Return to Stevens Canyon

A tree down on Canyon Trail. I forgot my saw.

A tree down on Canyon Trail. I forgot my saw.

Looking for a more mellow ride today under sunny skies and summer-like temperatures, I headed up Hwy 9 and then north on Skyline.

I checked out the trail entrance across from Horseshoe Lake (MB06), but I could tell that goes into a ravine and I was in no mood for climbing back out. It’s also closed for seasonal mud.

So I rode on Page Mill Road and decided to try the entrance across from Alpine Road (MB04). I stayed along the upper ridge, which was nice enough single-track and not steep. It took me over to the parking lot for Monte Bello and Stevens Canyon, which MROSD calls Canyon Trail.

The 0.3-mile single-track down to Stevens Canyon Road is gnarly enough for a mountain bike. I stopped to admire the sag pond, a unique geological feature of the San Andreas Fault. It’s hard to believe that one of the most dangerous fault lines resides right here.

As I made my way on the 4.3-mile road, it brought back some memories of past rides back in the day when we rode sew-ups on the rocky stuff. Despite the tires, we had few problems. I also remembered the two nasty steep climbs prior to the big descent that always take you by surprise.

Given all the bike traffic this road sees, it’s in fine shape. I enjoyed the wide, flat sections and gentle descents, of which there are quite a few. About two miles down I came across a dead oak tree on the trail. It looked like it had fallen recently. You just don’t want to be under it when it happens. That’s a more likely occurrence than meeting a mountain lion.

I did see a giant wild turkey though. It looked to be twice the size of all the wild turkeys I had ever seen.

When I got to the last single-track where the road disappears I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to ride. The single-track enters an opening where Stevens Creek runs through a flat, sandy spot. When I reached the creek I was reminded of Keith’s Folly. This time there was plenty of water flowing and I could see how it might present an obstacle on a road bike as the tires sink into the soft bottom.

It’s good to see this ride can still be done, and on a nice spring day it had just the right mellow.

Stevens Creek, the scene of Keith's Folly, with plenty of water.

Stevens Creek, the scene of Keith’s Folly, with plenty of water.

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