Three great rides
down unknown dead-end roads off Skyline Boulevard
(7-10 mile out-and-backs on the west side of Skyline
Boulevard, all accessed between King's Mountain and Highway 84)
Tunitas to Star Hill to Native Sons
three of these rides shoot off of Skyline Boulevard on our normal
Tuesday/Thursday morning Kings Mtn/Skyline/84 loop.
The first ride
here heads west on Tunitas (at the intersection
of King's Mtn & Skyline), then down Star Hill to the fork where you
can go to the right and head down Native Sons, which dead ends at a
Hill starts with a small climb when you leave Tunitas Creek, heading
up towards the intersection with Swett Road (which heads back up to
Skyline). From there you gradually roll downhill, and make a
right turn at the Star Hill/Native Sons intersection. The road
then gets narrower, steeper, and much more interesting.
Don't miss some of the strange trees along the way!
These are both found as you near the bottom.
Above is the locked gate at the bottom of Native
Sons. Locked gates are the theme of all three rides on this
page! And in all cases, you're left wondering how much fun
you're missing out on, since the most interesting parts of each of
these rides are at the very end.
right is the nasty part of Swett Road if you take the "shortcut"
back to Skyline, instead of continuing on to Tunitas Creek.
This little piece of road is incredibly steep and very slippery when
wet or even damp from fog. Be careful!
INTERESTING THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR
when you're out riding. Cars, Squirrels, Ravens so big they
could fly off with a dog... but who would have thought you'd have to
worry about being pounced upon by a Leopard? Yet that's what
we encountered on today's ride, as we detoured off Skyline and
headed down Native Sons Road. Pretty big group today as we
combined with Harry Dennis's ride (which usually finishes about the
time we start, but ran really late today). His group had never
been down any of the dead-end roads off
of Skyline, so we had the rare opportunity to show somebody with
a lot of cycling experience something new!
But little did they know they'd have to worry about Leopards
crouched in trees (seen in upper-right of the photo).
Tunitas to Star Hill to the very end
This is Star Hill just
past Swett Road, on our way to the bottom!
Here's the intersection
where Star Hill continues on the left, with Native Sons heading off
to the right.
It's just you, your bike, a whole lot of Redwoods and a pretty
decent road... what's not to like? The surface is similar to
Tunitas Creek, but a bit less beat up (probably because there's much
less car traffic). Speaking of cars, you do see a few in the
morning. Not many, maybe two or three, but it reminds you that
people do live out here.
why haven't you ridden down here before???
Yet another locked gate, keeping you away from the coast. You
can tell it's not that far away, as the temperature has been
steadily decreasing as you've descended.
least this gate appears a bit more personal, with a hand-carved
"Private Property" sign!
I don't put
many photos up that don't have cyclists in them, but this view
couldn't be captured any other way.
It's easy to
grasp the "personal" nature of Star Hill in these photos. One
narrow lane winding through the mountains. What's not to like?
the route back to Skyline, just ahead. This will connect to
Skyline right at the base of the little climb up to Skegg's Point.
Sure, it would be nice to
get a photo showing the nastiest part of the climb up Swett, but on
a grade that steep, there's just no way to climb and hold a camera
at the same time!
Bear Gulch West
Bear Gulch West heads, naturally enough, West from Skyline. As
you're heading south from King's Mtn, Bear Gulch is a right-hand
turn just as Skyline starts its descent towards Sky L'Onda.
Bear Gulch starts out just like Star Hill, with an easy, rolling
descent for the first two miles or so.
Once again, a
very nice little road, although curiously, a few more cars than on
Star Hill, even though there appear to be fewer houses. In
fact, when we got to the gate at the end, a couple cars exited from
whatever was in the universe beyond, and shortly thereafter another
car entering the gated area. Makes you kinda wonder what goes
on down there!
The final descent (and
subsequent climb) is about a
mile long, and very steep. I'd guess 15-20%
grade for parts of it (later measurements show a grade averaging
over 12% for the first mile)! It was also extremely foggy, causing my
lens to cloud up so I couldn't get a photo of the gate, or the nasty
part of the climb. Guess I'll have to go back!
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