2% SINGLETRACK71% FIRE ROAD26% PAVED1% ROAD
You may not think of Coyote Hills Regional Park when you're thinking of serious mountain biking, and you'd be right. This is, however, a more-than-decent option for a ride when you're looking for a weekday ride before (or after) work or for an easy ride. As you can see in the route represented on this page, if you string together enough trail mileage here, you end up with enough total climb for a moderate workout. And, especially if you leave out the hilly bits, the trails at Coyote Hills would constitute an ideal and scenic place to bring beginner riders.
This route is my (possibly pointless) attempt at stringing together as much of the bike-legal trails in this park into a single ride route with as little overlap as possible. The ride traverses mostly a mix of paved paths and smooth dirt roads. Unexpectedly, there is also a taste of singletrack riding in the mix, for a bit over a quarter mile in distance (Muskrat Trail).
Some of the secondary attractions (or, perhaps, "primary", considering that the trails don't provide much in the way of riding satisfaction) are bay-side views in all directions, wildlife and especially bird viewing along the wetlands, a close-up look at a gaping quarry, and a glimpse of a Native American settlement/shellmound.
While climbing is not central to the character of this ride, what little climbing there is includes a surprising amount of very steep stretches, all of which are on Red Hill Trail. These are always extremely short, but a few of these exceed the level of ridability by mere mortals, with grades approaching 30% and at least one spot that quite certainly exceeds it. And there are matching descents of equivalent slopes as you return to sea level. These can be steep enough to get a true beginner into trouble. So, if you take my advice about bringing a beginner rider here, you really might want to consider leaving the hill-top segments of this route out of your ride.
There is a posted entrance fee for the park of $5 per car. However, at the time I did this ride, there was a sign on what looked like the payment machine that said "out of order - no charge". I'm not sure how temporary or permanent that situation is, though.
You have a couple of options for extending this ride substantially. The first would be to continue into the Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge. You can do this either by continuing past the turn-around point at the southernmost tip of this ride and riding over the bridge into the wildlife refuge (you'll find about 4.5 more miles of ridable trails if you do it this way), or by taking Pelican Trail from the northwestern tip of this ride or following the rest of No Name Trail (that seems to be the official name of the trail) west toward the bay, which will open nearly 9 more miles of ridable trails to you. Oddly, there doesn't seem to be a bike-legal trail that connects these two separate sections in Don Edwards though, at least as far as the official trail map of the preserve is concerned. Your second option for extending the ride would be toward the northeast on Alameda Creek Trail off the northern tip of this ride route. That trail can take you about 10 miles up Alameda Creek. You'll be riding on a paved trail if you follow along the southern side of the creek, and on a gravel trail if you do it on the northern side.
You might also want to pay attention to the level of the tide when picking a time to ride here, because, when the tide is low, the exposed mud of the shallow bay shore can give off pretty bad smells. The same applies to any ride you would do along the bay where the coast is shallow and marshy, by the way. I've experienced this on more than one occasion. Depending on how intense the smells are and how calm the air is, it can be pretty stomach-turning. Be warned...
© Ergin Guney
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