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Best Route from San Francisco / Penninsula to Santa Cruz

Old 04-19-12, 06:00 PM
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Best Route from San Francisco / Penninsula to Santa Cruz

Hey, I'm thinking about riding to visit a friend and his family in Santa Cruz this weekend. I was wondering if anyone had advice on the best route down there. I'm probably going to catch Caltrain down to around Palo Alto (or whatever you advise!) in order to cut down a bit on the miles.

My primary interest is avoiding terrifying traffic situations. I have ridden down the coast before and remember a particularly horrifying segment of highway 1 (Devil's Slide, I believe) and I'd like to avoid anything like that. To the extent that anyone has a preferred combination of sideroads, etc through the Santa Cruz Mountains, I'd love it! I've read through similar post on the forum and it seems like most of them involved Skyline Blvd and route 9, but I'm not really sure how to piece all of it together without winding up on the side of a busy highway!

Thanks for any advice you guys can lend me!

Bill
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Old 04-19-12, 06:43 PM
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Page Mill Road or Old La Honda Road will take you from Palo Alto over the mountains with far less traffic than Hwy 9. Hwy 1 south to Santa Cruz does have traffic, but I think there is a good shoulder and great ocean views the whole way.
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Old 04-19-12, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by johnny99
Page Mill Road or Old La Honda Road will take you from Palo Alto over the mountains with far less traffic than Hwy 9. Hwy 1 south to Santa Cruz does have traffic, but I think there is a good shoulder and great ocean views the whole way.
Thanks man! I'm thinking I might end up leaving from Sunnyvale in order to cut out some of the distance (trying to get there to spend the day with my friend's family). Do you know roughly how long it is to SC, assuming I'm a moderately strong rider and I don't take breaks? If you know from Palo Alto that'd be great too, I can just approximate based on mileage from that.

And I agree that highway 1 would be the superior way to go about it, I just worry that it would end up making my ride considerably longer. For another day.
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Old 04-20-12, 11:31 AM
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I'm leaving from Sunnyvale tomorrow to head to Capitola. Route is approximately:

Lawrence / Quito to 9
9 into downtown LG
LG Creek Trail to Lexington Res
around the reservoir
Old Santa Cruz Hwy to Summit
Summit to Soquel-San Jose Rd
and down the hill into Capitola.
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Old 04-20-12, 11:54 AM
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It's about 27 miles from Skyline to Santa Cruz on Hwy 9. The heaviest traffic is between Boulder Creek and Felton, at least on the weekends; I don't find the traffic frightening. However, my preferred route from Boulder Creek is to take Hwy 236 for a couple of miles, then take a left up Jamison Creek, then take a left on Empire Grade, which leads to UCSC/west side Santa Cruz, if that's the area where you want to go. It's a lot less traffic, but Jamison Creek is a pretty tough climb, in case that's a factor.
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Old 04-22-12, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by bigbenaugust
I'm leaving from Sunnyvale tomorrow to head to Capitola. Route is approximately:

Lawrence / Quito to 9
9 into downtown LG
LG Creek Trail to Lexington Res
around the reservoir
Old Santa Cruz Hwy to Summit
Summit to Soquel-San Jose Rd
and down the hill into Capitola.
Here's our route from Lexington to Capitola.

That is what we did today. Beware weekend traffic now. Some are using Soquel-San Jose as a bypass to Hwy 17, so the traffic can be frenetic. Today some guy in a lime green Jeep CJ5 was barrelling down S-SJ on the way to Capitola, and thought better of passing us when a car was coming the other way. He had to hit his brakes hard with tires screeching to avoid running us down from behind (there was hardly a shoulder where we were). The pavement was wet there, and we could feel the spray from his car. My stoker (we were on a tandem) was really shaken.

Routine traffic on the road is probably allright, but people taking a short cut the first nice weekend of the season, best to avoid.

Look at routes on Garmin Connect, or Strava, etc. to see how people actually do them. There is a San Francisco to Silicon Valley commutes you can look up, which would be the most direct.


Here's how to get from Crystal Springs Reservoir to Los Altos.

How to get from Los Altos (Foothill) to Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road, or to Saratoga on Pierce. Also, a nice way to get from Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road to Los Gatos.

Two ways of getting to Summit Road, and thus Soquel-San Jose Road. Hwy 9 avoids the dirt on the Los Gatos Creek Trail, but has a lot more climbing.
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Old 04-23-12, 02:46 PM
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I ended up not going. That's the route, though.
I like the Los Gatos Creek trail because of the dirt (I ride a CX bike for a reason ) and the traffic on 9.

The last time I did it was in the fall, so it was off-season and there wasn't much traffic at all... there was a Prius on the way up that was being driven by some teenager who was squealing it through all the turns... I heard him coming and by the time he'd made it to me, I'd pulled over to take pictures of the scenery.
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