• Soquel Demonstration Forest - #SoquelDemonstrationForest

    Norcal - Santa Cruz County - Aptos NickNames: #SoquelDemonstrationForest ridge, saw pit, tractor, braille, sulphur springs

    (map linked from

    Take Highway 17 to Patchen Pass, Exit at Summit Dr., and go southeast on Summit Drive. Go 10 miles as Summit becomes Highland Way to a parking spot with a small green 'Soquel Demonstration State Forest' sign. There is a weird right-left at Mt Bache Road and Spanish Ranch Road, but it is hard to get lost.

    You can park on Highland, or make a right on Hihn's Mill fireroad- there is a small lot by the gate to the fireroad.

    Use caution on Highland- it's narrow, and there have historically been landslides on the road. As of 8/04, the road was passable.

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    • Trail UpdateSweet Soquel-Rode with the infamous El Santo this morning at Soquel.....

      Fireroad, up Sulpher, down Ridge, down Sawpit, up Tractor, down Braile, fireroad back to car....awesome ride!

      Quite a workout on all fronts; technical and aerobic. Pretty cool place, definately a place to practice your skills at. Didnt see another biker the whole time. I guess Monday mornings at 8am is the time to go!
      The REEL Moneyshot


    • Trail UpdateBraille Trail-I did the same loop on my freeride bike on 2.25.05. I don't recommend climbing Sulphur Springs on a big bike - it's an elevation gain of 1200 feet in 1.5 miles or so. Brutal.

      Braille, however, was really hot on the Bullit. Still a little squishy, but really fun.

      El Santo a 32 year old riding a Bullit from San Mateo


    • Trail UpdateBraille Trail-It shouldn't be legal to have this much fun on a ride... and for a long time it wasn't. According to my limited understanding, Braille was blazed as an illegal freeride trail. It was closed a few years back by the
      land managers of SDF, and in what I believe to be an unprecedented move, re-opened in a toned-down, but still bad ass, legal form.

      There are a few notable obstacles that require skills and much sack. There's a long-ish downed tree skinny that traverses a creek crossing, a seesaw, a few more short skinnies, and a reasonable amount of jumping. Did I mention that Braille is legal?


      Anyhow, the loop I am most familiar with is:
      -up Hihn's Mill FR to Sulphur Springs
      -L on Sulphur Springs (steep in parts - it will require granny on your big bike)
      -R to descend Ridge Trail ST

      There are three options here:
      From Ridge Trail, the first right is Braille, the second right is Tractor, the third right is Sawpit. All drop you back onto Hihn's Mill FR. Make a right to climb back to the Sulphur Springs junction to go for a second loop, or back to your car.

      Soquel is really a funhouse. There are amazing trails to ride here, but you have to work for them- I am not aware of any ways to attenuate the climbing required to get to the top of Ridge.

      There are numerous (better) places to get information on SDF and its trails.
      Follow some of these links for more info:
      mtb live
      Stewards of Soquel Forest.
      Trailworkers article on Braille

      Please exercise common sense and your best trail etiquette when riding in Soquel. It really is a gift that we have legal trails like these to ride, so let's do our part to keep them open.

      Be the ball.

      Ride rating: Expert
      El Santo a 31 year old riding a Bullit from San Mateo E-mail: guszeiner AT gmail dotty com

      Posted:10/19/2004 ~ your local mountain bike site since 1996. - Terms Of Use - Site Map
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