This run will start at Java Beach, at the end of the N Judah Muni line. The finish will be Planet Fresh Burritos in Santa Cruz. The route will proceed generally as follows:
We'll head through Fort Funston along trails whenever possible into Pacifica. We'll take the trails through Mori Point and along the ocean to Taco Bell on the beach (great "aid station" / lunch spot / surfer gawking opportunity). From there, we'll head along the shoulder of the North Peak of Montara Mountain (through San Pedro Valley Park) into Montara. The convenience store in Montara is another "aid station". We'll then continue south paralleling Highway 1 on small streets and trails whenever possible into Half Moon Bay. There's a good taqueria there and all services (big grocery stores).
We'll continue south from Half Moon Bay and head up through Purisima Creek Redwoods park to Skyline (big climb). We'll take the trails paralleling Skyline through Huddart and Wunderlich parks, head southwest along Highway 84 past Alice's Restaurant down into La Honda (great bar stop here). From La Honda, we'll head into Sam MacDonald County Park (water, phone, restroom), and take the trails through Pescadero Creek. We'll climb Butano Ridge (big climb) and follow the easement trail into Big Basin Redwoods State Park (water, phone, restroom).
Leaving Big Basin along Highway 236 through Boulder Creek, we'll go up Jamison Grade and Empire Grade (big climb). Dropping down from there, we'll join Wilder Ranch, Pogonip, and Harvey West parks down into Santa Cruz. The finish line will be the entrance to Planet Fresh Burritos.
To return to the start, the Highway 17 Express bus is a fast and convenient way to get to Caltrain in San Jose. Caltrain goes to San Francisco, where the Muni streetcar will take us back to the start.
This is a self-supported "Fat Ass" run. There will be no official aid stations. We will each measure our own times if we feel like it. Some of us may choose to only run part of the course. Some others may choose to volunteer to provide aid stations for us. This is an unofficial run, with no permits, and no organization! Each of us will be running on our own recognizance.
Many of these parks "close" 1/2 hour after sunset. If your pace puts you in violation of any of those rules, that's your responsibility.
The total distance of this course is about 100 miles. Fred ran a very similar course last December, from Oyster Point on the northeastern edge of South San Francisco to Santa Cruz, and measured almost exactly 100 miles, with about 14,000 feet of elevation gain.
This is only an overview of the course. Detailed course maps and elevation profiles will be provided via the mailing list at http://groups.google.com/group/br100. Electronic files and GPS waypoints are available to those who'd like to investigate the route in detail and download waypoints into handheld GPS devices.
Volunteers and loved ones have offered to provide aid to us along the course, and to enable participants to only do part of the run if they prefer. Coordination of who will be where when will be done through the mailing list. One or two campsites may be reserved in Sam MacDonald or Big Basin Redwood parks to give us a comfy place to warm up if needed.
Join the mailing list for more info!
-- Fred Ecks, email@example.com, 415-425-0805
Detailed Course Description
We'll meet at Java Beach, on the corner of Judah and Great Highway in the Outer Sunset district of San Francisco, along Ocean Beach. A convenient way to get there on transit is to take the N Judah streetcar from the Caltrain station or downtown under Market Street. You can get into downtown SF by a wide variety of transit options (e.g. BART), or you can take Caltrain into SF and switch to the N Judah streetcar there. If you'll be driving to the start, it's pretty easy to find street parking on the streets around that area. At the end on Sunday, we'll take the Highway 17 Express bus to San Jose, and Caltrain back to San Francisco. From the Caltrain station, it's easy to get back to the starting point using the N Judah streetcar.
The weather along the ocean is often cool, breezy and foggy. Be ready for anything from sunshine to pouring rain. Java Beach has bagels, muffins, donuts, coffee & espresso drinks, and a variety of other caloric and stimulative substances. Fred will start at 8:00 AM. This is just a friendly training run, so you're welcome to start whenever you feel like it. :-)
SAN FRANCISCO TO PACIFICA (MILE 0-13):
We'll start out heading south (duh!) along the ocean, turning right onto the sandy trails on top of the dunes in Fort Funston. You'll see the trail as you begin to climb after we pass the sewage plant on the left.
