Updated: Aug 11, 2020
Flow trail is all about thrill of speed, rhythm, featuring berms, rollers, jumps and endless excitement.
The drive was almost an hour and a half. The tribe today was a big group with folks having varying interests - mountain bikers, hikers, pups looking for some goofy adventure and small kids on a nature walk. Interestingly the Soquel Demonstration Forest in Santa Cruz had something for all, making it a super fun day in the mountains.
Undoubtedly the most amazing mountain biking trail in California.
The Flow Trail at the Soquel Demonstration Forest, has been rated as the best mountain biking trail in California, why was that? We were soon going to find out for ourselves! On the drive we had to stop twice because two of the tribe junior members weren't feeling too well on the zig zag super windy roads leading into the dense forests towards the trailhead.
As we drove towards the trailhead, all we could see was mountain bikers, with the coolest bikes that we had ever seen. Some of the cars had 5-6 mountain bikes, some on the roof, some at the back. The excitement was starting to build up!!
Given the group had varying interests, we split into two groups, those who would take on the Flow Trail on mountain bikes and those who were going to enjoying hiking the woods. The initial part of the trail is a wide fire road, this was the tribes first time here, so the terrain was new to us. The mountain biking members were a bit lost trying to navigate the best route to the Flow trail. Taking navigation assistance from a few bikers on the way, we realized that we had missed out on the actual turn that led to the Flow Trail. The good news was that we could still access the trail through the current route, however the bad news was that this was the steepest approach, 4 long miles of steady steep climb was ahead of us. Given the tree cover and relatively cooler temperatures, we decided to continue onward. At about 60% done we needed to refuel, hydrate and energize ourselves. Another two hours of grueling climb we reached the start of the flow trail.
There are 7 segments of the flow trail with all different obstacles. This is nothing like we had ever done before. The first segment was definitely the toughest because it had so many roots and rocks. It was so hard that in some parts we had to walk the bike. Given all the protective gear on us, we decided we should flow, but with caution. The next 6 segments spoke more to the name of the trail. There was steep downhill and right after that, some steep uphills, it almost seemed like nature had orchestrated it to manage the speed runs very well. There were plenty of berms which we slowed down on because we were still learning to go fast on berms. There were a lot of drops on logs, some of us had experience navigating the logs, having done some small staircases before. There were also some dirt jumps but not that many. I loved hitting those dirt jumps but some of them were way too big. The adrenaline on the 'Flow' was something else, we soon realized the thrill of this trail, that made it the best mountain biking trail in California.
There was a little mishap on segment 3, trail was a little slippery and Mr. Flow was going at a decent speed and didn’t take a good look on the maneuver and next thing you know his front wheel started slipping, and he had a sideways fall. He was lucky to have escaped without injury. The last 3 segments of the trail were definitely my favorite but the most favorite part was the part were there was a skinny log which you had to ride on and then jump of the other side. Narrow singletrack trails course down ridges, on old logs. After about 1 hour of super thrilling experience, tribe decided to head back and meet the rest of the group.
Hikers along with the junior tribe members and pups had their share of fun, hunting down these abandoned cars in the Santa Cruz mountains. Each one was cooking their own scary stories about these cars and how they may have landed into the woods. They enjoyed walking on logs, running in the woods and spotting wildlife along the way. They also did a picnic in the woods and enjoyed spending time in nature. Hikers were a minority on the trail, and it was very evident that the big fun on this trail was mountain biking.
It was a unanimous decision that the tribe needs to come back for some more fun to the Soquel Demonstration Forest.
Learning's from the tribe - Some surprises are more pleasant than you may have imagined it to be - enjoy in the moment, go with the flow!