Ride Recommendations - ECdM or "Skeggs"

El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve is located up on Skyline Boulevard (Hwy 35), 8.5 miles south of Hwy 92, above the town of Woodside, a lovely 30 minute drive from the shop. It is part of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. When you hear people talking about this preserve, they may call it either EeCeeDeeEm, Skeggs Point, or Skeggs. The correct name is too long for conversation with thirteen syllables, so most people either use the acronym or Skeggs, which is the name of the CalTrans vista point where most people park. This land was logged several times in the past, and then became a motorcycle park run by a group named P.I.T.S. When it was acquired by MROSD in the late 1980s, mountain bikers quickly came to enjoy exploring the feral singlestracks through a redwood forest, so the preserve became very popular at the same time the sport of mountain biking began to really take off. You can see some photos from a recent shop ride at Skeggs if you click here. After over a hundred years of abuse by loggers, ECdM is riddled with old skid trails that have radically altered the land. Second and third growth trees have sprouted and cover these old logging cuts. Unfortunately, they were not created with the environment in mind and they erode rapidly, introducing sediment into the creeks. MROSD is now implementing a watershed protection plan to help improve the creek quality for endangered Steelhead trout that spawn downstream. The plan is to close and restore a number of unsustainable routes, and convert many miles of fireroads into narrow trails. We stand to lose almost all the steeps that were favorite trails for many of us, but we will gain a lot of fun bi-directional singletrack. The preserve is in transition right now, with both winter-time and construction-related trail closures - best to check MROSD website for updates before heading out. Usually Closure-free Ride Suggestion:
On the map above we have only listed a 10 mile ride recommendation that should take you a bunch of fun trails that remain open in all except the wettest of winters. To follow the loop, park at Skeggs Point, by Gate CM02, or Gate CM03, and follow the marked loop in a clockwise direction. Click the green map, or click here, for a printable PDF of the route map. Never been to ECdM? A guy who does professional video shooting took some of his time to connect video with a map (showing location) and contours to give you a feel for what this "usually closure free ride" would be like. Check it out here. Great way to see what the park is all about before you go there. Sound up! Note - this may be only 10 miles, but ECdM has this way of wearing people out. To cut the ride short, you can either climb Gordon Mill or skip the drop down Resolution Trail and instead go the other way on Fir back to the road. You won't be the first to do this, nor the last.

Easier and Harder Ride Suggestion:
For a map without any particular route, but with difficulty ratings to help you pick and chose among all the options, click this map or go here. If you want to do an easy ride, here is a detailed ride suggestion from Patty for a novice rider that offers an easy loop with the option to extend it and taste some of the technical singletrack if you are feeling strong and brave: Alert: One thing to keep in mind is that the trailheads are all at the TOP of the mountain, and you start by descending and have to CLIMB to get out. I call it "credit card" riding because you play first, then have to pay. Also, the only "easy" singletrack is Sierra Morena, and even that has some steep drop offs on the side of it and some roots and rocks in the trail. The ride below starts out easy with a little sample of singletrack to test your skills. If you pass the test, keep riding, if not you'll be back at the car and can bail out gracefully. This is really important if you are trying to bring a beginner here to try mountain biking. Being able to bail on a "bad ride" is one way to save your relationship, and keep the door open to trying mountain biking another time, so keep that in mind.

