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SF Bay Area - Best driving roads for a Sunday morning blast?

Old 07-04-2017, 11:20 PM
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wjk_glynn
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Default SF Bay Area - Best driving roads for a Sunday morning blast?

Hi folks,

Following is a compilation of driving roads for an early Sunday morning blast (and a few to possibly avoid). Recommendations are from either:
.
  1. My personal experience
  2. Or recommendations from various members on either Rennlist, M3 Post or 1addicts

To enjoy many of these roads, you often need to be out there at the crack-of-dawn so as to find them mostly empty. If you leave it to later in the day, you'll frequently be inundated with cyclists/traffic/etc. That's just a fact of life when living in the SF Bay Area...

As regards my personal preferences, I'm 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-per-mile to keep you busy)
  • Decent sightlines (not overly tight or too many blind corners, has space for oncoming traffic)
  • You can make and enjoy a decent pace without going crazy/dangerous/illegally fast...

They're grouped by region as follows:
  • North Bay
  • East Bay
  • South Bay / Santa Clara County
  • Santa Cruz Mountains & County
  • Peninsula / San Mateo County
  • Points further away from the SF Bay Area (North, East and South)

If you've any recommendations of your own that should be added to this list, please post in this thread with sufficient detail so that people know the exact route.

And for reference, the following was last updated as of: November 24, 2018

North Bay
East Bay
South Bay / Santa Clara County
Santa Cruz Mountains & County
  • Hwy-9 from Saratoga to Boulder Creek (begins as you cross Sanborn Creek) - https://goo.gl/maps/vSH183Lrfxq (~18 miles)
    • Beautiful sweeping run down through the Redwoods, doesn't get much better than this
    • Matt Farah reviewed an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio as part of his signature 'One Take' series on this road - YouTube
  • 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...
    • Recommended by SLVRon
  • 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
  • Empire Grade (Lockheed Martin to/from Santa Cruz) - https://goo.gl/maps/gq3metdHYks (~17 miles)
  • Bonny Doon Rd - https://goo.gl/maps/uzWYL5o2qBu (~7 miles)
  • Soquel San Jose Rd - https://goo.gl/maps/NAPo78oLx6B2 (~10 miles)
    • The road itself is quite nice (good surface, nice flowing corners in good few places)
    • Downside is that there's more residential along it than I like
  • Hecker Pass through Mt. Madonna County Park - https://goo.gl/maps/nmg3VuTR3Vo (~8 miles)
    • Short, but a very nice run
  • Felton Empire Rd - https://goo.gl/maps/fHcAcU1Wo4y (~3 miles)
    • Recommended by ylk1
  • Run up from Hwy-1 to Bonny Doon, over to Felton, up Hwy-9 to Saratoga - https://goo.gl/maps/7RMCUFudtYT2 (~41 miles)
    • Recommended by ylk1

Peninsula / San Mateo County
  • 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 Rd: https://goo.gl/maps/M6XXQkjDHf12 (~32 miles)
      • You get a nice down from Hwy-92, past Alice's, and down to Black Rd
      • But south of Black Rd, it gets too 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 Rd (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)
      • Recommended by r6elmo
  • 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...
  • Swett Rd / Star Hill Rd to Tunitas Creek - https://goo.gl/maps/axeXoGfqTFL2 (~1 miles)
  • Alpine Rd. (from Page Mill side through to Hwy-84) - https://goo.gl/maps/eCPr4CncWpn (~14 miles)
    • Recommended by spxxx
    • I found it similar in character to Bear Creek Rd. in Santa Cruz County
  • Stage Rd / Cloverdale Rd past Butano State Park - https://goo.gl/maps/hhhkczAw8dU2 (~17 miles)
  • Lobitos Creek Rd - https://goo.gl/maps/S75AiszFx2p (~4 miles)
  • From the Dam bisecting Crystal Springs Reservoir down to Saratoga avoiding the highway - https://goo.gl/maps/GXEHddo64522 (~34 miles)
    • Ca˝ada Rd / Mountain Home Rd / Portola Rd / Alpine Rd / Arastradero / Page Mill / Arastradero (again) / Purrisima
    • And then surface streets to Foothill Expressway, and then down to Saratoga
    • Recommended by jnolan
  • Kings Mountain Rd. - https://goo.gl/maps/FWTjvL1qCDs (~4 miles)

Points further away from the SF Bay Area
Karl.

PS: Other sites with similar information/recommendations...
.

