This ride starts at the Stanyan Street entrance; however this trail system can be accessed by several other trailheads. To reach Stanyan Trailhead, follow Stanyan to 17th Street and look for the wooden staircase that leads up to the trailhead on your right.
The first 0.9 miles of this ride heads out on the Historic Trail
, steadily climbing over some technical sections of slippery roots and rock gardens that can be a bit challenging for novice riders. After a few switchbacks through the Interior Greenbelt, you'll reach a paved road called Medical Center Way about 0.5 miles into the ride. Cross over to the other side of this road to continue the climb up the Historic Trail
The climb up this section of the trail is considerably less technical than the first section, and should make for an easygoing climb through eucalyptus trees complete with astonishing views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.
In a little over a half mile, you'll arrive at a trail junction. Turn left here toward The Summit on the South Ridge Trail
to reach Nike Road and finish the climb up to Mount Sutro's Summit.
Now you're ready for some downhill action. There are two options from the summit. North Ridge Trail
on your left, and East Ridge Trail
on your right. As of 02/19/18 the upper section of East Ridge is closed for repairs.
Take the North Ridge Trail
for your initial descent.
North Ridge is a quick and relatively easy descent, but there are a few sharp turns that sneak up on you so stay aware, and keep your speed under control. At the end of this trail, you'll find yourself back on Medical Center Way, follow this to the trail junction on the left so you can take the second half of Historic Trail
back up to the summit the same way as before.
Once back at the summit, it's time for the ultimate descent. East Ridge Trail
offers a more technical descent than North Ridge Trail
, but as I mentioned earlier East Ridge is currently closed (if it's open when you ride, you should definitely take it).
We got creative, and found a way to catch the second half of East Ridge on the way down. Start down the North Ridge Trail
the same as before, but this time about 0.1 miles down the trail, hang a right onto Mystery Trail
to make your way over to the second half of East Ridge. Follow East Ridge down to a paved road called Johnston Drive and ride downhill to the gravel driveway on your left to pick up on the Fairy Gates Trail
. Take the Fairy Gates Trail
to where it meets the first segment of the Historic Trail
and enjoy your final descent back to where you started at 17th & Stanyan.