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Santa Cruz area - Redwood Trees route?

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Santa Cruz area - Redwood Trees route?

Old 05-10-18, 04:41 PM
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3949dxer
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Santa Cruz area - Redwood Trees route?

My wife and I are up in Santa Cruz for a two days and I was thinking that we've ridden through all sorts of terrain in California - except a redwood forest. Seems like that would be a pleasant experience.

Any suggestions for routes in the area that don't involve big climbs, maybe 15-30 miles total? We have our bikes in the car so can drive to most any start point.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 05-10-18, 07:53 PM
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There are lots of redwoods trees in the hills above Santa Cruz, but redwoods don't really grow in flat areas and all the bike routes I can think of involve significant climbs. If you don't like biking in the hills, my advice is to drive to one of the local redwood parks and then walk through the redwoods. Big Basin Redwoods State Park is just up the hill from Santa Cruz. From the main parking lot, there is an easy walking trail through a very beautiful redwood grove. The park does allow bicycles on some trails, but the ones I remember are all pretty steep.
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Old 05-10-18, 09:22 PM
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Thanks, and well, maybe we just need to to a climb then. I'm doing a 5k climb on Sunday, and she's probably ok with some climbing tomorrow. I guess I was trying to keep it simple because I have a business meeting the first half of the day but we're flexible.

So...what would you recommend for a scenic ride?

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Old 05-10-18, 10:35 PM
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Big Basin is the place to go for redwoods, but there is a lot of climbing.

Another suggestion, though not quite the redwoods you'll see in Big Basin (though also without the crowds that can show up there on a weekend) and also involves climbing, but is my favorite stretch of road anywhere: drive to Corralitos, then bike up Eureka Canyon and Highland Way. Have a snack at the Summit Store, and turn around.
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Old 05-10-18, 10:44 PM
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I live in the redwoods in Santa Cruz (Bonny Doon). What I suggest is you drive up Empire Grade and park where the mountain bikers are all parked, near Twin Gates. Unload the bikes and ride a little further along Empire Grade, until you meet Smith Grade, and turn on that, and ride the whole length out and back. There will be almost zero traffic on Smith Grade, and loads of redwoods. It is by no means flat, but it spares you the most brutal climb. If you have a bit more time and energy, you can continue up Bonny Doon Road from the far end of Smith Grade, and ride up that, Martin Road, to Ice Cream Grade, ride the length of that to the Fire Station at Empire Grade, and then turn right and ride down Empire Grade back to your car. It is a lot of climbing, but I do it every day as a commute (to UCSC), and I am kind of old and lame and weak and fat and wimpy, so it shouldn't be too bad.
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Old 05-12-18, 10:09 AM
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wgscott, thanks for the suggestion, which we took you up on. My wife was having some knee problems and I have a monster ride tomorrow so we weren't very ambitious but we rode Smith Grade out and back, and it was just what I was looking for. Though I now live in So Cal, I grew up in the Bay Area and have many fond memories of hiking and camping under the redwoods. It was nice to re-experience those sights and scents from my bike.

Thanks again!

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Old 05-12-18, 12:27 PM
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@3949dxer

I'm glad it worked out. I just came back to this thread to post a map. Hope the monster ride goes well. Totally fogged in here this morning. I guess it is summer now.




Last edited by wgscott; 05-12-18 at 12:36 PM.
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