South County Explorations

Although I live near Santa Cruz, most of the cyclists I’ve met and know in this area live or ride on San Francisco Peninsula Roads. Now that I work in Santa Clara, I have opportunity to explore South Bay roads. Last night I ventured even further south to Morgan Hill so I can try the Coyote Creek Trail for the first time.

The Coyote Creek Trail connects Morgan Hill to Hellyer Park and South San Jose with a 20 mile (mostly) paved multi-use path that meanders along Coyote Creek and several county parks, fishing lakes, and open space. Lots and lots of open space. Because the path is fairly isolated, other trail users are few and far between much beyond the trailheads.

I made the mistake of starting in Morgan Hill and riding north in the evening. The locals know a stiff wind blows out of the north with nothing but some scraggly trees to block the wind, and I struggled to keep my speed above 15 MPH. Next time I go into Morgan Hill, I’ll bike south and continue to Gilroy or Watsonville or something, or maybe take a train or bus back to San Jose.

The meanderings seem pleasant for recreating, but for A to B travel the serpentine routing detracts from the otherwise excellent features of this trail. Where the Coyote Creek Trail comes parallel to Monterey Highway at Metcalf Road, I bailed off of the trail and onto the straight road for the rest of my ride into San Jose.

The road routes between Morgan Hill and San Jose seem to be Monterey Highway and Santa Teresa / Hale. Which is these is better for cycling on?

Strava ride log of last night’s ride.


  1. For San Jose Morgan Hill, I much prefer the reservoir route through Almaden Valley and then out past Uvas and Chesbro.  It’s a fun ride and if you want to loop back around to Santa Cruz, you can stay in the foothills all they way down to Mt. Madonna.  

  2. For straight A to B type stuff, I prefer going on Santa Teresa/Hale, if only because VTA Bus 68 runs along that road in case something happens to me or my bike. Santa Teresa also takes you to the aptly named Santa Teresa light rail station. Also, it’s prettier than Monterey Road.

  3. I was eyeballing the map for those mountain roads and they look inviting. It
    appears there’s at least one of those back roads from Uvas that eventually
    runs into Summit Road if I want to bypass Watsonville.

  4. I’ve seen that as well, though I’ve heard that the road up from Uvas is private.  Not sure if it is actually private or “private” in the manner of several roads up in the hills where the residents have a slightly different view than the authorities…

  5. I also found a similar log on Strava marked by Naoto who is your friend the other day. He rode to Santa Cruz.

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