Saturday, April 28, 2012

North Escape Road

Today I took advantage of the lovely weather and rode to Big Basin Redwoods, and more specifically rode up North Escape Road for the first time.

View North Escape Road in a larger map

Summit Road
I got out just before 9, and rode up to summit the familiar way: Kennedy, Los Gatos Trail, Old Santa Cruz Highway. I wanted to scout out a place to take pictures on the upcoming Tour of California stage that runs through here, so I rode northwest on Summit, then down Bear Creek Road to Boulder Creek. The answer, by the way: there's a section of Bear Creek Road at about 1500 feet that's steep and in sunlight, so it'll do.

North Escape Road
I had lunch in Boulder Creek, then headed up Highway 236 into Big Basin. At the park headquarters I rode through the parking lot, which puts you on North Escape Road. The road runs north a bit, then is gated to car traffic. After that point it shrinks considerably and, though it remains paved, it's blanketed with a layer of pine needles. It's also far enough from the parking lots that you basically have the road to yourself, which is an amazing luxury.

The road is pretty flat until it reaches a bridge across Opal Creek, when it becomes quite steep. The most difficult kilometer of the ride was in this section, with a grade of about 9.6%. The road winds its way back to Highway 236 at about 1400 feet.

North Escape Road crossing Opal Creek
I enjoyed the climb up to Saratoga Gap, then managed to descend Highway 9 while not getting passed by a single car, at least until I was pretty close to town. After that it was back the way I came.

Elevation profile
This trip was about 74 miles, with over 6800 feet of climbing. A great day out.

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