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      08-13-2017, 09:35 AM   #1
wjk_glynn
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SF Bay Area - Best driving roads for a Sunday morning blast?

Hi folks,

For those living in the SF Bay Area, can you share your favorite driving roads to take on an early Sunday morning blast, and why?

I've been assembling a list of the ones I like:
.
  • Since I live in San Jose, it's biased towards South Bay roads
  • But I'm always on the lookout for new ones anywhere in the Bay Area
  • So please share

As regards what's been captured, it's grouped as follows:
.
  1. Roads I've personally driven
  2. Recommendations from other people
  3. Other websites with similar information/recommendations

And for reference, the lists were last updated as of: May 15, 2018


Karl's List

My list tends to be partial to roads with:
.
  • Minimal residential (don't want to attract attention)
  • Reasonably good road surface (most of our cars, and certainly mine, don't have long suspension travel)
  • High work rate (i.e. plenty of corners/mile to keep you busy)
  • But with decent sightlines (not overly tight or too many blind corners, has space for oncoming traffic)
  • You can make decent pace
  • And you can enjoy without going crazy/dangerous/illegally fast...

Note: To enjoy these roads, you need to be there at the crack-of-dawn, so as to find them mostly empty. I typically get up ½ hour before sunrise and head over to them. If you leave it to later in the morning, you'll be inundated with cyclists/traffic/etc., which can be frustrating.


Outstanding
.
Enjoyable
.
  • Roads orientated around Alice's Restaurant (well known weekend hangout for bikers across the area):
    • Skyline Blvd. (Hwy-35) from Hwy-92 down to Black Road: https://goo.gl/maps/M6XXQkjDHf12 (~32 miles)
      • You get a nice down from Hwy-92, past Alice's, and down to Black Road
      • But south of Black Road, it gets to tight and bumpy for my liking
    • Saratoga to Alice's Restaurant (begins as you cross Sanborn Creek) - https://goo.gl/maps/151F12wL1uA2 (~18 miles)
      • Great run up from the South Bay
    • Woodside to Alice's Restaurant - https://goo.gl/maps/utQnubCn3NJ2 (~4 miles)
      • From once you get past Woodside, you climb up to Alice's Restaurant
      • That section is great, the only downside is that it's very short
    • Alice's Restaurant out to the San Gregorio General Store - https://goo.gl/maps/3VgGrSxpTdF2 (~14 miles)
    • Pescadero Creek Road (at the coast) back up to Alice's Restaurant - https://goo.gl/maps/DUcTuAKrZXt (~22 miles)
      • From the coast (Hwy-1), take Pescadero Creek east and rejoin Hwy-84, and then east to Alice's Restaurant
      • Pescadero Creek itself is nice, though there's more residents along it than some of the other routes
      • Could be part of a loop that includes hitting the San Gregorio General Store on Hwy-84 (see above)
  • Empire Grade (Lockheed Martin to/from Santa Cruz) - https://goo.gl/maps/gq3metdHYks (~17 miles)
    • Either up to, or down from the Lockheed Martin Space Systems facility to the outskirts of Santa Cruz
    • Nice road with good surface conditions
    • Reminds me of Skyline Blvd. (Hwy-35)
  • Metcalf Rd. / San Felipe Rd. to Silvercreek - https://goo.gl/maps/yY8MZwY74sR2 (~9 miles)
    • Initially it's tight and bumpy as you climb up to the Motorcycle County Park
    • But it opens up once you get past that park, especially when you reach San Felipe Rd.
    • The only downside is that it's relatively short
    • There's a 2-mile detour down where San Felipe Rd. branches to Las Animas Rd., and then down to the old Pratt & Whitney (United Technologies) rocket-motor test site. That short detour dead-ends at: https://goo.gl/maps/jCA1oMcj8jK2
  • Hecker Pass through Mt. Madonna County Park - https://goo.gl/maps/nmg3VuTR3Vo (~8 miles)
    • Short, but a very nice run

