El Corte de Madera Creek OSP

Popular with mountain bikers, El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve has a collection of trails that is also very fun for running! The park is located off the westside of Skyline Blvd. El Corte features some single track and some fire road, but I try to design loops with as much single track as possible. Most of the trails are in the woods, which includes some nice second-grwoth redwood forest and douglas fir. There are a couple open areas with views to the Pacific Ocean, particularly on the Resolution Trail and the Manzanita Trail, but the North Ridge area of nieghboring Purisima Creek OSP is a better choice for views. El Corte de Madera Creek is a hilly park with very few flat sections to open up the stride. Moreover, the starting point is basically the high point (2,200+ ft), so leave something in the tank for the return climb, which can be steep. As mentioned, the park is popular with mountain bikers (during the weekday evenings I am the ONLY runner), but the park is so big that it is far from ever crowded.

There are two basic loops I do in El Corte de Madera Creek – a long and a short one. The one I chose to do today is the shorter one (~10.5 miles) and only drops down to 1,300 ft. Today, it took me 78 minutes. The longer one (~14 miles) is essentially the largest loop you can make in the mark and drops down to 750 feet before beginning the climb back up to 2,200 ft. The longer loop has a 4+ mile section of fireroad, but it’s mainly forested.

Note: the South Leaf trail was just rerouted avoiding a needless elevation drop and then steep gain (and some mileage as well). 14 miles seems about right.

10.5 Mile Loop: MAP

  1. Start – Skeggs Point (or you can start at turnout along Sierra Morena Trail)
  2. El Corte de Madera Creek Trail
  3. Left on North Leaf Trail
  4. Left on Methuselah Trail
  5. Right on Giant Salamander Trail
  6. Left on Timberview Trail
  7. Right on Crosscut Trail
  8. Right on Crossover Trail
  9. Right on Gordon Mill Trail
  10. Left on Steam Donkey Trail
  11. Left then immediately right onto Gordon Mill Trail
  12. Left onto Sierra Morena Trail
  13. Right on Fir Trail – Finish

14 mile loop: MAP

  1. Start – Skeggs Point (or you can start at turnout along Sierra Morena Trail)
  2. El Corte de Madera Creek Trail
  3. Left on North Leaf Trail
  4. Left on Methuselah Trail
  5. Right on South Leaf Trail
  6. Left on Virginia Mill Trail
  7. Right on Lawrence Creek Trail
  8. Straight onto Blue Blossom Trail
  9. Right on Steam Donkey Trail
  10. Left then immediately right onto Gordon Mill Trail
  11. Left onto Sierra Morena Trail
  12. Right on Fir Trail – Finish
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