This is a twistier option to running the whole SR35 Skyline Blvd in the Bay Area. Pick up SR9 in Ben Lomond and head north. Stay on SR9 until it tees at an intersection with SR236 (Big Basin Hwy). Turn right, follow SR9 till it meets SR35 (Skyline Blvd). Turn left (north) and ride SR35 to Alice's Restaurant.
The route leaves the small town of Ben Lomond and heads into the redwood forest of the Bay Area Penninsula. The twisty two lane road winds in and out of tall trees, with vineyards and wilderness on both sides. In spots the view opens up to the west and you can see the Pacific Ocean, or east towards San Jose. Stop at the tee at Big Basin Hwy and look up; you're in a stand of California redwoods hundreds of feet tall. More tree lined curves await as you continue onto Alice's.
Tight technical switchbacks combined with medium speed sweepers greet the rider. The pavement is not new, there may be some mid corner bumps. But generally the road is well paved, and riders with adequate skills will enjoy this road. To spice things up the Bay Area fog sometimes creeps in, requiring reduced speeds and care on damp pavement. The best time to ride it is in summer, when the trees provide cooling shade.
Gas is available in Ben Lomond and Alice's. The song "You can find anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant" is true if that anything includes good food, bike/car watching, and great roads. Combine this segment with several other side roads and you can make it a great loop of the Santa Cruz area. From Alice's you can continue north to San Francisco, or west to the beach and back south to Santa Cruz.
I agree with the first post that this is a great route for twisties, switchbacks, etc. I live in SF so I took 280S to 92W. (Heavy traffic on 92W most weekends when the weather is nice) But after turning on 35 (Skyline Rd) you soon forget about the short trip on 92. I took 35 to 84S (LaHonda Rd), past Alice's, and it was just as thrilling as 35. Good pavement, twisties, beautiful scenery, light traffic, great place to hone your cornering skills. From 84, I took Hwy 1 (Cabrillo Hwy) to Pacifica then 280N back to SF. This loop is approximately 80 miles.
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Sport Bike Richie
July 19, 2019
16 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Sport
I hate to rain on everyone's parade but I rode this route and I found it less than thrilling. As a sport rider skyline hwy was more of a commute than a travel, which is to say that I didn't enjoy the ride as much as I just wanted to get to Alice's. From there I went 84 to the coast, that was pretty lack luster in my opinion. You are going through towns, you can't really open the bike up. The road had a few curves but I kept getting stuck behind cars, as its a single lane in each direction. I went midweek and still was stuck behind people most of the way. I definitely wont go back. Not unless Im with a group of people. Then at least Ill have the camaraderie of others to suffer through this route.
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January 1, 2015
8 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Cruiser
Rode up Hwy 9 from Santa Cruz through Ben Lomond and Boulder Creek to Skyline Blvd; a beautiful route through redwoods with lots of twisty turns. After lunch at Alice's, continued on Hwy 84 to Pescadero Rd back to the coast Hwy finishing the loop back in Santa Cruz. One of my favorite rides!