Mixed Bag

Roads with pros & cons...
.
  • From New Almaden down around Almaden Quicksilver County Park (passing Guadalupe & Almaden Reservoirs) - https://goo.gl/maps/wzBpUny7Lhm (~9 miles)
  • Hwy-236 / Big Basin / Boulder Creek - https://goo.gl/maps/N68nmyEFcnN2 (~17 miles)
    • Northern-half runs though Big Basin Redwoods State Park
      • It's very beautiful/scenic
      • And has a great road surface after being recently resurfaced
      • However, that northern-half is very narrow
        • It's effectively single lane on many stretches
        • Thus there's no room for (and you're often blind to) oncoming traffic
        • You need to keep your pace way down for reasons of basic safety
      • But for a slow paced drive, this section is very pretty
    • Southern-half below the park opens up and is similar to Hwy-9 (also close by)
      • You can more easily stretch your legs in this section...
  • Bailey / McKean / Uvas / Watsonville Rd. to Hwy-152 - https://goo.gl/maps/EfJSBsi9ksL2 (~17 miles)
    • Starts near the IBM Research Lab in Almaden, and continues down to the Hecker Pass Hwy (152)
    • Road surface is more bumpy than expected (though not terrible), and the work rate (i.e. number of corners) is low
    • Upside is that once you get to Hwy-152, you're near the start the quite excellent Hecker Pass - https://goo.gl/maps/nmg3VuTR3Vo
    • So it's a decent, but not great back road...

Tight & Bumpy

Not my favorite type of road. But it's important to note that others have recommended some of these roads. So they may or may not appeal to you depending on your preferences...
.
  • Bear Creek Rd. - https://goo.gl/maps/6sGMphDydcS2 (~13 miles)
    • From Hwy-17 to Boulder Creek
    • Reasonably okay route
    • But I find it overly tight and bumpy in places to really enjoy
  • Tunitas Creek Rd. - https://goo.gl/maps/hx2mdUe6DiA2 (~9 miles)
    • From Hwy-1 on the coast, back up to Skyline Blvd. (Hwy-35)
    • It's very bumpy and tight in some places, suspension needs plenty of travel
    • Would be fun in a Rally Car...
  • Page Mill Rd. / Alpine Rd. - https://goo.gl/maps/eCPr4CncWpn (~14 miles)
    • Recommended by spxxx on M3 Post / 1addicts
    • I found it similar in character to Bear Creek Rd.

Can't Recommend
.
  • Sierra Rd. to Old Calaveras Rd. - https://goo.gl/maps/4yyMpgfxKWs (~12 miles)
    • Crazy tight (some parts single lane) and quite bumpy in places
    • Not really that great...


Others' Recommendations

From Rennlist members:
.
Recommendations from M3 Post/1addicts members:
.

Other Websites

With similar types of information/recommendations...
.

Karl.
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Last edited by wjk_glynn; 05-15-2018 at 09:15 PM.
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      08-13-2017, 10:47 PM   #2
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Nice! I think mt. Hamilton is the best for a sunday morning drive.
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      08-14-2017, 01:51 PM   #3
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Well Laguna Seca is a good start... lol

Alpine Road is an amazing hill climb type of road. Not super smooth but amazing views and switch backs. Might go for a drive today.
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      08-15-2017, 02:04 PM   #4
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Added Alpine Road to the top post...
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      08-24-2017, 06:44 PM   #5
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Uvas Road/Oak Glen Road/Willow Springs Rd (short but can connect to Metcalf and San Felipe...towards dead end)
Hwy 25 (Hollister to Coalinga...long but barely any cars/cops)
Point Reyes (long but secluded)
Hwy1 towards Stinson beach
Redwood road in Castro Valley
Lake Berryessa

I like to go when it rains...not too many people on the road
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      08-26-2017, 06:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1mang View Post
Uvas Road/Oak Glen Road/Willow Springs Rd (short but can connect to Metcalf and San Felipe...towards dead end)
Hwy 25 (Hollister to Coalinga...long but barely any cars/cops)
Point Reyes (long but secluded)
Hwy1 towards Stinson beach
Redwood road in Castro Valley
Lake Berryessa
Thanks 1mang. Have I got the routes correctly marked?

Note that the Point Reyes, Stinson Beach and Redwood Road areas have closed roads until October. Will have to wait until they reopen before Google Maps will let me create a directions-link (otherwise it tries to route you around).

Karl.
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      08-28-2017, 02:01 PM   #7
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See my edits below

Quote:
Originally Posted by wjk_glynn View Post
Thanks 1mang. Have I got the routes correctly marked?

Note that the Point Reyes, Stinson Beach and Redwood Road areas have closed roads until October. Will have to wait until they reopen before Google Maps will let me create a directions-link (otherwise it tries to route you around).

Karl.
https://www.google.com/maps/dir/36.9...e67d0e!1m0!3e0
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      08-28-2017, 08:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1mang View Post
See my edits...
Thanks.

I'll work on updating the top post this weekend.

