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El Corte de Madera Creek

El Corte de Madera Creek OSP, also known as Skegg's Point or just Skegg's, is a premier mountain biking destination. Located just off Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35) near the top of King's Mountain Road, this open space preserve offers lots of singletrack and a variety of scenery. The weather here is usually pretty good, and we have had good rides here year round.

Park: El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space (Skegg's Point)
Date: Multiple
Distance: 10.8 to 16.6 miles
Ride Time: Varies
Total Ascent: 3,115 to 6,265 feet
Map: Official trail map
Overall Rating: 9

The most popular starting point is the large parking lot off of Skyline Blvd (be careful getting in and out). From here, ride slightly north (back towards Kings Mountain Road) and cross the highway to go through the gate into the open space preserve. This is one of the few rides where you start the ride with a downhill. Riding down the El Corte de Madera Creek trail, you are instantly in the redwood forest, with the air getting cooler and moister as you descend. The first part is wide and fairly steep downhill. What starts off as fire road width soon became singletrack winding along the side of the mountain within about a mile of the top. This is a beautiful part of the ride as the trail as we went in and out, up and down with the beautiful green forest surrounding us.

At the bottom of El Corte de Madera Creek, pick up Resolution trail (roughly the first major valley in the profile above). This starts what seems like a long uphill up through part of the Fir trail (first major peak). A bit of checking on the GPS data shows it is only 1.5 miles with an average grade of 8%, but some sections approach 20%.

After a quick check of your bearings, head down Methuselah trail. This starts out as a fire road that turns into single track. At the end of this trail, pick up Giant Salamander trail, named after the amphibians that inhabit the creek at the bottom of this ravine. This section has a few steep, narrow trails to negotiate, but they are not too bad.

Once the creek is crossed, it is time to start the climb out. This is about 1900 feet of climbing (and 800 descending) in a bit under 3 miles on Timberview and then Manzanita trails. This is a pretty long grind! It is easier to ride Crosscut and Crossover to Gordon Mill.

An alternative starting point is at the CM03 gate on Skyline. From here, you can ride northwest along the Sierra Morena trail to Fir. This runs parallel to Skyline. Bearing left onto Fir, turn right onto Resolution. This is a beautiful single track. Continue down onto El Corte de Madera Creek all the way to the bottom at the creek. Continue onto North Leaf and Methuselah.

The shorter and easier way back at this point is up Methuselah and Giant Salamander, followed by Timberview, Crosscut, Crossover and Gordon Mill back up to the starting point at the CM03 gate. The pain-seekers among you will instead choose South Leaf, Virginia Mill and Lawrence Creek. If you have decided that this choice was foolish, finish off with a short road ride on Bear Gulch Road back to Skyline and the starting point. If you need still more, go down Blue Blossom (a fun trail) and then up Steam Donkey. Lather, rinse, repeat until you are tired.

Bring plenty of water with when you ride here, especially on a hot day. There is no water to be found and the hill climbing can really bring out a sweat. I recommend a good snack or two as well, especially if it is hot.

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