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Gazos Creek-Butano Fire Road

Average Rating:    (4.1 of 5)

No. of Reviews: 10

(Fairly) gentle climb 15 miles to top, 10 mile fast descent back to Hwy 1. Varied and lovely terrain with lots of wildlife. The whole ride is either paved (about 6.5mi) or fire roads (19-25 mi depending on route)
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Latitude
37.16660932733707
Longitude
-122.36091613769531
Trail Directions
From Santa Cruz take Hwy 1 north past Ano Nuevo to Gazos Creek beach From Silicon Valley, take 84 West to Hwy 1 and go south to Gazos Creek beach Park at beach parking lot (free), bike down Gazos Creek Road to Cloverdale Road, turn left on Cloverdale about 1.1 miles past the turnoff for Butano St. Park, turn right to get to gate that's start of South Butano Fire Road (unmarked). Continue straight on Butano Fire Road past the Boy Scout camp (~9 mi. from Butano Fire Road gate). Turn right on China Camp, then right on Johansen. Veer right to stay on Johansen, or continue straight on Middle Ridge (adds about 5 miles). Turn right on Gazos Creek road and head back to Hwy 1 either way.
Trail Length
25 (or 30) miles, about 2800' of climbing
Trail Level
Intermediate
Trail Type
Fire Roads
City/County
Pescadero / Santa Cruz
Web Address
   


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Reviews 1 - 5 (10 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5

Review Date
September 8, 2012

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 4 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 2 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: Peter ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
Outstanding ride! I parked at Gazos Creek Beach and enjoyed the creek and redwoods until I reached the gate where road ends and dirt begins. I'm not sure what others are talking about when they fret over locked auto traffic gates- when has this ever deterred mtb riders? These fire roads are always open to hiking and biking.

It is very steep in places but absolutely beautiful! Even in late summer, trickles and streams abound. I intended on taking Johanssen Rd and looping through Butano State Park via Butano Fire Road. I missed the turn at Sandy Point and continued on towards Big Basin HQ on Gazos Creek Rd. Got a flat in prettiest spot possible and turned back after the repair.

So I failed on the loop, but found Johanssen on way out and peddled up a mile just to check it out - also very steep! Also very breathtaking! Think I encountered Butano Fire Road but it was unmarked so it's hard to be sure.

Recommended Route:
Next time I'll park at Canyon Rd off of Cloverdale and attempt the loop from the other direction, starting with Butano Fire Road.

Lots of unmarked roads out here - including Johanssen! Bring a good map.

If youre a single-track minded rider, this ride will bore you to tears. This is a great cross country ride - I can't wait to give it another go.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Butano State Park fire trail loop - check out the old landing strip at the top!



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Review Date
September 3, 2009

Overall Rating
 3 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 4 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: Gary the No-Trash Cougar ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
Be advised, the unmarked gate to South Butano Fire Road on Cloverdale is no longer open. It is locked and there are warnings everywhere, including "Do Not Climb Over Gate." Do not bother with Butano State Park. Beautiful place to camp, but there are no trails open to bikes that are accessible here. If you head down Gazos Creek Road it dead ends at a fire road that is supposed to be the last leg of this ride. You can climb up it, but be advised that it is a lot steeper than the Butano Fire Road is alleged to be and quite loose and rocky in some places. Otherwise, the trail is mostly hardpack, some ancient eroding asphalt and even granite bedrock! Truth be told, this place is absolutely beautiful. Dense redwood forest and quiet babbling brooks every where. I had the entire place to myself. You might need to portage in certain places, but I recommend you stick it out to the top as you'll find some interesting things on the ridge, including a camp with metal cut-out signs of animals warning you to keep out and respect nature, some railroad cars and indian teepees. You'll also find, interestingly enough the exit to the South Butano Fire Road! It appears to be open, though I didn't take it so I don't know if you can get ot the other side or have to backtrack.

Recommended Route:
Most traditionally start the ride across the highway at Gazos Creek beach (free parking) and ride up Gazos Creek Road. I say, don't bother. If you're just riding Gazos Creek Fire Road, you might as well drive up to the gate and park at one of the turn-offs you find along the way. This also enables you to check to see if the gate is actually open before you ride the whole 9 miles up this narrow road.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
If you're just looking to ride some fire road surrounded by Redwoods, you could save yourself a lot of hassle and just ride the Old Haul Road instead.



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Review Date
February 2, 2004

Overall Rating
 3 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 3 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 1 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a year

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Reviewed by: someguy ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
Long and boring i guess is how i would describe it. Just a long fire road if you go to the ocean the is some paved road. Not really a mountain bike ride. In fact i saw a guy in flipflops rideing a 10 speed with a fishing pole and some beer.



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Review Date
January 17, 2004

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 3 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 2 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: glunt bramling ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
Great ride. Steady doable uphill for a long ways. Very scenic. Very private.
You might want a map because as it gets dark, descents get a lot slower. You might want lights, because descending after sunset in winter sucks.

This ride would've been a five chili rating if a)the sun hadn't set, b)the fog hadn't rolled in, and c)we had flashlights or a map. YMMV.

Recommended Route:
IF it's well after dark and you have no lights, there's a bailout to the Big Basin Park Headquarters that's only 4 or 5 miles downhill from the summit. Instead of staying on Johansen, follow Middle Ridge Road and turn right on Gazos Creek Road to the park HQ. Say "Hi!" to Ranger Neil, who is also a mountain biker, and who might be able to get you emergency late night calories from the park gift shop if you're polite. And once again, get a map.



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Review Date
May 26, 2002

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: Glacier Fedd , from Fremont

Summary:
Excellent ride. Had the place to myself even on a holiday weekend. The climb to the 3000' summit is gradual enough so you can have a good pace and not just grinding it out. Awesome views of the forest and ocean below. Trail is wide, dry, packed and mostly well-maintained except for a few washouts. Fast descent back to the gate with hardly a pedal stroke. No single track. No technical terrain. But just a great touring ride, followed by a long easy downhill. Worth the drive.

Recommended Route:
Length of Butano Ridge Trail to Big Basin HQ. Bring 2 water bottles and light lunch.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Whitemore Gulch



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Reviews 1 - 5 (10 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5
 


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