Karl.
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      09-02-2017, 01:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1mang View Post
See my edits below...
Hi 1mang,

Thanks for confirming the following:

But you've given two different links for roads around Uvas, down to Watsonville, etc.
  1. https://www.google.com/maps/dir/36.9...67d0e!1m0!3e0r
  2. https://www.google.com/maps/dir/36.9...e67d0e!1m0!3e0

Apologies but I'm not exactly sure what you're differentiating between them?

Thanks.

Karl.

PS: I'm planning to take run down Uvas to Watsonville tomorrow based on your recommendation...
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      09-03-2017, 07:22 PM   #10
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Added...

Karl.
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      09-05-2017, 01:30 PM   #11
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No one has listed kings mountain road? It is slightly residential in some parts. Biggest issue is the number of cyclists but on certain days it's very clear. It's an excellent road and very technical. Empire grade is also pretty good but it's hard to get out to for someone like me who is further up the peninsula.

I like kings mountain more than page mill or alpine. It's not obscenely long and when you get stuck behind someone on pagemill you're never gonna get past them. And you're on that road for a whiiiile.

Pescadero creek road is my favorite that I've found. You can go fast on that road legally and 15mph over is plenty of fun. (It's 55mph on what is normally 25-30 in other parts)

There is a part that is 25mph but that's only for 1-2 miles.
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      09-05-2017, 01:48 PM   #12
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This guy has a video of him running a nice road around the Golden Gate. It's somewhere on his channel. I'll just drop this as an intro...

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      09-05-2017, 02:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wjk_glynn View Post
Hi 1mang,

Thanks for confirming the following:

But you've given two different links for roads around Uvas, down to Watsonville, etc.
  1. https://www.google.com/maps/dir/36.9...67d0e!1m0!3e0r
  2. https://www.google.com/maps/dir/36.9...e67d0e!1m0!3e0

Apologies but I'm not exactly sure what you're differentiating between them?

Thanks.

Karl.

PS: I'm planning to take run down Uvas to Watsonville tomorrow based on your recommendation...
Sorry use the second one. Is it worth it? Let me work it. You can flip it and reverse it. (sorry I had Missy Elliott song stuck in my head).
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      09-05-2017, 02:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Wind Breezes View Post
This guy has a video of him running a nice road around the Golden Gate. It's somewhere on his channel. I'll just drop this as an intro...

This looks like Hwy9 up Saratoga
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      09-05-2017, 03:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1mang View Post
This looks like Hwy9 up Saratoga
Yeah, the SF vid is on his channel but as an outsider I think they all qualify as bay area.
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      09-05-2017, 05:22 PM   #16
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Quote:
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This guy has a video of him running a nice road around the Golden Gate...
That is ridiculously dangerous/illegal driving.
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      09-09-2017, 03:39 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1mang View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by wjk_glynn View Post
...But you've given two different links for roads around Uvas, down to Watsonville, etc.
  1. https://www.google.com/maps/dir/36.9...67d0e!1m0!3e0r
  2. https://www.google.com/maps/dir/36.9...e67d0e!1m0!3e0
...use the second one...
Done. And here's the shortened version of #2: https://goo.gl/maps/DKapg9P7a4w...
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      09-16-2017, 03:10 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TridenTBoy View Post
No one has listed kings mountain road? It is slightly residential in some parts... It's not obscenely long...
Is this the section ?

https://goo.gl/maps/FWTjvL1qCDs

Looks pretty, and road surface seems good (per Google Street View).

But it's only 3½ miles long, once you're past the Woodside residential area...

Thanks.

Karl.
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      09-16-2017, 11:43 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wjk_glynn View Post
Is this the section ?

https://goo.gl/maps/FWTjvL1qCDs

Looks pretty, and road surface seems good (per Google Street View).

But it's only 3½ miles long, once you're past the Woodside residential area...

Thanks.

Karl.
Yes. That's the section. It's a good 3.5 miles though and it's not much high speed. If you're able to get over 60mph on that road you're probably going too fast. You can easily hit 80mph on the straights if you're committed but it's just not a smart move. Going down it, my brakes will turn into smoke stacks. I think it's a good road to hit before going onto skyline or what not. You go through Woodside to kings mountain and then turn left onto skyline to head towards Alice's. It's a good 5-7 miles and then you can decide where to go.
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      09-17-2017, 08:02 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TridenTBoy View Post
Yes. That's the section.
Thanks. I added it to the top post...
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      09-24-2017, 09:42 PM   #21
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Drove this road today:

Based on this Rennlist member's recommentation:

Karl.
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      10-15-2017, 11:43 PM   #22
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