The trail climbs up a sandy area which becomes hard-packed dirt as we crest the dunes. Continue south on the trails through Fort Funston, which will eventually take us out to the big parking area and cold war weapons tracking facility there. There are portapotties here, and a water spigot, at about mile 3.2. Top off your water -- next water is in Pacifica, about 7 miles further.
Continue south along Skyline Blvd. There are trails alongside the road for parts of this stretch, but other parts will have us on pavement. If the tide were lower, we could instead use the beach for these miles. It's a beautiful stretch of coastline, but on this day at this time, it's impassable on foot.
At about mile 5.1, turn right on Westridge Ave., followed by an immediate left on Skyline Drive. This parallels Skyline Blvd., but allows us to be on a neighborhood street instead of the main thoroughfare.
At about mile 6.9, turn right off Skyline Drive onto Longview Drive. Continue on Longview as it makes a 90 degree left turn in 3 blocks, and turn right on Rockford Ave. in 2 blocks. Go to the end (1 block) and turn left on Westline Drive. Continue on Westline as it jogs a quick right/left in 2 blocks. Westline will then dead-end into Palmetto Ave. Turn right on Palmetto.
Continue on Palmetto to Esplanade Ave., where we turn right (mile 8.1). About a half mile down Esplanade, the street ends in a left turn onto W. Avalon Drive. INSTEAD of this left, continue straight on the rough trail to wind around back behind the trailer park. Yes, there's a trail there!
Continue around the trailer park and then south on Palmetto Ave. Turn right on Paloma Ave., which dead-ends into Beach Blvd. (mile 9.5). Continue south along the waterfront on Beach Blvd., which becomes a bike path on the sidewalk. There's water and a restroom at the pier (mile 9.8).
From the pier, continue south along the waterfront. The bike path becomes a hard-packed dirt trail towards Mori Point (mile 10.7). Continue on the dirt trail closest to the ocean through beautiful Mori Point down to cross the creek to the waterfront of Rockaway Beach. This little beach is only a few blocks long -- continue on the waterfront along the parking lots to cross the footbridge to the bike path up the next point.
Turn right off the bike path around the first switchback onto a dirt path through the scrub up the sandy hill (be careful of Poison Oak here). Winding over and down this hill can get a little precarious, with one spot where there's a risk of slipping down maybe 20 feet to the water and rocks. Don't do that.
Drop down to the trail along the beach, meeting the bike path in 1/10th mile or so. This bike path goes to Taco Bell on the waterfront at mile 12.7. This is an excellent "aid station", with salty food, water, restrooms, and Safeway and Starbucks in the shopping center across the street.
PACIFICA TO HALF MOON BAY (MILE 13-31):
From Taco Bell, cross Highway 1 and continue southeast on Linda Mar Blvd. past the big shopping center on the right. Turn right on the first street (De Soto Blvd.), and then left on the first street (Montezuma Dr.) to get off the busy street. Turn right after 4 blocks, onto Peralta Rd. Turn right in about 5 blocks onto Rosita Rd. Continue on Rosita a mile or so until it ends at the entrance to San Pedro Valley Park (mile 15.2).
In San Pedro Valley Park, bear right past the entrance kiosk to the parking area and trailhead for the Montara Mountain Trail. There are restrooms and a drinking fountain here.
From the restrooms in the southern parking area, take the Montara Mountain Trail up a few miles of very pleasant single-track to where it meets the fireroad (mile 17.3). Turn right on the fireroad, going downhill nearly 3 miles to the horse stables near Montara State Beach (mile 20.2).
Go through the horse stables, turning left on the little bridge to continue on the trails connecting just east of the small farms to go into the back streets of Montara. We'll reach the north end of Farallone Avenue at 2nd Street at mile 20.9.
Go south on Farallone six blocks to 8th Street. Turn right and go one block to Main Street. There's a small convenience store there (might be 9th Street -- look around, it's obvious). They have a restroom, coffee, microwaveable burritos (lousy quality, but food is food!), and plenty of other munchies. This is our Montara "Aid Station" at mile 21.3.
