Butano State Park Part 1 : San Francisco to Butano State Park

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My original plans for this trip was to bike down the Coast from Portland Oregon to Santa Cruz California. Unfortunately I feel sick a week before my start date. I reluctantly decided to purchase a ticket to fly into SFO. Life happens. In search of salvaging my dreams of cycling down the Coast I figured I'd bike to Santa Cruz and camp out at Butano State Park. coffee_map

I picked up a Kreb's South San Francisco Bay & Monterey Bay Areas Bicycle Touring Map. Despite the poor quality of the paper the map ended up being an excellent tool for planning and referencing while out on the road. The idea was to start at Civic Center BART Station and pedal through Golden State Park to the ocean. Take Skyline to La Honda and then La Honda to Pescadero Road. Pescadero Road runs into Cloverdale and then it's just a few miles to Butano State Park.

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Taking off from Albany. From here I had a short pedal to North Berkeley Bart where I could catch the train into San Francisco. The Bay Area is so far behind when it comes to cycling its embarrassing. It blows my mind that you can't ride your bike across the Bay Bridge. Get it together Cal Trans.

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I always get lost when I am in San Francisco. After finding my way to Golden Gate Park I was stoked to run into Jake Honesto who was just coming back from a MTB ride. From there it was a short pedal or coast down to Ocean Beach.

SF_Butano_SC-14 SF_Butano_SC-19Crystal Springs Reservoir has a really awesome pedestrian / bike trail that allows you to bypass a little over 6 miles of Skyline. The detour was definitely worth it and I highly recommend you take this route if your going down Skyline.exhausted_lahonda

La Honda is definitely the longest climb of the day and most of it is in full exposure of the sun. Make sure you fill up your water bottles in Woodside. Roberts Market has a water fountain to fill up bottles. I ate at the cafe across the street. The sandwich was a bit expensive and came with fries which was really unnecessary. Next time I will try a sandwich from Roberts.

At the junction of La Honda and Skyline there is a market and restaurant so if you decided to skip out on food or water at Woodside this will be your last chance for quiet awhile.

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After bombing down a bit of La Honda I turned right on Pescadero Creek Road. This was my first time on Pescadero Road and I found it to be super beautiful. Quiet climbs amongst the Red Woods tucked away from the brutal sun and rednecks on motorcycles.

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Pescadero is a small town just East of Highway 1. Theres a couple really nice grocery stores both with delis and stocked with fresh baked goods. I opted for The Country Bakery. The lady at the counter let me fill up my water bottles at the produce hose which was very kind of her. I picked up a bunch of things for the night. An Italian Sandwich for dinner back at camp, beer! and an It's It which was devoured instantly.

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The Butano State Campgrounds is located just five miles from town making it super convenient for bike camping. Head down Cloverdale Road and you will find the entrance to Butano State Park! Register at the entrance. Six bucks for hiker / bikers. The ride to the campsite through Butano was beautiful but be warned the final climb up into the campsite is pretty challenging!

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After picking a sweet campsite (Site #23 I think?). I set up camp and went straight for my Country Bakery sandwich!

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My Garmin corrupted my data from the ride but here is a map I built of the route I took.

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Campsite notes :

- Butano State Park is a bit East of Highway 1 making it a bit more remote for people traveling down the coast. This is a good thing for us looking to secure a nice site to set up camp. - The Ranger sells wood but not on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Foraging for wood is illegal. - The campsite has water and features a reasonably nice outhouse. No flushing toilets or showers. - No hiker / biker sites but a good amount of walk in sites. - Heavy coverage of trees makes the night fall sooner and the mornings much darker for much longer.

Route notes :

- Make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen as most of Skyline is directly in the sun. - Take the Crystal Springs Reservoir path. You will find a bathroom and water at the entrance. - Eat and replenish water bottles in Woodside before you begun the climb up La Honda. La Honda has little to no shoulder so be aware of cars passing. - No place for water from the top of La Honda to Pescadero. Top off and be ready to do some climbing. - Once your in Pescadero you can relax since the campsite is just five miles away.

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Gear list (Here is a link to a Pinterest Board if you want something more visual):

Bike Gear

  • All City Macho Man : 35c Marathon Supremes. Axiom Journey Rack
  • Ortlieb Bike Packer Plus Panniers
  • REI Stuff Sack + 2 straps for handle bar
  • Revelate Pocket Bag
  • Revelate Saddle Bag
  • Garmin 810
  • Niterider 550 light + Planet Bikes rear
  • CamelBak Podium Big Chill 25oz bottles x2

Cycling Clothing + Gear

  • Search and State + Cadence Collection Jersey
  • Team Dream + Ten Speed Hero Bibs
  • Rapha City + Smartwool socks
  • Giro Bravo gloves
  • Giro Atmos helmet
  • Giro Code shoes
  • Golden Saddle Cyclery cap
  • Defeet wool gloves
  • Search and State arm warmers
  • Defeet baselayer
  • Oakley Flak Jacket XLJ sunglasses
  • Multi tool, mini pump, tubes x2, tire boot, patches, extra chain pin, spare shifter and brake cable
  • Bike lock/li>

Camping Gear

  • Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2
  • Marmot Nanowave 50 bag
  • Snow Peak stove
  • Snow Peak fuel 220
  • Lighter
  • Snow Peak Mini Solo kit
  • Snow Peak 220 cup
  • Snow Peak spork
  • Led headlamp
  • Leatherman wave
  • Cord
  • Sparker
  • Coffee filter!!!!

Clothing

  • Pantagonia nano puff
  • Rapha windbreker
  • Rapha beanie
  • Sandals
  • Merino tights
  • Merino shirt
  • Addidas shorts
  • Merino neck warmer

Toiletries

  • Toothbrush + toothpaste
  • Soap
  • Sunscreen
  • First aid kit
  • Chamois cream
  • Wet naps
  • Backpacking Towel

Gadgets 

  • Map in ziplock bag
  • IPad mini
  • External charger
  • Iphone + cable
  • Garmin cable
  • Canon t1i
  • Canon batteries x2
  • Iphone tripod
  • IPhone wide lens
  • Pen + notebook in ziplock

Food

  • Oatmeal breakfast (oatmeal, fruit, almonds)
  • Beef Jerkey
  • Cliff Bar
  • Cliff Blocks x2
  • Coffee .3 lbs

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So this about sums up Part One of this trip. Hopefully some of you will find this useful. I definitely learned a lot on this trip. Please feel free to shoot me an e-mail with any questions or comments.