Glorious Bonanza Loop – Prep

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I set a goal for myself in 2016: to sleep outside once a month. I’m squeaking in just under the January deadline, heading out on Saturday and getting back home on Sunday the 31st. I’m planning a 110 mile weekend loop, sleeping at Fremont Peak and doing the bulk of the riding on Sunday.  Fremont Peak is home to a large 30″ telescope that is only open to the public during the fair months of the year. Astronomers frequent the park’s series of telescope pads for star parties and overnight trips the sky is exceptionally clear. At about 2700′ elevation,  they’re well above the lights of Hollister below.

My route on Saturday will take me across the Salinas valley and over a 10 mile stretch of non-motorized dirt road called Old Stage Road. It’s part of the historic Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail which bears particular significance to the  development of California. Anza blazed the trail from  1775-1776 bringing cattle and settlers north to establish the Presidio and effectively the Town of San Francisco. The Anza trail existed as an access corridor from New Spain for 5 years until the local Indians violently shut it down for the next 40 years, until 1820. Riding this short but well preserved pathway is a historical connection I cherish.

When I leave Fremont Peak campground Sunday morning, I’ll descend only halfway down the hill. I’m planning to turn off the paved San Juan Canyon road and into the Hollister Hills SVRA dirtbike park. I’m hoping no one will notice me as I cruise down North Canyon trail and head right through the front entrance of the park.

My route will contine south along Cienega Rd. and Hwy 25 before heading west over the Gabilan mountain range via Gloria Rd. This 10 mile long dirt road is frequented by cows and dual sport motorcycles, and promises to delight! (Skip ahead in the video to the 3:50 mark)

At the west end of Gloria Rd. I’ll have descended back into the Salinas Valley. A quick jaunt through Gonzalez leads to River Rd. and I’ll take that all the way home.

Here is a link to the Strava route.

  • Distance – 108.3mi 
  • Elevation Gain – 7,903ft 
  • Minimal rain forecasted


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