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Length 14.5 miles
Time 4.5 hours
Total Climb 2950 feet
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Boggs Mountain

Unfortunately, the "Valley Fire" of September 2015 has burned through the entire area of the Boggs Mountain Demonstration Forest (and then some), making it impossible to do this ride as I describe it here or to see it as I show it in my photos. What I've read is that the trail network has started to open back up partially around July 2018. You will also find a viewer comment from August 2020 at the bottom of this page reporting that some of the original singletrack at Boggs, including some trails that are in this ride descripton, are now also back in use. This doesn't mean that you can now replicate this whole ride again, or not even that you can do an alternate version that could be similarly satisfactory. But, I will leave this page here anyway, showing how things used to be here, at least until enough of the rest of the trail network reopens to make it worthwhile again to schlep all the way up here for a bike ride.

I'm not sure what it is about "demonstration forests", but Boggs Demonstration State Forest is one of only three demonstration forests that I know of within driving range of the Bay Area, and just like its Soquel and Jackson counterparts, it's chock full of first-class, advanced, singletrack trails that seem to be tailor-made for mountain bikers. There is enough singletrack mileage at Boggs to occupy any rider for the better part of a day. Meanwhile, there are no extreme elevation changes or extended climbs to struggle through in order to enjoy these trails, although the terrain is almost never flat and will still give you a serious workout.

I read that the trails at Boggs were initially built by the employees of the Forestry Service for their own riding enjoyment. I don't know about the applicability of this to the current trail system here, but it's immediately noticeable that many trails here are named after people, such as Karen's Trail, Berry's Trail, Gail's Trail, etc. So, in some cases, as you ride on a trail here that you like, you'll have an idea as to the name of the person to whom you presumably owe the pleasure.

Other than a few limited segments, the trails on this ride are not terribly technical, which seems to be the rule when it comes to the characteristics of the trails at Boggs in general. Most are pretty smooth forest singletrack of relatively short length that connect segments of the tight mesh of dirt "forest roads" to each other.

Some trails at Boggs presented an odd riding challenge to me that I hadn't encountered before. Perhaps I should call it a "navigation challenge" instead, because I'm talking about the occasional difficulty in following the trail due to a thick and even layer of dried pine needles covering the ground. I've seen this mostly in a few trails in the northwestern half of the park, and even there it's not throughout the entire length of any trail, of course. It might be a seasonal condition (this ride was in December) and it was really bad only in a few limited stretches.

With the large number of trails at Boggs that are all tightly interconnected, one can't point to one or two routes as the obviously preferable ones. The possibilities are extensive. What I was attempting with the route selection of this particular ride is to fit as many of the most popular trails at Boggs as I can into a single ride of manageable length, and to do them in the preferable direction for each trail. Of course, no single ride can achieve that perfectly and neither does this one, especially since I had to take a shortcut to a quicker completion near the end due to running out of time. But, this is as close as I can get to that ideal on my first ride attempt at Boggs, based on the pre-ride prep/research work I was able to do.

One word of warning about the GPS track of this ride first: My GPS acted up a little while doing this ride and parts of the track data are not as accurate as the tracks of the other rides on this site. It still reflects the general routing of the ride fairly well, but don't try to make pinpoint decisions about turns or junctions based solely on the GPS track, at least on the stretch of the ride through Big Springs Trail and John's Trail. Thankfully, trails at Boggs Mountain are well signed. The signs may be small and sometimes easy to miss (most notably at the turn from Forest Road 100 onto Big Springs Trail in my particular case) but I don't remember any junction without one.

The ride consists of two sub-loops and starts with a climb on Mac's Trail that's a good warm-up without becoming over the top in difficulty. You continue onto Hoberg's Loop without much challenge but also without much excitement. Rocky patches on the trail multiply a little bit as you start working uphill more strenuously when you connect to the brief segment of Boggs Ridge Trail before a "vista point" marked on the park's map. Perhaps you might have better luck than me with the view from the vista point, but I wasn't able to find any view there. Maybe the designation is left over from a time when the vegetation was less dense.

After the vista point, a tight and fun scramble up Karen's Trail takes you to the first fire road on the ride, which is Scout Trail. That doesn't last long though, because Scout Trail quickly transforms back into singletrack as you keep going. This trail leads you to one of the potentially confusing areas in the park where many trails meet, where you'll be picking up Jethro's Trail. Jethro's Trail is a descending singletrack when done in this direction and I found it to be the beginning of some serious fun on this ride, because it's a bit more rocky and technical than the other trails up to that point on the ride.

