Braille Flow

 38 votes
Building Map
Loading Map Data
Map Settings
Featured Ride
Trail

19.2 Miles 30.9 Kilometers


40%

Singletrack

3,112' 948 m

Ascent

-3,106' -947 m

Descent

2,577' 785 m

High

787' 240 m

Low

6%

Avg Grade (4°)

23%

Max Grade (13°)

Bad / Closed

3 days agoUpdate

Fire road climbing to two singletrack trails with plentiful features and flow.

Josh Dulberger

Overview

The ridge climb is a bit of a haul, but the Braille Trail delivers nicely. It'll be over quick, but Braille is dense with small to medium (even medium-large) features, all of which are optional. Pick a good line and have a blast.

The requisite singletrack is mostly moderate with some slightly dicier sections, curvy, banked, and fun as could be.

Need to Know

You'll be climbing for a bit out of the parking lot, perhaps longer than expected. There are some singletrack bits to find on the way up, worth following the GPS or using the MTB Project mobile app for that.

There might also be some shuttle options worth exploring.

Description

Head out Highland Way and park at a roadside pullout. The fire road starts at the intersection of Highland Way and Ormsby Cutoff - don't continue past Ormsby. The fire road splits at a fork between mile 2.7 and 3.2. Continue straight (slight downhill, then back up) and catch the obvious trail on the right that climbs up (singletrack) to rejoin the previous branching fork.

This trail is fun, quite moderate, with one challenging but short rocky climb, and a deeply rutted out section (that can be ridden around). Once joined back with the previously branched fork, head left to continue climbing. Stay on the main fire road for some time, crossing through a gate in the road. Shortly after this there is an obvious trail map and sign, the start of Ridge Trail.

From here things are signed fairly well and it is easy and fun to ride Ridge and Braille! An additional smaller loop can be made by climbing back up Sulphur Spring instead of returning all the way to the parking lot. This is a steep climb but will allow to ride Braille all over again!

Braille is a blast, if not as long as one might like. There are plentiful features of a variety of sizes and technical difficult, well-built bank turns, and some terrific singletrack. It is entirely downhill and goes fast. Careful through some of the roots, they might catch you if you're not paying attention.

After having some fun on Braille Trail, turn right onto Hihn's Mill Road. Continue for a short distance to Sulphur Springs Rd. Once there, turn right where you'll climb back to the top of the ridge. Once atop the ridge, turn right and ride past Braille Trail. Shortly thereafter, you'll reach Flow Trail, a newly developed experience for the Santa Cruz area.

The trail is fast in some sections but with a continuous grade of probably 4-5% so nothing steep. It is very smooth and doesn't require a full suspension bike. Ridge Trail down to Flow Trail is probably a rougher ride in itself.

Flow Trail features ripping tight turns right out of the gate. You'll then encounter a couple chest high horseshoe berms that really get you going. From there, continue on through sections with long, smooth sight lines and rollers that allow you to pump each corner that comes.

Continuing across the spur roads and Tractor Road pops you into a quick, steep descent into a hard right-hand turn, watch your speed here. By this time your lungs are probably ready to burst but you still have one more section to go! The final portion of trail heads down into some really sweet S berms and more BIG bermed turns.

Finally, you'll be back at Hihn's Mill Road where you'll have to climb back out to the parking lot, or head back to Ridge Trail to do it all over again!

Contacts

Rate Featured Ride


   Clear

4.8 from 38 votes


Get On-Trail Navigation

Send to Phone
Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Jan 11, 2017
Doris Espinales
Jan 9, 2017
Doris Espinales
Dec 26, 2016
Glenford Esty
Dec 22, 2016
Cornelio Ecuacion
perfect weather to get the adrenaline juices "flow"in 19.2mi
Dec 11, 2016
Mark Giles
Nov 23, 2016
Patrick Csongei
EPIC ride. 19.6mi — 2h 51m
Nov 12, 2016
Constantine Krotcov
Nov 7, 2016
Ann Raiho
Did two laps on the flow trail! Such an awesome spot!! 25mi

Stewarded By


Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 38 votes

#3

Overall
  4.8 from 38 votes
1 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
4 Star
18%
5 Star
82%
Rankings

#1

in California

#3

Overall
1,001 Views Last Month
15,672 Since May 13, 2013
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

5%
5%
0%
32%
59%
0%

Conditions


Bad / Closed 3 days ago

Getting forecast...

Great ride! I'm new to the area and haven't had a chance to explore all the trails nearby but this was at the top of my list and I'm really glad I started with it. Unless you plan to shuttle, be prepared for a long but totally doable climb (~40 minute climb up). The ride down is absolutely perfect! Lots of speed and technical sections but also very flowy. The features/stunts along the whole ride are very doable (and optional). Most are small enough to hit on your first run through but the more cautious might want to scope out the landings before committing. Unfortunately, you finish the downhill and have to climb back up to the car lot. It's not nearly as much vertical as the beginning climb but certainly gets the heart pounding again (maybe 20-30 minute climb back to the car). If you can, ride it with someone who is familiar with the area. There are a lot of options on the way up and down. There is almost no cell service there so relying on the app can be dicey. May 12, 2014


Shuttle to the top with www.shuttlesmithadventures.com Try the new Flow trail. Shuttle, Guides, MTB lesson and party bus at your service. (831)234-3383 Jun 3, 2014


Honestly, the climbs are not so bad that you need a shuttle. On the pain-to-smiles ratio I'd say it's about right. Hard enough to make riding Braille and Flow a joy to be relished and not taken for granted. If you are in reasonable good shape you can do both in a single outing. You might take a pretty long nap when you get home, but, hey, that's part of the fun, too! May 15, 2016


MTB Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Mountain Bike

MTB Project is supported by

Support Your Local IMBA Chapter