West Ridge- Graham- Dunn- Golden Spike- Monteiro- Dunn- Baccharis-West Ridge
This was a great new trail for a midweek run. The trail started at the Skyline Gate parking lot, leading to the right on West Ridge. The West Ridge trail runs in and out of shaded areas and sunny, dry areas that put me in mind of Santa Barbara chaparral. West Ridge leads mainly downhill, but this section gently rolls as opposed to some of the steep drops coming later.
It was a little unclear at times if I had reached a trail junction as opposed to a short trail
leading to the neighborhood nearby, and I needed to stop several times to check my map. However, upon reflection, every time I came to a junction, there was a clear sign. Lesson for Redwood: if there is no sign, it's not a junction. Keep running.
At the intersection of West Ridge and Graham, the trail leads to the right and drops sharply. There is plenty of chance to practice technical downhill running on this trail--there were one or two sections where I did not practice my newfound technique but almost walked, it was so steep.
Graham trail runs through huge redwoods until the junction with Dunn. At this point, the trail leaves the shade and continues to drop down, offering chances to practice quick footwork over big sandstone rocks. I almost took Dunn back but then decided to add a couple of more miles and turned right instead of left, heading towards the EBRPD building. This section gets a little tricky, because it seemed like there were several places to turn off, but eventually I ended up at the Golden Spike turnoff.
I have no idea why the trail is named Golden Spike, but this is a trail worth running. Single track, no bikers (I only saw one other person the whole time I was on the trail-- for a run in Redwood after work, that's pretty impressive.) and probably very muddy in the spring. The trail starts low and almost immediately I found myself running up some very steep switchbacks. The steep uphill sections are not excessively long, but they definitely work the legs. I kept telling myself that practicing uphill in the second half of the run would be good for Ohlone, too. This is a beautiful trail--it winds through trees, offering glimpses of views through the trees and steadily ascending until the Monteiro
trail junction. The Monteiro trail continues up the hill... as does the Baccharis trail-- all the way until ending up back on West Ridge, which I took back to the parking lot.
Again, Redwood is a great place for the pups-- lots of happy dogs bounding down the trails today. It's also worth running Redwood right now to see the plethora of wildflowers lining the trails. Sticky Monkey Flower can last in the heat of summer, but many of the tiny wildflowers out now will not last past a few hot weekends.