Santa Cruz Mountains: Wine and Mountainbiking

I’m a Wellingtonian (New Zealand) off for some travel later on including in some wine places (Piedmont, Burgundy, Loire…). I am also a keen moutainbiker and I take along my bike with me.

I am traveling through the Bay area in late August and will be in SF the weekend of 20-21 August. I would love to catch up with some WBers who are also mtbikers for a ride in some of the better wine and riding country such as the Santa Cruz mountains. Anyone keen for a long off-road ride and some wine tasting? Alternatively, anyone can suggest a good ride through interesting wine country (Big Basin…)?

Thierry (look me up on strava, thierrynz)

If I’m in town I would love to go.

I could be up there “for work”…

let me know when you lock it in. maybe even Mike D would ride as he’s in the hood.

Thanks guys. Will get in touch closer to the dates. I’m booked to arrive in SF on Friday 19th August.
Are you talking about my Wellington Mike D?

No, Mike Dildine in Monterrey area.

Mike moved to Mexico? Even before the election?

I’m not a rider, but if you guys set something up, I could join you for the wine afterward :slight_smile:

A few thoughts:

-There really isn’t any mountain biking (of note) in “wine country.” No mountain biking (that I know of) in Big Basin.

  • You may want to clarify your skill / fitness level as well as your definition of “long” (i.e. does that mean 2 hours or 6 hours?)
    -Assuming at least a moderate level of skill and fitness, the obvious choices from SF are Skeggs Point above Woodside and Soquel Demo Forest above Los Gatos. The former can be fun, but especially on the weekends is kind of a drag with weekend warriors and hikers. The latter is very MTB friendly and has some highly technical trails; they recently opened a flow trail which is a blast. You could easily put together 2-3 hours of solid riding in either place.
    -If you are really hard core, you could head further south to Henry Coe outside Gilroy. It has some world class cross country riding in incredibly rugged and remote terrain. I have ridden single track for 6 hours without seeing another person. That time of year has the potential to be very hot, and safety is a genuine issue, so I wouldn’t advise unless you hook up with a local who knows it well.
    -Finally, if you have a road bike, you can absolutely do some great riding through the SCM wine country and big basin. A nice loop will take you past some combination of Mt Eden, Rhys, David Bruce and through Boulder Creek and Big Basin. Depending on exactly what you do, this would be +/- 75mi and 7-8k feet of climbing.


Saratoga Gap/Long Ridge goes by Rhys and the connections to Stevens Canyon and Montebello OSP go pretty close to Ridge. You can easily reach the wineries from there if you want. The singletrack isn’t quite what it is at Soquel Demo Forest but it’s pretty good.

^^^ strava says he knows the dirt.

Thanks all for feedback and advise and Brig for the endorsement. I’m travelling with my stumpjumper. Can be challenging to be dragging it along in multiple flights but the rewards are fantastic. The first stage will be in Piedmont in a few weeks (that and 16 winery appointments…). I’ve done plenty of MTB in the Layon region (Loire) amongst the vineyards and a bit in the Beaujolais. There must be a thread somewhere about good MTB courses and vineyards… And if anyone needs advise about MTB in NZ (Wellington is quite spectacular) or wine and MTB, let me know

There’s a cycling thread in the asylum forum if you’re looking for more feedback in other areas.

Two of the big mountain biking areas in Santa Cruz County for mountain bikes are both Califormia State Parks. Forest in the Nisene Marks in Aptos have a lot of bikes. Do not know what trails are for hiking vs. biking (I hike there regularly).

Wilder Ranch State Park near Santa Cruz has many bike trails. Do not know details about biking.

Good luck!

Just to say that I will be in Santa Cruz this weekend sans MTB as it was stolen when I was traveling in France.

I plan to hire a bike and do some riding on Saturday and Sunday. Nisene Park seems the likely destination.

I know this is very late in the game for meeting fellow MTBer Berserkers but if anyone is around, I’d be keen to meet up on Sunday night (21 August) for a drink or two and a meal.

I’ve tracked some good MTB courses in the last few weeks in Piedmont (around Castiglione) and in the Coteaux du Layon near Angers. If anyone is interested, I can point you towards the GPS courses for future reference.


Sorry to hear about your bike. As for other WB, try reaching out to Craig Gleason. Not sure if he is around, but he is close to SC and also an avid MTBer. Have fun. [cheers.gif]

Sign up online with and all the routes are displayed. makes searching for new tracks in new areas a snap.