Jethro's Trail deposits you onto a fire road: Forest Road 300. A brief segment on this featureless dirt road brings you to the beginning of the next singletrack near the compound intersection with Forest Road 200 and Forest Road 100. This next singletrack is Game Trail. It stands out in my mind as the most fun part of this particular ride. I got a sense that this is one of the lesser used trails in the park. If that's correct, it's a shame. This trail is never boring, often narrow, and constantly fun and technical, with plenty of twists, turns, rock gardens, and one or two minor stream crossings. And all of these while the trail's attitude varies between flat and gently descending.

Game Trail leads you to a short stretch on Forest Road 110; another fire road. This happened to be the only part of my ride that had some puddles and muddy spots, despite the fact that I was doing the ride well after the latest rains. This might have something to do with the fact that this spot is at the lowest elevation of the entire route. Forest Road 110 quickly brings you to another somewhat confusing intersection with Forest Road 100. It's confusing only because Stinger trail has a short segment that starts just before this intersection, after which it crosses Forest Road 100 anyway on its way to Grizzly Trail. Even if you miss this brief section and pick up Stinger directly from Forest Road 100, you won't miss much, and you'll immediately start one of the significant climbs of the ride.

Stinger Trail switchbacks up the ridge in order to regain some of the elevation you lost up to that point. At the time of my ride, its earliest stretches had a lumpy and "messy" fire road appearance (as if it were built or repaired very recently). It quickly turns into a narrow and fairly techy singletrack while maintaining a moderately steep grade. Right at the end of the steeper portion of this climb, I've found Stinger Trail becomes a little harder to follow as it turns uphill toward Forest Road 300 and comes almost within spitting range of that road. However, instead of connecting to that road, the trail doubles back to roughly parallel it as it continues essentially flatly.

Before long, Stinger Trail ends at a junction with Grizzly Trail after which you continue on the latter. Grizzly Trail is another fun singletrack, though I'm not sure my rating for it would be as high as that for Game Trail. Part of my impression may have to do with the fact that, as traversed on this particular ride, this trail is an ongoing moderate uphill effort. On another ride, I wouldn't mind trying out this trail in the opposite direction. Grizzly Trail also temporarily connects to and then separates away from Forest Road 100 as it roughly follows the contours of the hillside.

When Grizzly Trail connects to Forest Road 100 one last time, you'll start following this fire road for a while. It will take you through an intersection with Forest Road 300 (stay on the left to continue on Forest Road 100) and eventually lead you to the start of Big Springs Trail after the longest fire road segment on the ride. This junction with Big Springs Trail was the one that gave me the most difficulty on this particular ride. Both the start of this trail and its trail sign are very easy to miss when approaching in the direction of this ride, though they're both fairly obvious from the opposite direction. As a quick pointer, the trail junction is not far after the road crosses Malo Creek (announced on a sign), and if you reach the beginning of Charlie's Trail or the gate that marks the park boundary, you've gone too far.

Big Springs Trail is a tight and technical hillside singletrack. Traversed in the direction on this ride, it will be a climb. I would rank this as the second of the two significant climbs on this ride. I can see how this trail can be an exhilarating stretch of the ride if done in the downhill direction.

After reaching Forest Road 600 and picking up John's Trail at another junction on that road only a few seconds away, the climbing attitude of the ride will continue, but at a much diminished grade. John's Trail is less technical than Big Springs as well as being an easier climb in this direction, though it's still an enjoyable, twisty, hillside singletrack.

The next singletrack course on the menu for this ride is Berry's Trail, which you find after a brief fire-road stint on Forest Roads 300 and 400 following the end of John's Trail. Berry's Trail is even tamer than John's Trail and continues more or less flatly. As you continue on this trail, you'll start getting pretty close to some more populated camping and picnic areas of the park. The thick layer of pine needles on the ground making it harder to follow the trail (though not significantly so) also returns as you arrive in these parts. Finally, you reach the junction of Scout and Jethro's Trails once again and complete the large sub-loop that you had started when you took Jethro's Trail.

After this point, this ride retraces some of its steps on Scout Trail before turning onto Shaker Trail. This is the part of the ride where I had to make a last-minute adjustment due to time pressure. If I had had more time than I did, I would have taken Gail's Trail after this to Houghton Creek Trail and followed that one back to the parking lot. Instead, I was forced to follow Shaker Trail all the way to the parking lot. Along the way, Shaker Trail shares its path with a different stretch of Gail's Trail, as it combines with it and then re-separates. Overall, this is a narrow trail that's a fun way to descend back to your car, though it doesn't get technical enough to be interesting until its final stretches just before the end of the ride.

© Ergin Guney


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