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Length 13.5 miles
Time 3.5 hours
Total Climb 3100 feet
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Whittemore Gulch (Alternate route)

This is an extended version of the main Whittemore Gulch ride on this site. On this page, I will only describe the side loop over the Borden Hatch Mill and Grabtown Gulch trails, which is the only part added to the basic loop. For the description of the rest of the ride, please refer to the main Whittemore Gulch entry.

The only bike-legal singletrack trail in the Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve other than Whittemore Gulch is a short segment of Grabtown Gulch Trail. You pay dearly to be able to descend that singletrack (at least if you do it as part of a loop), and this particular ride does just that. Shortly before the gentle beginnings of the fire-road climb up Purisima Creek Trail back toward Skyline, the route diverts onto a side loop by climbing Borden Hatch Mill Trail and descending Grabtown Gulch Trail. This side loop brings you back almost to the same point from which you start it, and it's not a walk in the park. Skipping this side loop will reduce your ride length by 4 miles and your total climb by 1200 feet. All of Borden Hatch Mill Trail is a climb (with a couple of flattish stretches that act as breathers) and all of Grabtown Gulch Trail is a descent.

The fire-road climb up Borden Hatch Mill Trail is a bit uneven in its grade. Its merciful stretches are around 8 to 10 percent grade. However, there are a number of segments where the grade hovers around 18%. Grabtown Gulch Trail descends more steeply and at a more consistent grade than the way Borden Hatch Mill climbs. Most of Grabtown Gulch is a fire road, though sometimes a partially narrowed one. The trail does end with a singletrack stretch, which starts at the first bridge you encounter on your way down. Unfortunately, this only lasts for a bit less than half a mile. As soon as this tasty and twisty singletrack (which also happens to be one of the lushest spots in this park) ends, you're dropped back onto Purisima Creek Trail.

© Ergin Guney


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