Norcal - San Mateo County - Half Moon Bay NickNames: #PurismaCreekOSP whittemore gulch
The preserve's main entrance and the Whittemore Gulch trailhead are located on Skyline Boulevard (Route 35) 4.5 miles south of Highway 92. Parking is available for 20 cars. For visitors going on the Redwood Trail, there is a five-car parking area at the trailhead 6.5 miles south of Highway 92. The preserve's western access point is off Higgins-Purisima Road, which intersects Highway 1 about one mile south of Half Moon Bay. Parking is available for 10 cars. It is a eceptively long drive to the trailhead from Hwy. 1, and the road is narrow. b
1. Purisma is only suited for mid-week rides. There is *heavy* foot and
equestrian traffic on Whittemore Gulch trail on weekends. As biker/(fill in
other trail user here) conflicts are on the rise, it's a good idea to not make the
problem worse. Also, strap a cowbell to your seat rails for riding here to avoid
startling other trail users- there are a lot of blind corners.
2. Whittemore Gulch is closed for most of the winter. It is a fragile ST, and if
we want it to remain open to MTBs, don't ride it when it is closed.
3. Shuttling Whittemore, while technically feasible, would be dumb. It would
take you 2 hours to set up the shuttle and retrieve your car, for a 10 minute
descent. Considering gas is now $2.50 a gallon, it is not worth the time or
money. Although there are many nearby trails that beg for a big bike, this
isn't one of them.
I parked at the bottom on Higgins-Purisma after backtracking twice, sure I
had made a wrong turn. Nope. It was a sunday, and there were ten thousand
cars parked at the lower trailhead.
After passing 13 hikers on the pavement on the way to the trailhead, I
crossed the creek and made a right on Harkins Ridge FR. Although only two
miles in length, this focking trail goes straight up. This climb is no joke- I
was struggling like a newbie in the little ring the entire way up. I am by no
means the climber I used to be, and I doubt I'll ever be able to clean Harkins
all the way up.
Makde a left at the junction with Bay Area Ridge Trail (illegal for bikes), and
continue on Harkins until you reach North Ridge FR. Make a left on North
Ridge (right is an insanely steep, loose 0.3 mile climb up to skyline- not
worth it) and continue until the junction with Whittemore Gulch trail. There
are two options, either of them will lead you to the same place in ~0.5 miles.
Whittemore Gulch is a sinewy buffed-out ST that drops you 2.2 miles back to
the base of Harkins Ridge. It begs for speed, but be careful as there are lots
of blind corners to negotiate, and as I mentioned above, *lots* of hiker and
horse traffic on weekends.
What this ride lacks in distance it more than makes up for in intensity. The
Harkins climb is just sick. I can't remember the last time a 6 mile XC ride
kicked my ass this hard. Load up on your Epogen before you ride at Purisma.
Be the ball.
Ride rating: Expert
Ride distance: 6 Elevation change: lots
Singletrack=50% Dirt Road=50%
El Santo a 31 year old riding a big Santa Cruz or a little Schwinn from San Mateo E-mail: guszeiner AT gmail dotty com URL: Purisma Map