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Alpine Road to Russian Ridge

 4.4 (17)

10.5 Miles 16.9 Kilometers


50%

Singletrack

1,577' 481 m

Ascent

-1,577' -481 m

Descent

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

19%

Max Grade (11°)

2,508' 765 m

High

1,173' 358 m

Low

Shared By Brendan Busch

Conditions


All Clear 15 days ago
Dry History

Getting forecast...

A very scenic tour with a healthy climb and some fun singletrack.

Brendan Busch

Dogs No Dogs

Features -none-

Dogs are allowed on Alpine Road and Coal Creek Open Space, but not in Russian Ridge. Helmet requirements, 15 mph limit, and other rules in the open space preserves are well enforced, especially on weekends.

Overview

This ride features a good amount of climbing up single and doubletrack followed by some quiet shady pavement. This is followed by an extremely scenic loop of fire road and fun singletrack. Finally, a fun and occassionally challenging downhill ride back to the car.

This loop is mountain bike friendly, but has the full mix of hikers, horseback riders, dogs, and cars -- especially on weekends.

Need to Know

Park out of the way of the gate (note 'Do Not Block Gate' sign). For a longer ride (and less driving), you can park much earlier on Alpine Road and warm up by cruising up the paved part of lower Alpine Road.

Description

Drive to the end of Alpine Road from 280 (or park as early as you like and ride up to the gate). Park at the gate next to the residential entrance (Ciervos Rd), keep clear of the gate to allow passage (note the no parking sign).

Ride up a sustained climb, winding through the woody double and singletrack to Page Mill Road. The old road sections are a moderate grade. The singletrack "bypass" section (required) is steep in places but can be ridden uphill by the determined. Eventually reach the top and turn right on Page Mill Road (paved - not steep) for 0.6 miles. Go across Skyline Blvd, and proceed on Alpine Road (paved - not steep) until it is just about to go downhill. Enter Russian Ridge Open Space on the right (first entrance on the right has a short climb and logs to hop over--if you go another couple hundred feet on Alpine Rd there is another entrance you can ride through), and shortly thereafter turn left onto Ancient Oaks Trail.

There are lots of options for looping around in Russian Ridge--this loop has some good singletrack, epic views of the bay and ocean, and a couple short climbs. The loop is: Ancient Oaks Trail -> Bo Gimbal Trail -> Ridge Trail -> Hawk Ridge Trail -> Alder Spring Trail -> Charquin Trail -> Skyline Blvd.

Exit at Russian Ridge onto Skyline at the Vista Point. Turn left (north) on Skyline Trail and very soon take the first road on the right "Clouds Rest Road." Go down this semi-paved road to its end and enter Coal Creek Open Space through a gate. Shortly after, veer right at the fork onto Meadow Trail. Follow Meadow trail down to Alpine Road

Meadow trail has a couple steep and rutty sections to keep you on your toes. It can be a swamp in wet weather and Crazy Pete's Rd. Trail is preferred (see below).

As an alternative, go a mile further north on Skyline Trail, turn right on Crazy Pete's Rd. Trail and enter Coal Creek Open Space at the end of Crazy Pete's Road. Stay left at the fork for a better downhill and eventually reconnect with Alpine Road.

Either way, reconnect with Alpine Road and follow it back downhill to the car.

Note that there are lots of options to this loop including crossing Page Mill and entering Montebello Open Space, taking different routes through Russian Ridge Open Space; or using different combinations of Crazy Pete's, Cloud's Rest or Meadow Trail through Coal Creek OSP either up or downhill.

Alpine Road is getting overgrown and is effectively singletrack in many places, and recently has sprouted a bunch of sporty kickers. When riding up, watch for downhill traffic, and when riding down be aware of uphill riders, hikers, horseback riders and dogs--all of which are on the trail at times.

History & Background

Alpine Road was built in 1895 because businessmen in San Mateo County wanted more of the lumber and agricultural products from the Skyline Area that was being transported down Page Mill Road to Santa Clara County.

It was open to cars until the 1960s and maintained as a fire road suitable for cars and road bikes until the early 1990s when mudslides in the lower section took out large parts of the road.

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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Sep 9, 2018
Chris M
11.2mi
Jul 19, 2018
Dorstenia Gigas
Jul 8, 2018
Liza Hausman
6mi
Jul 5, 2018
Sebastian Claici
Mar 11, 2018
Harsh Bhatt
Difficult initial ascent, opening up to a nice ride up top with nice downhill sections.
Mar 10, 2018
Sam Monga
10.5mi
Dec 16, 2017
Norbert Barbosa
Oct 21, 2017
Norbert Barbosa

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 17 votes

#512

Overall
  4.4 from 17 votes
5 Star
47%
4 Star
47%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
6%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#72

in California

#512

Overall
416 Views Last Month
10,752 Since Jul 9, 2015
Intermediate Intermediate

0%
6%
47%
41%
6%
0%
Chris M  
Not much in the way of technical here, mostly flat packed dirt, decayed pavement and some road sections. Most of the ride seems well suited to people of cross bikes or mountain bikers concentrating on fitness and scenery. It's sorta cool to be in the middle of the iconic NorCal golden hills over in Russian Ridge, and descending to the end point in Coal Creek is kinda fun, but this kind of ride isn't my style. Sep 9, 2018

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