Go back a block to Farallone and turn right, continuing south. At 14th, Farallone drops us onto the dreaded beast, Highway One (mile 20). BE CAREFUL! Just a few hundred feet down, we bear left again off Highway One, getting onto Carlos Street instead. This takes us into the tiny community of Moss Beach. Turn right on California Avenue, crossing Highway One and continuing until the end of the street (mile 22.7). Turn left at the end onto Lake Street, which drops us into the James V. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. This is a small but pretty place to take in the views.
Wind south through the Marine Reserve to Cypress Avenue, where we turn right and continue to the end (mile 23.3) where the trail begins which takes us south along the bluffs overloooking the ocean. These bluffs are the prime viewing area for the Mavericks surf competition each year -- watch those big rollers out in the ocean break over the offshore shoal that is Mavericks!
Where the bluffs trails meet a paved road at the south end, turn left to go into Pillar Point Harbor (northern Half Moon Bay). We'll meet Princeton Avenue along the waterfront at mile 25.2.
Continue east and south along the waterfront, avoiding Highway One as well as possible. At the end of El Granada Beach (mile 26.9), a waterfront system of streets, trails and multiuse paths begins which generally allows us to continue into central Half Moon Bay without being on Highway One. Without describing each little twist, let's suffice to say we go south as close to the water as possible. It's a very pretty part of this run!
At Beach Avenue (mile 29.0), turn left away from the water, and then right on Pilarcitos Avenue to Kehoe Avenue. Turn left on Kehoe Avenue, and then right on Highway One. Just ahead on the right is a huge Safeway supermarket. This is a fine stop for stocking up for a long night ahead. They have clean restrooms, drinking fountains, cold beer, the works.
Continuing three more blocks south on Highway One, there's Taqueria La Mexicana on the right at 250 South Cabrillo Highway (aka Highway One) (mile 30.4). Their chicken burritos are quite tasty. Last year I ate two of them!
NOTE: Half Moon Bay is the last store and restaurant opportunity we'll encounter before our finish in Santa Cruz some 70 miles later. Stock up here!
HALF MOON BAY TO ALICE'S RESTAURANT (MILE 31-48):
Leaving Taqueria La Mexicana (si amigos, we really must leave that delicious food and blaring Mexican television behind), we go just another block south on Highway One before turning left on Kelly Street. Go up Kelly to Purissima Street, and turn right. This merges with Main Street, bringing us down to Higgins Canyon Road. Turn left on Higgins Canyon Road, and say goodbye to the ocean for today (mile 31.6).
Continue on Higgins Canyon Road a bit over 4 miles to the entrance to Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve. There's a pit toilet here, but no water (mile 35.9).
Take the Purisima Creek Trail upstream and uphill 4 miles to the park entrance and parking lot. There's another pit toilet here, but no water (mile 39.9).
Across Skyline Blvd. from the Purisima Creek parking lot, the Skyline Trail takes us south generally paralleling Skyline on some pleasant single-track. Cross Kings Mountain Road at mile 40.8, continuing on the Skyline Trail. Cross Bear Gulch Road at mile 44.0, and keep on the Skyline Trail. Finally we'll arrive at Stadler Drive at mile 46.7. Turn right on Stadler, which takes us to the intersection of Skyline Blvd. and Highway 84. This is the site of the famed Alice's Restaurant, a popular haunt for insane motorcyclists who terrorize the inhabitants of these backroads every weekend. If we're here early enough, Alice's may be open for a quick bite (mile 47.3).
ALICE'S RESTAURANT TO BIG BASIN REDWOODS STATE PARK (MILE 47-72):
I've tried to find a better route for the next 7 miles, but haven't come up with anything. From Alice's, take Highway 84 west toward La Honda. BE CAREFUL, as the traffic here isn't used to watching for pedestrians and runners at night! These 7 miles take us down into the heart of La Honda, home of the Merry Pranksters, where Ken Kesey and the gang experimented heavily with LSD and other hallucinogens in the late '60s, as written up in Tom Wolfe's _The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Tests_. La Honda is a bit more sedate now, but it's still a very funky little town. The local bar will be open late for those of us who'd like a tipple to help carry us through the night -- you can't miss the place...
