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Overnight Trip from Berkeley: Half-Moon Bay or Samuel P. Taylor State Park?

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Overnight Trip from Berkeley: Half-Moon Bay or Samuel P. Taylor State Park?

Old 06-30-12, 07:09 PM
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Overnight Trip from Berkeley: Half-Moon Bay or Samuel P. Taylor State Park?

I'm dipping my toes into touring and looking to start with a local overnight trip, likely the last weekend in July. The plan is to camp overnight and return the next day. Right now I'm looking at riding down to Half-Moon Bay, or up to Samuel P. Taylor State Park. Have you done either or both of these rides? What did you think? Any tips for the actual route? I plan to start from Berkeley, though if it ends up making more sense to start from SF, I can do that, too.
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Old 06-30-12, 08:19 PM
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I live in the East Bay. Haven't done these types of rides, but personally, wouldn't be too keen to ride SP Taylor State Park. There's not really a real bike lane to speak of (despite 'Share the Road' signs) on that part of Francis Drake Blvd, and the road gets rough through the park, so you'd often be a few feet into the main part of the roadway. My main concern is the fact that with all the curves, cars often come up on bicycles very quickly. I don't really trust drivers - many of whom will be weekenders not too familiar with the road - to always react quickly or be bicycle friendly. That said, lots of people do ride bikes through there, though I sometimes cringe for them when I'm driving and see how close cars get to them on the curves.

If i was to attempt either, I'd be much happier doing half Moon Bay as my first outing. Route 1 is much wider, has a beautiful view, and really nice rolling hills that wouldn't be too difficult. I think that would be a magnificent ride.

I'd probably start in SF, but only because I'm still getting to know the area, and am not sure if the trip across the bay would be very pleasant from the East Bay. Though...now that I think about it, starting from the North Bay and going across the Golden Gate might make quite the picturesque start to the journey...

Good luck!
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Old 06-30-12, 09:35 PM
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I've done both and prefer the Sam Taylor option. I also live in the East Bay, but started the ride on BART to get to SF. Then we rode across the GG bridge into Sausalito and took the bike path north across the wetland area to Camino Alto and climbed up and over the hill to Larkspur. There's a signed bike route on local streets that basically parallels Sir Francis Drake Blvd. through Larkspur, San Anselmo, and Fairfax, but after that we got on the blvd. itself which does have more traffic. Then it's into the park which has a beautiful Hike&Bike area (think it's $5/person) in the redwoods with showers (bring quarters) and a swimming hole in the park. There's also a separate bike path through the park. Unless you're really set on the beach, I found the Sam Taylor park and campground to be far superior to HMB. And it's not far to climb over the hill to Olema and Pt. Reyes if you want to do some more riding.

Last edited by prathmann; 06-30-12 at 09:40 PM.
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Old 06-30-12, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by prathmann
I've done both and prefer the Sam Taylor option. I also live in the East Bay, but started the ride on BART to get to SF. Then we rode across the GG bridge into Sausalito and took the bike path north across the wetland area to Camino Alto and climbed up and over the hill to Larkspur. There's a signed bike route on local streets that basically parallels Sir Francis Drake Blvd. through Larkspur, San Anselmo, and Fairfax, but after that we got on the blvd. itself which does have more traffic. Then it's into the park which has a beautiful Hike&Bike area (think it's $5/person) in the redwoods with showers (bring quarters) and a swimming hole in the park. There's also a separate bike path through the park. Unless you're really set on the beach, I found the Sam Taylor park and campground to be far superior to HMB. And it's not far to climb over the hill to Olema and Pt. Reyes if you want to do some more riding.
Cool! Good to know about the alternate routes.
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Old 07-01-12, 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Face Palm
Cool! Good to know about the alternate routes.
Hey FP, yes, it's really quite nice. The path is called the Cross-Marin Trial, and it gets you off of SFD Blvd, right after Lagunitas (heading north). It brings you right into the park and the hike-and-bike campsite. You can also follow it out to the north end of the park, where you can then continue on to Olema. It's a great way to avoid SFD Blvd in Sammy P. Taylor Park, and *lots* of cyclists opt for this route.
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Old 07-01-12, 12:48 AM
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Thanks for the great responses so far! I've been researching and plotting all night and had just about decided on HMB--mostly for the opportunity to ride the awesome-sounding Planet of the Apes route to get there!--but you're making Samuel P Taylor sound mighty appealing, too. Please keep the opinions coming!

One question that applies to both: I keep hearing that the state park camping areas have specific hiker-biker sites, but when I check out the park service's website to make reservations, there's no mention of those. Can those be reserved in advance? If not, do I have to worry about getting there after a day of riding and discovering that there are no sites left?

Last edited by rhiannonstone; 07-01-12 at 12:55 AM. Reason: I accidentally a word
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Old 07-01-12, 01:38 AM
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Originally Posted by rhiannonstone
Thanks for the great responses so far! I've been researching and plotting all night and had just about decided on HMB--mostly for the opportunity to ride the awesome-sounding Planet of the Apes route to get there!--but you're making Samuel P Taylor sound mighty appealing, too. Please keep the opinions coming!

One question that applies to both: I keep hearing that the state park camping areas have specific hiker-biker sites, but when I check out the park service's website to make reservations, there's no mention of those. Can those be reserved in advance? If not, do I have to worry about getting there after a day of riding and discovering that there are no sites left?
The Hike&Bike sites cannot be reserved. Officially the parks reserve the right to turn people away, but in my experience they avoid doing that. The sites are pretty large so there's almost always room to squeeze in a few more small tents and sometimes they let cyclists stay in a normal day use picnic area if the regular site is full (requesting that you wait until evening to set up tents and take them down reasonably early the next day). I have never encountered a problem getting a spot in the Hike&Bike sites.

Don't want to discourage you from HMB if you think you'd prefer that - but I still like Sam Taylor more. Here's our route and pictures over the old Hwy. 1 you mention although on this trip we only went down to Montara instead of HMB. We took the old Hwy. 1 on the way down and came back over Devil's Slide (soon the tunnel should be available as well):
https://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=609060
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Old 07-01-12, 01:40 AM
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That's really helpful, thanks.

Of course, I can always do both trips! Just have to figure out which to do first.
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Old 07-01-12, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by prathmann
Don't want to discourage you from HMB if you think you'd prefer that - but I still like Sam Taylor more. Here's our route and pictures over the old Hwy. 1 you mention although on this trip we only went down to Montara instead of HMB. We took the old Hwy. 1 on the way down and came back over Devil's Slide (soon the tunnel should be available as well):
https://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=609060
Also, I'm pretty sure SPT has a policy of not turning away any biker. The hike and bike site there is pretty big.
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