Our Favorite Rides on the Peninsula, near Palo Alto, California

Morgan Brown

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Trip 1: Up Page Mill Road, Down Old La Honda Road
Trip 2: Mountain View to Pacifica - Peninsula N-S Mega-tour
Trip 3: Up Moody Road, down Page Mill Road

Trip 1: Up Page Mill Road, Down Old La Honda Road

Summary Image Gallery Trip Map
  • Date: May 27, 2001
  • Route: Park at Page Mill Road & I-280 Park-and-Ride. Climb Page Mill Road to Skyline Blvd. Scenic detour to Borel Hill. Return to Skyline Blvd., descend on Old La Honda Road. South on Portola Road, east on Alpine, south on Arastradero, and finish.
  • Total distance: ~25 miles.   Total climb: 2800'.

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Other Trip Reports...
The night before this ride, we decided that demons needed to be purged. The climb up Page Mill Road extracts said demons and much, much more. When all is said and done, you're 2000' above the freeway where you parked an hour ago. By the time we climbed to Skyline, the weather was clear and warm, though we could see fog in all directions. We took a scenic detour to Borel Hill, one of the few places in the Bay Area with a 360-degree view of the surroundings. Skyline Blvd. was a wash, both literally and figuratively. I felt as if I had jumped out of the swimming pool by the time we got out of the fog. Our descent of Old La Honda was par--most dangerous part is not cars, not curves, but oncoming bikers on the left side of the road! We enjoyed the recently-repaved surface of Portola Road, and managed not to get a stop-sign ticket from the San Mateo County Sheriff.

On my Stanford-area Ride Calculator, you can cut-and-paste the following string into the "Your Ride" box for more detailed statistics: -PAI,-PAA,-PAM,+PMS,-SPO,+OLH,-POR,-AAP,-APA,+PAI

Mile Action Comment
0 Page Mill & I280
Get here early--on a nice day you will not find parking after 9. And besides, you don't want to be climbing the exposed slopes of Page Mill Road on a 90-degree summer day.
3 Cross Moody Road Moody Road descends back to Los Altos and seems to turn into El Monte Ave. This could be a cool, if easier loop. Your altimeter should read 960'. The climb recently got steep and nasty. Expect this nastiness for the remainder!
7 Road Levels out The kicker about this road is that is has downhills. Around mile 7 you'll reach around 2200', and eventually top out around 2300'. That's right, campers, you've climbed 2000' from the parking lot. Around mile 8, you make your last irritating downhill, and promptly regain it as you reach Skyline Blvd.
9 Right on Skyline Blvd. Your altimeter should read 2250'. Continue straight (now Alpine Road), and you can do some of the classic "Bay-to-Sea" rides. Russian Ridge Open Space is just across Skyline. We walked/rode our bikes up to Borel Hill (2572'), took in the views, then continued to the Vista Point Parking lot. Skyline Blvd. tops out at 2400', but from there it is basically downhill until you hit Highway 84.
14 Pass Windy Hill
Open Space
On our ride, the fog was frighteningly thick. I rode very fast, in the hope that the last split second of extra time would prevent me from getting mashed by a minivan. You'll see cars, fences, and bathrooms here. It's only another mile to Old La Honda Road.
15 Right on Old
La Honda Road
Turns out that we had no trouble spotting OLH Road. Probably 15 bikers were congregated on the top.
19 Right to Portola Road Be careful on the descent of OLH Road. The top 1 mile is very rough. The last three are quite smooth, but I find the biggest hazard to be hordes of climbing bikers on the wrong side of the road! Fearless, they are, since a head-on collision with a guy my size would not be fun for a small person.
21.5 Left on Alpine Road From the intersection with OLH road, you'll climb from 375' to 600'. Don't forget to stop at the stop sign! The locals do not like bikers, and on a busy weekend day, it's not hard to see why. Packs of a hundred or more bikers run this stop sign en masse. The police are fond of writing $100 tickets. These are moving violations, people, and I don't think the judge will take much mercy.
23 Right on
Arastradero Road
Almost home! Enjoy this open, rolling road and see how fast you can go.
25 Left on Page Mill Road You're so close!
25.25 End at Park-and-ride Congratulations on a challenging 25-miler with 2800' of climbing.

Trip 2: Mountain View to Pacifica - Peninsula N-S Mega-tour (with a detour to Sweeney Ridge)

Summary Image Gallery Trip Map
  • Date: June 9, 2001
  • Route: Start from our apartment in Mountain View. Foothill/Sand Hill/Whiskey Hill to Woodside. Canada Road to Highway 92. Skyline Blvd. from 92 to San Bruno. Up Sneath Road, climb Sweeney Ridge for visit to Nike Missile site.
  • Total distance: 62.2 miles.   Total climb: ~3700'.
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I promised some online friends of mine that I'd visit the Nike Missile radar site on Sweeney Ridge. So I figured that I could turn it into an epic ride. Epic might not be the right word. Punishing and underestimated are better descriptors. All I will say is that I'm glad I didn't con Kim into coming along on this one (she was out of town). I left Mountain View at 6:30 a.m., reached the Nike base 33.6 miles and 2.5 hours later, spent a half hour there, and took 2.5 hours to limp back to Stanford, where I type this report.

Mile Action Comment
0 Central Expressway
& Rengstorff
Started at 6:30--a nice clear morning.
3.7 Arastradero Road &
Foothill Expressway
I'm feeling like a dog today. Bad omen!
6.5 Sand Hill Road &
Foothill Expressway
(Juniperro Serra)
Savor the flatness while it lasts. The rest of the ride is an up-and-down nightmare!
11.3 Woodside
city center
turn right on
Canada Road
I took Sand Hill to Whiskey Hill, but you could probably take Alameda de las Pulgas to Woodside Rd.
14.7 Pass under
Edgewood Road
A bit of easy climbing. Get ready to fly down the smooth, flat part of Canada Road.
18.6 Reach Highway 92,
right on Skyline Blvd.
Careful here--lots of traffic, narrow shoulders.
20.9 Pass Crystal
Springs Road
Skyline kind of sucks. Steep hills and narrow shoulders. Luckily traffic is usually light.
22.2 Dead end at
Golf Course
Right on Golf
Course (Hayne) Rd.
Immediate Left on
Skyline Blvd.
Detail map
25.2 Reach Trousdale Blvd.
Get onto I-280 N
No Joke!
You can also take an irritating route over a bike/walk path, but it is perfectly legal. Take the first exit--Hillsdale Blvd. You will be prompted by the Bicycles must exit sign. Be careful! The exit is narrow, and the cars are doing 65+ mph. Use the "sidewalk" on the right. Detail map
26.7 Pass Larkspur Blvd. Keep following Skyline Blvd.
28.9 Pass San Bruno
Another freeway jaunt. You get on here, but again, take the first exit, which is (believe it or not) Skyline Blvd. Keep following Skyline.
29.9 Left on Sneath
This is the first stoplight past San Bruno Ave. Get ready for a steep climb.
31.3 Reach GGNRA Parking
lot at dead end
Go through the pedestrian gate. Start an immediate steep downhill.
33.6 Reach Nike
Missile base
Climb up the paved trail (600', with some steeps). Veer right at top of hill, staying on paved trail.
38.3 Retrace path on
Skyline Blvd.
to San Bruno Ave.
Get ready for another freeway experience. After San Bruno Ave. Pass a parking lot on the right, with San Andreas Reservoir in the background. Get on I-280. Take the first exit, which is Larkspur Ave. From here you can get back on the "normal" Skyline Blvd.
42.0 Retrace path on
Skyline Blvd.
to Trousdale Blvd.
Yet another freeway segment. I was surprised--it really isn't that bad. The shoulder is wide (10 feet) and relatively clean, but the speeds of cars are certainly unnerving! At Hillsdale Blvd., you must Cross under the freeway and ride up the ramp. Take the first exit, which is Trousdale. Go back under the freeway to Skyline Blvd.
45.0 Right under freeway
at Hayne Rd.,
left onto Skyline Blvd.
I screwed up royally and missed this. Don't make my mistake! You'll aimlessly wind around, up, and down the dead-end streets of a very affluent neighborhood.
48.6 Retrace path to
Highway 92,
left on Canada Rd.
Narrow shoulders and high speeds -- be careful!
55.9 Retrace path to
Woodside city center,
left on Woodside Road,
quick right on
Whiskey Hill Rd.
Stop at the stopsign -- tickets are $100.
62.2 Back to Stanford:
Whiskey Hill,
L on Sand Hill,
R on Juniperro Serra
My body was bushwhacked!

Trip 3: Up Moody Road, down Page Mill Road

Summary Image Gallery Trip Map
  • Date: Many times!
  • Route: Start from our apartment near Gunn HS (Arastradero & Foothil Expressway). South on Foothill, west on El Monte Road, past Foothill College. Veer onto Moody Road, climb hill. Downhill on Page Mill Road, Arastradero back to starting point.
  • Total distance: 11.4 miles.   Total climb: 950'.

If you're busy or otherwise unable to take a long bike trip, this may be the perfect Peninsula hill-climb. Under 12 miles and 1000 feet of climb, so you're never too far from home, but believe me, the last leg up Moody Road will test the lungs of every biker! Certainly less of a commitment than any of the "normal" hill climbs to Skyline Boulevard (Page Mill, Old La Honda, Kings Mountain), but enough to keep most of us in shape. Traffic is never a serious issue, though it is always preferable to get an early start, i.e., before 8 a.m.

On my Stanford-area Ride Calculator, you can cut-and-paste the following string into the "Your Ride" box for more detailed statistics: -FAE,-ELM,-MDY,+PAM,+PAA,+PAI,+AFP

Mile Action Comment
0 Arastradero Road
& Foothill Expressway
You can park at Gunn HS on weekends. Turn left (south) onto Foothill.
2.3 Right on
El Monte Road
Continue under IH-280, pass Foothill College.
4.0 Veer left onto
Moody Road
This occurs at Foothill College. Moody Road is curvy, narrow, and relatively flat. After a few miles, you might start wondering, "When does it start climbing???" Answer: Around mile 6.2, at 450 feet elevation. The remaining 0.5 mile to Page Mill Road climbs roughly 500 feet--an ass-kicker by any standard!
6.7 Right at stop sign
onto Page Mill Road
Enjoy 2.5 miles of fast, pure descent. Watch out for some hairpins with gravel and/or irritating negative bank angle.
9.4 Right at stop sign
onto Arastradero Road
This is the stop sign directly before you pass under IH-280. After 60 feet of steep climbing right away, this road is generally a gentle descent, all the way back to your start point.
11.4 Arastradero Road
& Foothill Expressway
Now do whatever it is you have to do today.

© 2005 , Stanford Exploration Project
Department of Geophysics
Stanford University

Modified: 11/18/05, 13:53:05 PST , by morgan
Page Maintainer: morgan `AT' sep.stanford.edu