Here is a list of my twelve favorite single track trails on the SF Peninsula. The list is generally organized by location from north to south, but they are all located in the Santa Cruz Mountains in a relatively small area that is rich in protected public lands. I can assure you that each one of these is a trail running treat!
Note: mileage listed in parenthesis is the length of the trail, not including mileage required to get to the trail or get back as part of a complete run.
- Soda Gulch Trail – Purisima Creek OSP: One section in meadows and chaparral with views to Half Moon Bay; another section in lush redwood forest with cascading streams (2.6 miles).
- Chinquapin Trail – Huddart Park: A fast descent trail with a cushy coating of leaves and redwood needles (1.6 miles).
- Skyline Trail – Huddart to Wunderlich: This awesome trail is under a thick canopy of Douglas fir and redwoods as it traverses the hillside below Skyline Blvd. – it has a great surface and elevation profile to find a nice rhythm (5.7 miles).
- Razorback Ridge and Lost Trail – Windy Hill OSP: Numerous switchbacks up a ridge under a thick canopy of oak trees leads to a meandering section along the ridge with ancient Douglas firs lining the path and finally views of the entire Bay Area (3.8 miles).
- Toyon Trail – Portola Valley Ranch: Super narrow and fast from top to bottom, watch the sharp turns (2 miles).
- Los Trancos Trail – Foothills Park: Get a great workout on the steep hillclimb along Los Trancos Creek, but also enjoy the lush fern forest along the cascading stream and great views from the high point (7.5 miles).
- Table Mountain Trail – Upper Stevens Creek: A good hill climb in thick fir and hardwood forest give this trail a real wilderness feeling (3.5 miles)
- Brook Loop – Pescadero Park: Super views of the Pescadero watershed along with great mileage in redwood and fir forest (5.7 miles).
- Achistaca Trail – Long Ridge OSP: Beautiful forest, meadows, and gorgeous views to the Pacific Ocean (1.7 miles).
- Ridge Trail – Castle Rock SP: Sweeping views of the Santa Cruz Mountains and a magical madrone forest make this trail a delight (1.5 miles)
- Canyon Trail – Butano SP: Extremely narrow trail and steep relief off the side characterize this technical trail which traverses in and out of redwood-filled gullies (2.75 miles).
- Skyline to the Sea Trail and Berry Creek Falls – Big Basin SP (from HQ to Berry Creek Falls): Huge redwoods and spectacular waterfalls, including Berry Creek Falls, Silver Falls, and Golden Cascade (5.5 miles).