Last edited by wjk_glynn; 11-24-2018 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 07-05-2017, 12:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Karl Glynn View Post
Outstanding:
Hey Karl,


The road that comprises the majority of my daily commute is at the top of the list. Given that I've driven it daily for most of the last ten years (with some time on Bear Creek - which I normally use for runs to SJC), I'll add some further comments -


* Avoid on the weekend unless you are happy to get out there at first light
* Watch for a few random off camber turns near the peak on the Santa Cruz side
* Deer are always a possibility, so as my old IAM handbook says, being able to stop in the distance you can see clear is always prudent
* I've seen one car on it's roof to date...
* While we all want to enjoy the road, be nice to those who are perhaps new to it and are more comfortable a few mph below the speed limit

GoPro video I shot a couple of years ago on Hwy 9 -


Hope to see you out there some time.


Ron.

Last edited by SLVRon; 07-05-2017 at 12:34 AM. Reason: link added to video
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Old 07-05-2017, 12:29 AM
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Inasmuch as there are no longer any paved roads in California I recommend you drive today to a morning start in Nevada, Oregon or Mexico where there are paved roads.
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Old 07-05-2017, 01:03 AM
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Originally Posted by FLT951 View Post
Inasmuch as there are no longer any paved roads in California I recommend you drive today to a morning start in Nevada, Oregon or Mexico where there are paved roads.
The entire length of Hwy236 (arguably even better than Hwy9) was resurfaced last year, and survived the storms imtact. But let's keep that our secret😉
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Old 07-05-2017, 04:56 AM
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Karl, thanks for starting this great thread. Appreciate you and everyone sharing..
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by SLVRon View Post
Originally Posted by Karl Glynn View Post
Outstanding:
The road that comprises the majority of my daily commute is at the top of the list.
You lucky dog!

Originally Posted by SLVRon View Post
The entire length of Hwy236 (arguably even better than Hwy9) was resurfaced last year, and survived the storms imtact...
Ahh, must give it another shot.

Originally Posted by vg247 View Post
Karl, thanks for starting this great thread. Appreciate you and everyone sharing..
NP. Do you have any particular favorites?


Thanks.

Karl.
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Old 07-06-2017, 02:56 AM
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NP. Do you have any particular favorites?


Thanks.

Karl.[/QUOTE]

Karl,

I've only done the Metcalf to Silvercreek and Alice's routes. Will have to try the two top of the list drives.

I'm based out of Santa Clara, and again this is most appreciated, especially your criterias are perfectly in line with mine for a drive.

Cheers and many thanks.
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Old 07-06-2017, 09:32 PM
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CA-84 out to the coast.
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Old 07-07-2017, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by V2Rocket View Post
CA-84 out to the coast.
Yup, here's what I think is the best leg of that run:
Karl.

Last edited by wjk_glynn; 08-26-2017 at 07:43 PM. Reason: Replaced the Porsche GTS microsite link with a Google Maps link
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Old 07-07-2017, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Karl Glynn View Post
Yup, here's what I think is the best leg of that run:
Karl.
I'm heading out there to go camping with my family at Memorial Park today.

Unfortunately my 911 is on order, so we're driving the SUV instead. Not quite the same driving experience I suspect!
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Old 07-09-2017, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by SLVRon View Post
The entire length of Hwy236 (arguably even better than Hwy9) was resurfaced last year...
Hi Ron,

Drove it this morning:

I added it to the list up above with some notes...

Karl.

Last edited by wjk_glynn; 08-26-2017 at 07:44 PM. Reason: Replaced the Porsche GTS microsite link with a Google Maps link
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Old 07-13-2017, 01:17 AM
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I live in campbell - mine more for a good cruise riding or driving is 17 to santa cruz, 1 up to 84E La Honda or Pescadaro (depends on mood) then going east to alices. Then depending on time mood, 84E to 280 to get home or 35S to 9E to get home.

Takes 1.5-2hours depending on how much you stop.

The drive up california 1 from santa cruz are the most beautiful drives where you just wanna go slow.
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Old 07-13-2017, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by r6elmo View Post
...up to 84E La Honda or Pescadaro (depends on mood) then going east to alices...
I don't think I've even been on Pescadaro, must give it a shot this weekend.

Similar to 84E ?

Karl.
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Old 07-13-2017, 08:43 PM
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Karl - let's get a drive scheduled in the mountains some upcoming weekend. Perhaps after the guys at the alignment shop get done with their diagnosis of mine next week...
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Old 07-14-2017, 12:37 PM
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Hi Ron,

Excellent idea. Maybe anchor it with a visit to Canepa Museum, down your neck of the woods...

http://canepa.com/canepa-difference/canepa-museum/

Karl.
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