Turn left at Pescadero Road (mile 54.1) just outside of downtown La Honda, and turn right again at mile 55.2 to stay on Pescadero instead of ending up on Alpine Road. About another half-mile up Pescadero, enter Sam MacDonald County Park on the right (mile 55.8). Say goodbye to roads for awhile! There's water here, and a nice restroom they don't seem to lock at night. There's also a pay phone (there's no cell service here for most of us).
Take the Towne Fire Trail out past the Hiker's Hut, and turn right on the Pescadero Creek Road (this is a dirt road) at mile 57.3. Continue south on Pescadero Creek Road until turning left on the Old Haul Road (mile 60.0).
About 1/2 mile down the Old Haul Road, turn right on the Butano Ridge Loop trail (mile 60.5). This single-track trail climbs steeply over about 1.4 miles to meet the Butano Ridge fire road at mile 61.9. Turn left here, following the fire road along the ridge.
A few miles on, at mile 64.1, you'll see the other trail branch off down to the left as part of the Butano Ridge Loop. Don't go there! Instead, continue on the Butano Ridge fire road, which leads into the easement allowing us to get into Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
The easement is about 2 miles long, with signs directing us toward Big Basin. Follow those signs, and we'll end up at China Grade Road in Big Basin (mile 66.6).
Get on the Basin Trail, which parallels China Grade Road just down the hill on the right, and follow it about 1.5 miles to the Skyline-to-the-Sea trail (mile 68.1). Turn right (downhill) on SttS, and enjoy the pleasant cruise down into the Big Basin park headquarters (mile 71.7).
Be quiet if you're around the headquarters area at night, as the trails are officially closed at night, and people are sleeping. There's water here, restrooms, a pay phone, and even coin-operated showers for the clean freaks!
BIG BASIN REDWOODS STATE PARK TO WILDER RANCH (MILE 72-93):
Leave the park headquarters on Highway 236 (the only road) towards Boulder Creek. There's a dirt path alongside this road for a bit, and then we're back on pavement again. After a bit under 3 miles, turn right on Little Basin Road. In 1/4 mile when Little Basin Road makes a sharp right, continue straight ahead on what is Bloom Grade Road (mile 74.7).
Bloom Grade Road gets a bit funky as it goes from being a dirt road to just a trail, and then it meets back with paved streets near Boulder Creek, becoming paved again around Yerby Drive (mile 75.8).
Continue on Bloom Grade Road until it dead-ends at Hilltop Court (mile 76.1). Turn left, and continue straight ahead when it merges with W. Hilton Drive. This bends around to the right, eventually putting us back on Highway 236 (mile 76.6).
Turn right on Highway 236, and then turn right again at the next intersection, onto Jamison Grade Road (mile 77.2).
Hopefully we'll still have legs left, as Jamison Grade Road climbs at about a 10% average grade over the next 3 miles to meet Empire Grade Road. Turn left on Empire Grade Road (mile 80.1).
We still have about a mile and a half of climbing on Empire Grade, but it's very gradual now, and then we begin our long descent into Santa Cruz. It's 12.5 miles of pavement, but it's gentle and the traffic is light until we start getting closer to Santa Cruz. Finally, watch for a gate to access the trails of Wilder Ranch State Park, where we turn left onto the Chinquapin Road (mile 92.6).
WILDER RANCH TO PLANET FRESH BURRITOS (MILE 93-99):
Continue on the Chinquapin Road until it comes close to the eastern end of UC Santa Cruz, where we turn left onto the U-Con Trail (mile 94.7). Take this trail down the hill to the Rincon Connector trail, and turn right, away from Highway 9 (mile 95.4).
Continue on the Rincon Trail to the Spring Trail, where we turn right (mile 96.3). Another mile further on, take the Lookout Trail down to the left (mile 97.3). This drops us down to the headquarters of Harvey West Park (mile 97.5). There's water and a restroom here. We can smell the burrito now!
Continue out of the park going east on Encinal Street until it dead-ends into River Street. Turn right (mile 98.0). Continue on River across Highway One, then turn right on N Pacific Avenue (mile 98.6). Go down Pacific to Locust Street (mile 98.8), and turn right. One block away at Locust & Cedar you'll see Planet Fresh Burritos (mile 98.9). Congratulations, you finished! Have a burrito, relax, and look forward to crashing out on the bus to the train to the streetcar back to the start.