- Find a Trail
- My TrailLink
- Explore Trails
- About Us
- Get Involved
Find the top rated cross country skiing trails in Watsonville, whether you're looking for an easy short cross country skiing trail or a long cross country skiing trail, you'll find what you're looking for. Click on a cross country skiing trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.
I parked at the south end on roadside. Nice short walk if you’re looking for a hilly route. Lots of cattails on southern stretch.
So obviously I'm not from around here. A transplant from DC where the traffic is much worse and so is every driver (skill/courtesy) in the Capital Region.
I did several laps starting at the North Trailhead Sawyer Camp Trail (vicinity E. Hillcrest Blvd) down to the Intersection of Skyline Blvd & 35/92 and back. Most everyone was courteous and aware, which is a plus and something alien for me (DC trails are notorious for self-absorbed, totally unaware, and rather rude walker, joggers, cyclists, et al (EXCEPT Indianhead Trail in MD - an AWESOME rail-to-trail to clock in 26 mile laps if you're preparing for long-distance rides).
That said, the volume of folks on the trail, combined with the twisty-turny route (fun but not if you're supposed to be down in the aerobars) is probably not the best place to put miles on the saddle if you're training for distance cycling (sic Ironman) on a TT/triathlon bike... but road bike, mountain, or cyclo-cross sport bike would be preferred.
The trail surface varies from smooth paved, to a slightly ribbed potions that aren't that bad. Uh, at least 6 bathrooms (clean with good locks). I didn't see (wasn't really looking for) any water stations. It's somewhat hilly but not a lung-buster. Lot's of free speed (downhills) and even the false flats any momentum can be maintained.
The scenery is great and whatever flowers were blooming were a good offset to my odor-de-triathlete. Lots of tree canopy cover and a nice breeze to keep cool. One rather large deer crossed my path... good thing to keep at least one hand on the brakes.
All in all, a great place to road/mountain bike = five stars (three stars if you're riding a Tri-bike =)
I literally grew up on this trail, back when it was unpaved, and was just some weird, seldom-used backwater ie., prior to the early 1980s or thereabouts, at which point it started getting much more developed & popular. I have seen (quite large!) blue herons on (or adjacent) to this trail many times, and in 1995, I once saw a bobcat (at night, between Vasona dam and Lark Avenue). There are many turtles, and about 40 years ago, I once saw a Northern Pike (just behind Vasona dam). I've witnessed scores of salmon spawning at the Camden Avenue dam.
I rode part of this trail last week, from Pacific Grove up to the town of Seaside. It is quite scenic, in spots, but you also ride through some urban congestion and cross a number of busy intersections. It's also not very well marked. I got some advice from Adventures By the Sea, an outfitter located at the beginning of the trail, that was very helpful given the relative lack of signage. Maybe this trail gets quieter and more protected from traffic as you get further from Monterey, but I decided to turn around and ride part of the 17 Mile Drive instead when I hit the busy intersection at Seaside. If I try it again, I think I'd rather start in Castroville, at the northern end, and ride south.
Whenever we visit the Monterey Peninsula, we always make sure to ride our bikes or walk multiple times on the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail. Very few places in the world can match the beauty and splendor of this trail, especially between Lovers Point Park in Pacific Grove to the Wharf in Monterey. This portion of the trail is most certainly perfect for visitors and walking enthusiasts.
Beyond the wharf up to Castroville (the Artichoke Capital of the World) is for individuals looking for a much more intense workout.
If I lived on the peninsula, I'd be somewhere on that trail every day!
On a gray May morning in 2018, my wife and I headed north from Pacific Grove to ride the West Cliff Path. We parked on Swanton Blvd., which is pretty much right at the trailhead, and then headed down the smooth asphalt path/promenade.
The path has spectacular ocean views, plenty of benches to relax upon, restored Victorian homes, art installations, a surf museum, huge amounts of surfers, an extra long pier with a residence of sea lions, a multitude of photo ops, and even an amusement park when you reach the end.
At the trail's end consider continuing across the San Lorenzo River and navigating some quiet residential streets to get a better view of the Walton Lighthouse and look back up the coastline.
Even though we rode on a weekday morning, the path had quite a bit of use by walkers, joggers, dog walkers, amusement park goers, and surfers. It slows you down a bit, but that's OK since to ride this trail is all about the essence of the scenery!
With the exception of one hill as you descend the cliff down to sea level near the pier, it's all flat which is perfect for a couple of sixty somethings.
All in all, it's a path to be taken slowly and to be savored, an ideal experience!
Started at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond and traveled south (clockwise) along the bay to the Central Ave intersection and return. A good portion of the trail is wide and plenty of room for walkers and bikers. The last couple miles we rode is a bit narrower, still enough room for both. Trail condition is great. A number of interpretative signs are placed, discussing the history and nature of this area. Well worth the visit. Take time to see the Rosie Visitor Center. Luck was with us when we visited and were able to attend a talk by the National Park Service’s oldest park ranger (97 yrs old). Betty Reid Soskin is an articulate speaker and recounted her time living in the area and working in the ship yards during WWII. If given the opportunity don’t miss out. Noted that the trail in this area had great signage and shouldn’t have any trouble following the route. Some of the trail going north (counterclockwise) was on the street with designated bike lanes. Looking forward to doing other sections of this trail when we visit again in the future.
