Luke Skywalker never had this much fun. Intermediate and advanced mountain bikers should check out the trails at Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve on the Peninsula. You’ll descend 1,000 feet on Whittemore Gulch Trail’s kick-butt single-track. Negotiating tight turns and racing through a Douglas fir forest will spark memories of the speeder bike–racing scene in Return of the Jedi. No Ewoks, however. The payoff: gorgeous glimpses of Half Moon Bay and, afterwards, a burger and beer next to the fireplace at the Mountain House. Get here now: the trail closes to mountain bikes in the rainy season, usually by late November.
Purisima Creek Details: Park at Purisima parking lot off Skyline Blvd. Follow North Ridge Trail signs. After 3/4 mile, turn left down Whittemore Gulch Trail. Follow Whittemore Gulch Trail down and down about 3 miles. Cross the bridge to the lower parking lot. Take the Purisima Creek trail back up to Highway 35 (Skyline) and take a left back to your car.
The Mountain House, 13808 Skyline Blvd., Woodside, 650-851-8541.
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