Big Basin

Original post date: July 15, 2020

This is a great ride through the redwoods that is great for experiencing scenery with a chance to view the ocean.

Overall the ride is very smooth and not too gruelling. There is only one stretch with a steep grade over 10%, but it only lasts 1.3 miles.

I usually park where Highway 9 and Highway 236 meet. There is plenty of parking along the side of the road, although you're not allowed to park farther up on Highway 9. You also have the option to park inside Big Basin at the park headquarters or add miles and start up at Skyline at park at the Saratoga Gap lot. Personally I do not like to end with a climb, so if I add miles I will do the climb up to Skyline from 9/236 and then come back down to do the rest of the ride shown on the map below. However, the northern three miles of Highway 9 by Skyline are pretty narrow compared to the southern three miles by 236, so keep that in mind.

The main road through the park, Highway 236, was recently paved and there are many great decents throughout the ride. The first one comes about three miles in right before you approach the Big Basin Park Headquarters. Also, a little bit before this first descent you have a chance to get a view of the ocean if it's a clear day. You will also find a nice little descent at about the 11 mile mark, but this is pretty straight and not very scenic, so if you like speed just keep your head down and keep pedaling! Before the last descent, you'll do a climb up China Grade Road. The road is quite rough, but most of the time you'll be doing a mild climb and then you hit the steep part at the last 1.3 miles to get back up to Highway 236. Then you get to do an awesome descent similar to the one in the beginning for the last 3 miles on the way back to where you parked.