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Monte Bello-Stevens Creek Loop

 16 votes

17.3 Miles 27.8 Kilometers


10%

Singletrack

2,536' 773 m

Ascent

-2,538' -774 m

Descent

2,793' 851 m

High

551' 168 m

Low

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

22%

Max Grade (13°)

All Clear

33 days agoUpdate

Spectacular views of Silicon Valley to the Pacific Ocean with a fun descent through a wooded canyon.

Bob Gardner

Overview

Posted 15 mph speed limits are strictly enforced and rangers are known to use radar guns.
Most of the climbing up Monte Bello "Beautiful Mountain" is on a narrow paved road, with light traffic, that transitions to a fire road for the last couple miles of the 7-mile climb to Black Mountain. After taking in the 360-degree ridge-top views, it's mostly downhill through Stevens Creek Canyon over narrow doubletrack devolving to singletrack before connecting to another paved road to complete the loop.

Need to Know

There is no parking available on Montebello Road and only in designated areas on Stevens Canyon Road.

The Ridge Vineyards is open weekends with picnic tables and wine tasting.

This ride crosses Stevens Creek on the Canyon Trail which should be avoided after heavy rains. A wet-weather option is an out-and-back ride to Black Mountain.

Description

The ride starts at the Lakeshore Picnic Area of Stevens Creek County Park near the junction with Montebello Road. Montebello Road is a narrow paved road that starts climbing immediately as it winds its way up the ridge through a shaded canyon. A couple miles up just past Monte Bello School, the climb eases a bit and views open up over Silicon Valley. Don't be surprised to hear what sounds like a mini-war going on. There's a shooting range near the rock quarry directly below. The road narrows to one lane eventually breaking out of the trees into chaparral and vineyards with more views out over the South Bay.

Just past the Ridge Vineyards is the trailhead for Waterwheel Creek Trail on the left. This old ranch road follows the contours of the ridge through old orchards and vineyards then reconnects with the dirt section of Monte Bello Road farther up. Use this as an alternate route when the trails are dry.

A mile past the Ridge Vineyards the paved road ends at a gate where you enter Monte Bello Open Space Preserve. The fire road starts as broken pavement up to a microwave installation turning into a smooth dirt road for the last couple miles to the top of 2,800-ft Black Mountain, another communication tower site. Enjoy the top-of-the-world views to the east over Santa Clara Valley to Mount Hamilton, south to Mt. Umunhum, and southwest down into Stevens Creek Canyon with Long Ridge and glimpses of the Pacific Ocean beyond.

Continue on Monte Bello Road a short distance turning left at the first junction on Indian Creek Trail which is a smooth fire road that drops steeply into Stevens Creek to connect with the Canyon Trail.

Another slightly longer ride option is to take the first right off of Indian Creek to Old Ranch Trail which runs parallel to Monte Bello Road then left on Bella Vista Trail down to the Canyon Trail.

Head down the Canyon Trail which starts as smooth doubletrack winding and rolling through the trees along Stevens Creek. The trail gets narrower and rougher as it progresses until the second trail junction with the Table Mountain Trail where it becomes singletrack for the last 1-1/2 miles. Just past this junction the trail crosses the creek then continues on the opposite bank to the junction with paved Stevens Canyon Road. Light traffic and mostly downhill, it's a fast ride back to the start.

History & Background

Riding down Stevens Creek on the Canyon Trail, you are directly atop the San Andreas Fault which caused the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 and the devastating Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989. The epicenter of the Loma Prieta Earthquake was just 20 miles away in the hills above Santa Cruz.

Contacts

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   Clear Rating

3.8 from 16 votes


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Check-Ins

Nov 11, 2017
Carlos Quintero
17mi
Jul 15, 2017
Sam Edwards
Jul 15, 2017
Paul Urban
17.3mi
Jul 9, 2017
Chris Griffo
Jul 1, 2017
Alex Reimers
Jul 1, 2017
Charles James
Stevens creek
Jun 4, 2017
jamie portugal
Apr 16, 2017
Marcio Amaral
7.3mi

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Trail Ratings

  3.8 from 16 votes

#1194

Overall
  3.8 from 16 votes
5 Star
31%
4 Star
38%
3 Star
13%
2 Star
13%
1 Star
6%
Rankings

#122

in California

#1,194

Overall
264 Views Last Month
6,488 Since Jan 20, 2016
Intermediate Intermediate

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62%
15%
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Conditions


All Clear 33 days ago

Getting forecast...

If you're looking to actually mountain bike and ride some single track this ride is not for you. There is maybe 5 miles of single track on the whole loop and most of it is paved road and gravel roads, just a heads up for everyone. Steven's Canyon is pretty which is why I gave it the 1 star. Sep 16, 2016

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