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Los Altos-Woodside

The Los Altos-Woodside route encompasses several different routes along Foothill Expressway.

Park: Los Altos - Woodside
Date: Multiple
Distance: Up to 50 miles
Ride Time: Up to 2:52
Total Ascent: 2,700 feet
Overall Rating: 8
Highway 9 Route SF Elevation Profile

This very popular route travels along and through the base of the coastal mountain range along the peninsula. There is not a single route but a variety of roads that present both a restful ride in that there is usually light to little traffic or the shoulders are wide. There is no right or wrong combination of roads.

At the south end of the area one can ride around Stevens Creek reservoir. This is pretty nice ride and the part near the reservoir has a single stop sign  at Mt. Eden Road so there aren't too many interruptions. You can include a detour up Montebello Road, connect to Highway 9, ride to the end of Stevens Canyon Road or head to Los Gatos and points farther south.

The backbone of this route is Foothill Expressway from Cupertino to Palo Alto. While this is a large and high speed road, it has very wide shoulders and lots of cyclists so drivers are accustomed to sharing the road. This makes it easy to get up to speed and hold it. The only downside is that sometimes you just can't hit any of the stop lights. Most of the major roads on the west side offer interesting rides into the hills.

At the north end of Foothill Expressway, you can continue on Alameda de las Pulgas ("the road of the fleas") which is more of a main road through residential neighborhoods. Alpine Road, Sand Hill Road, Woodside Road and Edgewood Road are the major connectors to the west. All of these involve a bit of climbing to the top (near Interstate 280) but it is not too steep or very long. If you want to go farther, you can continue on Alameda de las Pulgas all the way to Belmont continue north from there.

The eastern side of the loop consists of Canada Road to Woodside. Woodside it a good place to grab a coffee, a pastry or a snack at one of the shops. From there, you can ride on Whiskey Hill Road to Sand Hill Road and back to Foothill Expressway. A more popular and scenic route is to head along Mountain Home Road to Portola Road and the Alpine Road junction. There is another opportunity to grab coffee or a snack here if you missed it in Woodside. Rather than continue into Palo Alto amongst the traffic, I usually head up Arastradero Road and back to Foothill Expressway and generally head home.

As another alternative off of Arastradero, head out Purissima Road to the end at Robleda Road. Just across is the trailhead for the O'Keefe Trail, an easy connector to O'Keefe Lane that is easily doable on a road bike. Go to the end, take a short left on El Monte Road and then a right on Summerhill Ave to the end. A short left on Magdelena and then a left onto Hillview Drive and Fairway Drive for a nice ride past the Los Altos Golf and Country Club. This takes you to Loyola Drive and back to Foothill Expressway.

The number of alternatives, the ability to take a nice break in the middle and the number of other riders makes this an interesting ride. It is quite easy to shorten or stretch this ride out as dictated by the time available or how you are feeling. Give it a try!

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