Yodeling, whooping, yipping…they’re all appropriate when mountain biking through some seriously fun singletrack in the South Bay’s Saratoga Gap. The area is a beacon for bikers of all abilities, offering loads of options. The route we like is a 10-mile partial loop that’s great for intermediate mountain bikers. This high-flying ride zips across ridge tops and opens to views of the Santa Cruz Mountains all the way to the Pacific. For a pedal-power mashup, combine Saratoga Gap and Long Ridge Open Space: You’ll dart across exposed golden-brown hilltops before coasting through quiet redwood forests. Beginners might be intimidated by some of the initial root and rock sections (hike-a-bike is always an option!), but it’s the type of ride that raises your abilities—and bragging rights—to the next level. Big wheels keep on turning….
TIP: Would you like to see a ridge top trail that encircles the entire Bay? The Bay Area Ridge Trail Council would! Check out its Web site to learn more about developing a 550-mile trail for hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians.
Check the Long Ridge Open Space Preserve Web site for information on trail closures in the rainy season. Park at the Saratoga Gap vista point at the corner of Hwy. 9 (Big Basin Way) and Hwy 35 (Skyline Blvd.). Start on the Saratoga Gap Trail on the north side of Hwy 9. After 2 miles cross Hwy. 35 and pick up Hickory Oaks Trail. After .25 mile, turn left to follow the singletrack–it veers back onto the fire road after .25 mile. At 3 miles in, go right at the fork with Ward Rd. to stay on the trail to Long Ridge Rd. Continue on Long Ridge as it merges with Ward. You’ll pass two intersections to Peters Creek Trail, then turn right on the third intersection. (Notice Peters Creek Trail on the right, this is where the partial loop will drop you off.) At 3.7 miles in, Long Ridge becomes a nice singletrack descent. At 4.5 miles in, you’ll cross the second Peters Creek Trail intersection; keep going straight on Long Ridge. At. 5.2 miles in, go right to get onto Peters Creek Trail. This takes you back up to Long Ridge where you return the way you came.