Hidden among the hills of Palo Alto, California, lies the Monte Bello Open Space, a true haven for cycling enthusiasts of the intermediate level. Boasting a distance of 6 miles and nestled in the magnificent backdrop of the Californian landscapes, this loop trail provides the ideal blend of challenging climbs, rewarding descents, and breathtaking views.
The adventure starts at the Canyon Trail fire road, quickly taking a left dive onto the Bella Vista Trail where exposed singletrack climbing is the game. This sun-kissed hillside path, punctuated by occasional campsites, eventually leads thrill-seekers to the Indian Creek trail. Here, the exhilaration hits a crescendo with a steep downhill on a fire road.But the adventure doesn't end there. Connecting back to the Canyon trail, the trail meanders to the White Oak, which offers creek-side singletrack deep in the embrace of the woods. As the woodland curtain lifts, prepare for an arduous climb, especially grueling on hot summer days. The reward? Reaching the top, and the parking lot with its promise of rest, is just a right turn away.
Based on the experiences of fellow riders:
- A notable highlight is the heart-pumping descent adorned with numerous jumps as one spirals down a canyon. It's exhilarating but is balanced out by the following extensive climb.
- For the more seasoned, starting at Stevens Canyon Road is recommended. The alternative being to embark on Canyon Trail, make pitstops at Bella Vista and Old Ranch Trails, and finally emerge on top of Black Mountain, where sunset views can be enchanting.
- There's a consensus about the impeccable beauty of the downward journey via Canyon Trail. Expect twists, jumps, and sidewalls - all leading back to the starting point.
- First-timers should be wary of ongoing construction works.
- The views? Simply breathtaking, offering a panoramic display of the Bay Area.
- The terrain does possess its challenges - narrow paths, bumpy stretches, and occasional roots and mud. Still, the experience is worth every pedal.
- Getting There: Head north on 280 from San Jose and take the exit for Page Mill Rd. A drive of roughly 7 miles into the hills will reveal the Monte Bello parking lot on the left.
- Trail Map: Get familiarized with the trails at Monte Bello by accessing this map.
- Note: Due to ongoing work, occasional bulldozers and ramps can be encountered.
Monte Bello Open Space offers:
- A variety of terrains for diverse cycling experiences
- A balance of challenging climbs and adrenaline-pumping descents
- Aesthetic pleasures with panoramic views of the Bay Area
Perfect for those located in or near Palo Alto and craving an intermediate cycling adventure. And remember, whether it's your first or tenth time, Monte Bello promises a unique experience each ride. Happy cycling!