Park at gate CM02 (about 1/2 mile south of Skeggs). Do not leave valuables in the car. 1. Ride Sierra Morena Trail south (left) to CM04, stopping along the way to check out the view from the top of the meadow just south of the Gordon Mill Fireroad at gate CM03. If you have enjoyed the ride so far, you can do the rest of the ride to #7a below. If you were not able to enjoy this section of the singletrack from CM02 to CM03, then the trails in this preserve will just be too difficult for you and you can bail out now (I recommend riding on the road back to your car, loading up and heading south to ride Russian Ridge or Monte Bello Open Space Preserves up on the skyline area, or dropping down into Palo Alto to ride the Arastradero Preserve instead). 2. Retrace your steps and go back to CM02. If you are happy about the ride so far, you have enough skill to keep going. Continue north on Sierra Morena, climbing up to the Fir Fireroad. 3. Turn right and take Fir through a gate and go down the paved road to gate CM01. Turn left onto the Tafoni Fireroad. 4. Surf down and up the Tafoni Fireroad, taking care to slow down on the blind turns. Climb up to a 4-way junction. 4. Turn right. This is still Tafoni. Follow the fireroad down a couple hundred yards to a trailhead for the Tafoni sandstone formation on your right. 5. Carry your bike in a ways on the singletrack and lean it against a tree, and walk down the hiking-only trail to the Tafoni sandstone formation. Say "Oooohh, cool!" about 4 or 5 times. Walk back up to your bike, and retrace your steps back to the 4-way junction. 6. Go straight across this time, and climb on the Fir Fireroad up to a three-way junction. 7. Decide how much more riding you want to do. If you are a total beginner, or if you have had about enough, 7a. turn left on Fir and climb up to Sierra Morena, turn right and descend back to your car. For beginner riders, I highly recommend ending before you get too tired. If that was not enough, come back again and do more on your next ride. 7b. if not enough, and everyone in the group is willing and able to try a challenge, turn right and descend a short distance down to a 4-way intersection and continue straight ahead on the Manzanita Trail. 8. Manzanita is a technically challenging singletrack trail that crosses some standstone bedrock and descends steeply in places with switchbacks and short, steep, bumpy descents. Advanced beginners and intermediate level riders who are comfortable on singletrack will be able to ride a lot of it but will also definitely walk some of it. The hike-a-bike sections are short and the trail is pretty so it's not so bad when you're walking. If you do try to ride the harder parts, remember to be gentle on the front brake when dropping off steps and roots and rocks, and keep your weight back and look ahead. Enjoy the view to the south in the middle of the manzanita. 9. At the bottom of Manzanita, turn left and descend a short distance down Timberview Fireroad to the next junction with Crosscut trail on the right. 10. Decide how much more riding you want to do. If you've had enough, or hated how hard Manzanita was to ride, 10a. continue straight ahead on Timberview and climb back up to your car at CM02. 10b if not, turn right on Crosscut Trail, ride a short distance and turn left on Cross Over Trail. Cross Over is a little like Manzanita. It drops quickly, is narrow, and has a lot of little technical sections you might decide not to ride. Advanced beginners and intermediate level riders should be able to ride a lot of it. 11. At the bottom of Cross Over, turn left on Gordon Mill Fireroad and climb up to gate CM03. Turn left on Sierra Morena and climb a little bit more back to your car at CM02. 12. To finish your ride, ride out the gate and cross the highway, and turn right, following the shoulder of the road about 50 yards. You will see the trailhead for the Methuselah tree. Go in there and check it out. Give it a hug while you're there, then back to your car, load up and you're done! If you do the whole ride, it is about 8.5 miles, with about 1700 feet of climbing. The short ride without doing Manzanita would have about 900 feet of climbing. If you want a long, tough ride and the trails are open (many of these are closed during winter), a loop that hits most of the good singletrack and includes some tough climbing snakes around the whole park counter-clockwise like this: from gate CM02 go north and follow the trails in this order: Sierra Morena, Fir, Resolution, ECdM, North Leaf, South Leaf, Virginia Mill, Lawrence Creek, Blue Blossom, Spring Board, Gordon Mill, Cross Over, Cross Cut, Timberview, Manzanita, Fir, Sierra Morena, CM02 will tire out all except the extremely fit, yet still leave big grins on your face. For slightly less epic, we recommend climbing out on Gordon Mill after Blue Blossom as it's the fireroad with the easiest grade and Manzanita is a tough climb. Use the map with the trail ratings for help, noting the difficult singletrack trails (solid lines) and the easier fireroads (dashed lines). Directions to ECdM:
ECdM is above the town of Woodside on Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35) between Highway 92 and Woodside Road (Highway 84).
- Click here for a Google Map.
- From the north, go up Highway 92 to Skyline Blvd. Make a left onto Southbound Skyline and go for about 8.5 miles. Skeggs point is the vista point on the left hand side of the road - you'll see a rock retaining wall there. You'll also see a no left turn sign, which you should abide by. Drive about a quarter mile further (to where the road straightens out) to the pull outs, and make a U-turn and return to the parking lot.
- From the south, Take Highway 84 (Woodside Road) west to the "SkyLonda" intersection with Skyline Blvd (Highway 35). Turn right onto Skyline Blvd, and take it north for about 4 miles. The Skegg's Point parking lot is on the right and is labeled with signs saying "Vista Point". You can also park outside of gate CM02 or gate CM03 for the recommended loop. Enjoy! "Back to Home Page Page":http://www.passiontrailbikes.com