Location: El Corte de Madera
Miles: 13-30 miles (Depending on loops and trails ridden)
Difficulty: Moderate – Difficult (Advanced Riders)
Duration: 2 hours (You’ll cover about 8 miles)
Users: Mountain bikers, Hikers. No wheelchair access.
Features: Start at roadside parking area as noted on the map. There will be an obvious trailhead there. I have done this loop clockwise and counter-clockwise, and found that by going clockwise, you spend more downhill miles on singletracks – except for the Blue BlossomTrail, which is best ridden the other way. There will be a creek crossing on Methuselah Trail. Some of the better singletrack trails are Steam Donkey, Blue Blossom, Giant Salamander, Methuselah (with a creek crossing!), North Leaf and Sierra Morena.
What an awesome trail system!
There are some singletrack and fire roads mixed in, but once you finally get on the singletrack it’s too sweet! You’ll be enjoying well-maintained bench cut trails, and soothing scenery deep in the redwoods. Some of the trails are used much more than others, and at times it can feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. To be honest, the trailhead says it’s about 20 miles of riding, but according to my GPS it’s more like 40 miles!
There are fire roads and singletracks with difficulty ranging from “take the kids” to “see the face of God and piss yourself.” Skeggs is also known as El Corte de Madera OSP. the terrain is 2nd growth redwood forest surrounding some superb single track and awesome Kamikaze down-hills. If you just want to do a quick 8-mile loop, Skeggs has you covered. If you want a multi-mile vomit-fest all you need to do is link a couple of loops together and test your will!
Fellow singletrack junkies should definitely check out: Fir trail, Manzanita trail, Giant salamander trail, and Resolution trail!
The Sierra Morena loop is very fun! Fir is an easy fire road that dumps you almost immediately down some sweet singletrack on Resolution trail. This is a very fast and very fun ride with lots of trees and rocks to dodge. North Leaf is on an often off-camber hill which demands some elegance with your bike handling and is for advanced riders. Methusela is a sweet downhill bomb of over half a mile. Methusela is significantly wider than the previously mentioned trails and there are several jumps to send you soaring – just watch for corners! Then up, up, up before connecting with Morena and wrapping up your ride!
Note: Skeggs has a vast network of trails so be sure to grab a copy of the map at the trailhead. It’s easy to get lost if it’s your first time there.
Top 3 Adventure Hacks
1) Stay hydrated
You could wear a hydration pack! You’ll never go thirsty with this one.
2) Bring a copy of a map
There are a lot of trails connected in this area, so don’t get lost. Always know where you are.
3) Stop and enjoy nature around you
A trip in the middle of a natural forest isn’t complete if you don’t stop and appreciate your surroundings. Be sure to take a break and breathe in the fresh air.