekend morning SB 17 turns into a parking lot from Camden past Lexington. Then in the evening NB stops for a couple miles between Scotts Valley and Summit, opens for a couple miles just enough just to tease, then grinds to a halt from Redwood Estates to 85. But if you're going the opposite directions you'll fly (usually the way I'm going).

    1 I know gets terrible, but I avoid it from Memorial Day through Labor Day, so I can't be specific how terrible.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by looks easy from here View Post
    Weekend morning SB 17 turns into a parking lot from Camden past Lexington. Then in the evening NB stops for a couple miles between Scotts Valley and Summit, opens for a couple miles just enough just to tease, then grinds to a halt from Redwood Estates to 85. But if you're going the opposite directions you'll fly (usually the way I'm going).

    1 I know gets terrible, but I avoid it from Memorial Day through Labor Day, so I can't be specific how terrible.
    I live right on the other side of 17 from Redwood Estates and we basically plan our weekends around traffic. Its epically bad. In the peak months of summer, 17, Old Santa Cruz Hwy, and Alma Bridge RD are a parking lot till 10-11pm most weekends.

    Part of the problem is all the people who get off 17 to try and bypass traffic not thinking about the fact that everything merges back to 17 at Lexington Reservoir.

    Sorry for the off topic rant...
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  21. #21
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    You can avoid traffic if youre over the hill by 10:00am and on your way home by 3:00pm.

  22. #22
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    Thanks guys. Its looking like Sanborn is the choice for proximity to San Jose and Santa Cruz - though being near Henry Coe would be my preference.

    Its only for 2 nights and then over the mountain to Santa Cruz. Since each day we have activities in San Jose, and we will have our two kids and their two cousins, I think daily out and back trips over 17 might be a bit much.

    I appreciate the feedback about Winchester Mystery House and the museums. Im not a fan of overhyped tourist traps, so Ill do a little more reading of reviews before spending hard earned cash there. Weve been to the Egypt museum (well, my wife and daughter went with her 6th grade class on a field trip from Santa Rosa). They said it was excellent.




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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post
    God. Traffic. I wish more people would leave this state.

    Edit: Check this out. Right now, it would take you 51 minutes to go 8.7 miles. And that's on a Tuesday.

    Jeebus.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=sant...stance&ie=&oe=
    And now, at 4:20 (!?) am, it would take you 12 minutes.
    Hogan Lake blog. A section of Hogan Lake trails here.

  24. #24
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    If being closer to Coe is really a priority to you, I'd consider the 1000 Trails RV campground in Morgan Hill. It has tent spots in addition to all the typical RV spots. Located on Uvas Road close to the intersection with Watsonville Road.

    You can head over to the other side of 101 and up Dunne Ave to get to the Coe Headquarters or a little south and out Roop Road to get to Hunting Hollow entrance. There is also great hiking to the west at Mt Madonna County Park at the top of 152.

    https://www.thousandtrails.com/calif...ill-rv-resort/

  25. #25
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    Thousand Trails looks nice, and the pool, etc would be fun for the kids.

    Ill see what the wife feels about an hour back to town vs 15 minutes.


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  26. #26
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    Not sure the age of your kids, but look into the Children's Discovery Museum. I loved that place as a kid! The Tech Museum of Innovation is also a fun place for kids. I would think they will enjoy that more than the Winchester Mystery House.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by JefedelosJefes View Post
    Not sure the age of your kids, but look into the Children's Discovery Museum. I loved that place as a kid! The Tech Museum of Innovation is also a fun place for kids. I would think they will enjoy that more than the Winchester Mystery House.
    They are 11 and 13, and cousins are 12 and 14. Tech Museum is already on the list! Will consider the Discovery Museum if we have time. Im leaning away from the mystery house.


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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by isleblue65 View Post
    They are 11 and 13, and cousins are 12 and 14. Tech Museum is already on the list! Will consider the Discovery Museum if we have time. Im leaning away from the mystery house.


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    Childrens discovery museum is targeted at little kids. 10 and younger I would say.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by isleblue65 View Post
    They are 11 and 13, and cousins are 12 and 14. Tech Museum is already on the list! Will consider the Discovery Museum if we have time. Im leaning away from the mystery house.
    At that age, if they ride and have bikes, they might also want to check out the Lake Cunningham bike "park." It's right next to Raging Waters. It's good for a day or a few hours.

    Agree with RBoardman, the Discovery Museum is for younger kids.

    They might also enjoy the pump track in the Santa Cruz area. (Pump Tracks + Bike Parks – Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz).

  30. #30
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    Great to know, thanks guys!

    I think they would like that bike park, and I took my son when he was little to a pump track around Santa Cruz, which he liked.


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