Winding through redwoods on the way to the ocean is a great way to escape the daily grind. This loop ride southwest of San Jose combines much of what makes California’s central coast uniquely spectacular. Following a serpentine path through vibrant old-growth forests, this green canopy ultimately opens up to the beautiful coastline of the surfer’s Mecca near Santa Cruz.
Naturally, there is heavy traffic in the San Jose urban area. However, once free of the city, the traffic is generally light. There are many technical curves in the forested sections. The tarmac is consistent and well-maintained, although there can be sandy blow-over on the coastal stretch. There is a narrow margin in several of the mountain sections. Be wary of wildlife, side traffic, and trees that line the road.
Approximately 98 miles
Stagnaro Bros. Seafood offers great views and the food is fresh and delicious. You can ride out onto the wharf (for a fee) and park right next to the restaurant. Find it at 59 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, CA, (831) 423-2180.
Points of Interest
Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Big Basin is California’s oldest state park. Nestled in towering redwoods, the park not only makes for a great ride. Its many trails let you stretch your legs and enjoy the natural ambiance.
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
The boardwalk is a great example of a traditional seaside amusement park. Vibrant colors and iconic rides and attractions reside in a beautiful setting. It is also directly adjacent to the wharf, so it is a great spot to park and take in the Santa Cruz beach vibe. Find it at 400 Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA.
Lexington Reservoir County Park
Set beside the deep blue waters of the Lexington Reservoir, this county park is a nice final stop on the City Escape. A series of trails traces its way through the nearly 1,000-acre park.