OTE Ratings: O8/T6/E8
Distance: 10-25 miles
Time: 2-6 hours
An option here is a 90 degree left turn -- its exact location is hard to specify, but it leads to a crossing back over the creek, and some real nice forest singletrack. Some confusing trails head off to the left up the hill, but the correct one leads eventually back to the creek, crosses it again, and goes on up to the steel bridge.
Past the bridge, you stay on the road, pass the uppermost car-parking area, pass a gate, and go on up "the Incline" (600' of climbing in 1/3 of a mile), then a mellower climb, up to "Sand Point Overlook" (1600' elevation). Here, you have 3 choices ... turn around and go home, go down Hinkley Ridge trail, or go on up to Santa Rosalia Mountain.
Hinkley takes you down a fun dirt road (watch out for the water bars across the road!), past 3 or 4 stream crossings (Soquel Creek), out to Olive Springs Road (turn left onto it). From here you have either a fairly flat, 6-mile road ride to return to your car (take Olive Springs down to Soquel- San Jose Road, turn left onto it, and then turn left at the light at Soquel Drive), or you could go back up Hinkley road.
In case you go on up from Sand Point Overlook: some people call the road above Sand Point Overlook "The Ladder" or "The Steps" -- it gets steep, then flatter, then steep, and so on. At 2.4 miles above Sand Point, look for the short singletrack on the right. It goes out about 150', to a spot with a wonderful view of Monterey Bay & Salinas Valley. There's a couple of welcome downhills just before the top; at the top ("Santa Rosalia Mountain Overlook" -- 2500' elevation) there is another nice view out over the Monterey Bay.
At the top, you're near the northern edge of Nisene Marks Park; it adjoins the "Soquel Demonstration Forest" here. There are several options for how to proceed from here (see the Soquel Demonstration Forest writeup). Usually, I just feel like heading back down the hill.
©1995-2015 Doug Landauer
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