Only rode a short distance of this trail from Trader Joe’s parking lot down to the West Cliff Drive Bicycle Path. Some traffic on this trail but not as much as the West Cliff path. Path condition was fine, not a real wide path but ok. A number of homeless folks hanging out on and along the path. Was panhandled while in Trader Joe’s parking lot. At no time did we feel uncomfortable with environment, just unfortunate.
Started the ride at Trader Joe’s parking lot along the Santa Cruz Riverwalk, rode downstream to the intersection with the West Cliff Drive trail. Then rode up the coast to the end of this trail. Trail in good condition and nice surface but lots & lots of other folks on the trail, mostly walkers. Great scenery of Santa Cruz bay, coastline, and surfers along the trail. So much traffic on the trail made it challenging. Once at end of trail decided it would be easier to ride the road. So on return trip stayed on the parallel road and sailed along without obstruction. Consider this as the return option.
We rode this in two sections.
First section started at Casa Verde Way and rode North to the intersection of Lapis Road and Hwy 1. Missed the first left turn to go over dunes (no directional signage) and after a short distance realized we needed to back track. Then at Lapis Road & Hwy 1 the trail appeared to end at this intersection (no directional signage), could have explored down the highway at little to find remainder of trail but by then had ridden about 15 miles, so called it at that point. We did divert off of this trail to ride the parallel Beach Range Road trail in Fort Ord Dunes State Park. That road is much wider and nicer to ride. Depending how long of ride you want but recommend ending at the North end of Beach Range Road and then return.
Second Section: Started again at Casa Verde Way heading south to end of trail at Lovers Point and return. This portion of trail has many more walkers and bikers but trail is wide enough for all and in very good condition. This portion has some great scenery, a number of interpretive signs along the way, stopped to watch the Harbor Seals at a number of stops. Highly recommend this portion of trail.
Connected on to this trail from the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail at the south end and rode to north end of trail. Nice wide paved trail/road that used to be a main road for Fort Ord (no longer used for vehicle traffic). At south end of trail a number of homeless camps and trash tossed around. Nothing threatening just an eye sore. A spur trail leads down to some old military munitions storage bunkers. A few information panels are along the trail. I went through basic training at Fort Ord and the trail passed by one of the rifle ranges we used, brought back some memories. Much better, wider, trail than the parallel running Monterey Bay trail.
Thursday, January 3, 2019
My wife and I started this ride at the northern most entrance at the corner of San Bruno Avenue West and Skyline Blvd. We parked at a dirt church parking lot across from the trail head that a sign said was open to the public. TrailLinks indicates there is parking at the San Andrea Trail parking lot about a ½ mile down the trail along Skyline Blvd. It not really a parking lot but more of a wide spot on the road. I actually didn’t recognize it on the first pass as there was only one car parked there.
Heading south from the trail head (you begin on the two lane paved San Andreas Trail) you begin a rolling incline as you ride along next to Skyline Road. After about 3 miles you will top out as you head toward the San Andreas Lake and begin a long 400 foot drop over the next mile or two to the San Andreas Dam. Pedaling is optional and by this time you have passed at least one bathroom…expect to see more.
By the time you reach the dam, you will be on the Sawyer Camp Recreational Trail. The view from the dam was spectacular, particularly as it is quite green this time of year. There are plenty of tree covered sections to make you really feel you are outdoors. A pretty nice feeling for being in the “city”. There are also several historic sites marked along the trail.
After crossing the dam your drop further down into the creek. The trees provide quite a bit of shading which would be good in the summer months but got quite chilly for our ride. There are picnic tables and of course, another bathroom.
You will eventually end up along the shore of the Lower Crystal Springs Reservoir. Again, spectacular views and a ton of friendly deer. We also began to encounter more and more hikers as this section is easily accessible from the entrance at the Sawyer Camp trail head next to the Crystal Springs Road and is pretty flat all the way to the bottom of the San Andreas Dam. Not too much of a problem for our week day winter ride, but I expect this would get very crowded on weekends and summer.
We made our turnaround at the Sawyer Camp Trailhead (10 miles from our start) but not before making a side trip about a mile and a half north UP Hwy 35 to the Crystal Springs Golf course for lunch. The menu was typical bar food. The cheeseburger was huge and tasty. I would suggest splitting one as it came with a very large order of fries (my wife got onion rings). It was a small restaurant/bar overlooking the driving range.
My wife and I have Specialized Como electric bikes so the pedal assisted ride back up the trail was not difficult. But the incline was not that steep and was steady over a couple miles. Good gearing and little patience should not dampen your ride.
Total round trip (including the 1-1/2 mile one way side trip for lunch) was 22 miles.
This was our first ride of 2019 on a route we had never been before and we have lived in the Bay Area for 30 years. A hearty thanks to TrailLink for highlighting this on their web page!
TrailLink is a free service provided by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (a non-profit) and we need your support!