Summit Road a cool choice in July

One of my favorite trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains at Mount Madonna and Summit Road.

One of my favorite trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains at Mount Madonna and Summit Road.


As I contemplated riding to Santa Cruz, that prospect looked less and less desirable as I approached Summit Road on Old Santa Cruz Highway. It was downright foggy and cool.

I decided to strike south for Summit Road where it would no doubt be warmer — not that I really enjoy taking Summit Road. Then I’d ride down Mount Madonna Road, for 11 miles of dirt.

Summit Road offers little in the way of views overlooking the south valley, or the Pacific Coast for that matter, even though it follows a ridge. There’s a lot of tall brush and hillsides to block vistas.

The road rolls along, never too steep up or down, but it’s a lot of washboard, dust and some gravel. Many people continue building their dream homes up there, all off-grid.

The stretch of pavement down to Mount Madonna Road makes the gnarly dirt worth it as paved Summit makes a beeline downhill at about an 8 percent grade. Last night’s dense fog condensed in the trees, making for wet pavement, but not enough to cause riding issues.

Mount Madonna Road is, as always, smooth dirt but a bit dusty below the redwood tree drip line. I blasted down the paved road (14 percent) to Redwood Retreat Road and then home via Uvas Road, thankful for the lack of any headwind — more like a tailwind.

Loma Prieta Way becomes Loma Prieta Avenue, then Loma Prieta Road at the Summit Road junction.

Loma Prieta Way becomes Loma Prieta Avenue, then Loma Prieta Road at the Summit Road junction.

2 Responses to “Summit Road a cool choice in July”

  1. Stefan Eberle Says:

    Ray, sounds like you can ride Summit Road all the way (via Loma Prieta Way/Ave/Road). Willem and I once a rode up Mount Madonna Road from Redwood Retreat Road and we wanted to head back via Summit Road, but “no bikes” signs towards the end of the paved Summit section scared us off and we ended up descending down west on Mount Madonna Road and heading back via Eureka Canyon Road.

    • Ray Hosler Says:

      Fear not. Those signs are vestiges of the days before 2000 when the superior court ruled the road is public. Anyone can use it, motorcycles, car, bicycles. As dirt roads go, it’s not my favorite.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: