Wilder Ranch Bike Ride

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Happy Friday! Looking for a scenic place to ride your bike this weekend? Read on!

On a sunny Saturday morning in February, my friend and I had one objective in mind: haul our bikes to Santa Cruz and ride until we could find a good beach where we could eat our picnic lunch. We originally planned to drive slightly north of Santa Cruz, park his Subaru, and ride Highway 1 towards Davenport until we found a beach. Instead, we were lucky enough to happen upon Wilder Ranch State Park.

After I spotted a paved bike path on the left side of the road, we parked the car and hopped on our bikes. Soon, we encountered a turnoff into a tunnel, and followed that to the Wilder Ranch backcountry trails. My bike is a girly commuter bike and my friend’s bike is a roadster with ultra narrow tires, but we set off on the rocky trail anyway. The views all the way up the trail are GORGEOUS. There’s a sweeping vista of the fields and the ocean in the far distance. After some grueling uphills where I had to walk my bike (which reminded me that I need to fit more cardio workouts into my life!), we encountered a significant split in the trail. A couple of people descending a steep path recommended that we check out a lookout a few hundred feet above us. I decided to ditch my bike, and we headed up the incline. Before long, we were rewarded with this view:

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View from the lookout

And the weather couldn’t have been more perfect; around 75 degrees Fahrenheit and no wind.

After descending from the lookout, I suggested we bike back down the hill towards the ocean. After all of the discomfort I endured on the way up, it was a treat to coast down the bumpy trails at high speed.

We continued on the bike trail and found a parking lot for some oceanside trails. We started on the Ohlone Bluffs trailhead at the far left corner of the parking lot, and boy, I’m glad we did. The trail was a bit muddy, but easy enough to skirt around puddles or carefully splash through them. The views of the bluffs and the ocean are truly spectacular.

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We stopped multiple times to take photos of the cliffs and the sandy alcoves below.

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Near the end of the trail, we found a lovely beach to walk down to where we munched on hummus, carrots, pita chips, and snap peas. It was the perfect place to soak up some sunshine and lounge in the sand.

 

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Perfect spot for a picnic

So, if you’re near Santa Cruz, I highly recommend checking out Wilder Ranch. It’s great for biking, or if you’re more of a hiker, it’s perfect for that too.

P.S. If you’re looking for a post-workout sour craft beer, check out Sante Adairius. It’s in Capitola – just a short drive from Wilder Ranch.

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