Route: Bay Area Ocean to Bay (CA)

California, US
51.8 mi

Marcy Beard submitted this original route:

The goal is to travel from the ocean to the bay, through redwood forests and open spaces, on defined trails and then sidewalks and bike paths, avoiding roads as much as possible. There are almost certainly shorter routes that accomplish these goals, but setting the starting point at Waddell Beach makes it an interesting challenge. There is more variety here than in typical FKT's (from forest trails to urban tracks), perhaps others will find it a fun concept that's worth running.

Route description:
Pacific Ocean to the Bay via trails and sidewalks
Part 1 = Skyline to the Sea trail (from the ocean to Saratoga Gap)
Part 2 = Open space preserve trails (from Saratoga Gap to Rancho San Antonio)
Part 3 = Urban crossing (from Rancho San Antonio to the Bay)
Total is about 48 miles, 6000 ft gain/loss

A route plan map has been created here:

GPS Track


I'm planning to run this route for the first time on Sunday June 10, starting at Waddell Beach (at the ocean), following the route outlined above, and finishing in Mountain View (at the bay). I'll be carrying an InReach tracker which posts to the following map: I'll also carry my brother's GPS watch to collect points at a much faster rate, downloadable after the fact. Hopefully this will provide a more detailed route map that future FKT'ers can easily refer to. I've seen much of this route in person already, here's hoping the crossing from Saratoga Gap to Rancho San Antonio is straightforward!

Also to note - I'm planning to run it unsupported, only getting water from existing fountains along the way, not buying anything or getting assistance from anyone.


Some route info --
These are great maps with lots of detail, available for purchase if you want more than the basic park maps to work from:
Big Basin:
Skyline Ridge:

Approximate water distances:
Big Basin fountains, 10.4-10.6 mi
Waterman Trail Camp, 19.0 mi
Cal Fire station (0.4 mi RT detour), 25.8 mi
Black Mountain (0.1 mi RT detour, non-potable), 33.6 mi
Deer Farm at Rancho San Antonio, 38.9 mi
Stevens Creek trail at the north end of Yuba Drive, 43.8 mi
Stevens Creek trail at La Avenida Street, 46.0 mi
Finish = 48.4 mi, then ~1.5 mi back to the closest parking lot (no water at the finish)
Elevation gain/loss is maybe 6000 ft

GPS track (bouncy track under the tall trees of Big Basin, I don't think it's quite this many miles in total):

Written directions:
Route starts at the ocean (at the water) at Waddell Beach.
Go across Highway 1, past the gate and 0.4 miles up the small road to the Horse Camp.
Find the Skyline to the Sea trailhead (hiker trail) on the left just past a gate.

Follow the Skyline to the Sea (S2S) trail all the way to Saratoga Gap.
Use any detours through Big Basin as needed - see the park website for closures/reroutes.

June 2018 detour based on trail closures:
Go left at the "trail closed" sign and follow the Sunset Connector Trail
Turn right onto Sunset Trail
0.3 miles on Sunset Trail
Turn right on Middle Ridge Road (Sunset Trail after this point is closed)
0.3 miles on Middle Ridge Road
Turn left on Skyline to the Sea Trail (end of detour)

Water is available at a fountain outside the Big Basin Grocery Store. Food/drinks available for purchase at the store during opening hours (if going self-sufficient instead of unsupported).
Water is also available at the bathroom fountains in the parking lot across the road from the bottom of Gazos Creek Road (east side of Northern Escape Road).

Back onto S2S trail, follow signs, including staying on all trail sections that go parallel to the North Escape Road, Big Basin Way, and route 9.
Water spigot at Waterman Gap Trail Camp, down to the left from the pit toilet
Stay on the S2S trail to Saratoga Gap.

Cross route 35 and find Saratoga Gap Trail to the left (northwest).

1.7 miles on Saratoga Gap Trail
Along the way there is a water fountain at the Saratoga Summit fire station. Requires a detour of 0.2 mi (0.4 mi RT). Turn left onto a short trail that exits to a parking pull-off. Follow the road northwest to the fire station. The water fountain is on the far side of the station (with porta potty and picnic table). Return to the trail the same way and continue on Saratoga Gap Trail.

Go right on Charcoal Road
1.7 miles down the road (stay left, turns into Table Mountain Fire Road)
Quick turns left, right, then left to find Table Mountain Trail
1.2 miles on Table Mountain Trail
Turn left on Canyon Trail
2.4 miles on Canyon Trail
Turn right on Indian Creek Trail
1.3 miles up Indian Creek Trail

There is non-potable water and pit toilet at Black Mountain Backpack Camp. Requires a short, maybe 0.05 mi (0.1 mi RT) detour to the left off Indian Creek Trail near the top.

From the end of Indian Creek Trail:
Go right on Monte Bello Road
0.2 miles on Monte Bello Road
Turn left on Black Mountain Trail
Just past the radio tower, go left to stay on Black Mountain Trail
1.1 miles on Black Mountain Trail
Turn right on Quarry Trail
1.0 miles on Quarry Trail
Turn left on Upper High Meadow Trail
1.5 miles on Upper High Meadow Trail

Where Upper High Meadow meets Upper Rogue Valley, go straight on High Meadow Trail (signed).
At the next intersection, go left (follow the "Trail" marker).
Go 0.2 miles down the trail.
Continue on High Meadow Trail, to the left of Vista Point at the next intersection.
Go 0.8 miles on High Meadow Trail.
At the bottom (intersection with Wildcat Loop and Coyote trails), make a sharp left and stay left toward Deer Farm.

Restrooms on the right before the barn. Water spigot is ahead around the corner to the right, just past the merge with Rogue Valley Trail.

Continue east.
After going through the farm, cross a small bridge and then take the trail to the left (not the paved road).
Follow signs for Lower Meadow Trail.
Go left to stay on Lower Meadow between Mora Trail and the paved road -- watch the signs, easy to miss.
Cross the service road to stay on Lower Meadow Trail to the trailhead.
Big intersection at Permanente Creek. Veer left to cross the creek on a wide bridge.

Right before I-280 freeway, take the right fork to exit the park onto Stonehaven Drive (the straight route will dead-end shortly).
Go left onto Stonehaven and then cross under the freeway.

Follow St Joseph Ave.
Veer right at Eva to stay on St Joseph Ave.
Turn left at Stonehaven to stay on St Joseph Ave.
Cross Foothill Expressway and continue straight on Grant Rd.
Follow Grant north for 2.5 miles to El Camino Real.

Food/water options (if going self-supported instead of unsupported) along Grant, including gas stations at El Camino

Cross El Camino then turn right on El Camino
Make a quick left onto Yuba
At the end of Yuba, turn left onto Stevens Creek Trail (water fountain)
Follow Stevens Creek trail going north

After passing under Highway 101, continue north on Stevens Creek Trail
Water fountain at La Avenida Street
Turn right on the 2nd footbridge after 101 to cross the creek on the Bay Trail
Turn left on the Bay Trail and continue north
Stay straight (Bay Trail goes right toward Moffett) and continue following Stevens Creek to the end

Route finishes at the fence at the bay (no need to touch the water - may be difficult and muddy to get to it depending on the tide).

I'm running this route tomorrow, 4/22.  Thanks for the great info Marcy- much appreciated!  I'll be carrying all food but will fill up at public spigots.