San Mateo County

Date reviewed - 8/05
Fun . . . . . . . . 4
Difficulty . . . . .Medium to High
Traffic . . . . . . Light
Driveways . . . .Light
Condition . . . . Good
Length . . . . . .21 miles

Pescadero Creek Road and Alpine Road are really two different roads but put together they get you from Highway 1 on the coast to Highway 35 on the east side of San Mateo County. Taken from west to east this road gets progressively smaller and more difficult to drive but it is quite fun the whole way.

Just east of Highway 1 is the small town of Pescadero; note that there is a 35mph speed-limit through town. At the stop light Stage Rd. heads north and crosses Highway 84 to eventually meet up with Highway 1. About mile further east is Cloverdale Rd. heading south back to Highway 1. These roads could be driven north-south as an alternate to Highway 1 but on my trip north I missed Cloverdale Rd. and ended up taking Pescadero Creek all the way from the coast.

As soon as you leave town heading east the road gets quite narrow and very curvy. There are a few houses and driveways for the first few miles but these thin out quickly. When I drove the road it was in the middle of a repaving project that was scheduled to be finished 11/05, so the 2006 season should find this road in great shape. The other hazard to watch for is the gutters than have been dug along either side of the road, you wouldn't want your tires to come off the pavement here.

The road winds it's way along a creek for a while and then climbs up over a ridgeline, breaking out of the trees for just a second and then dropping you right back down the other side. Watch out for the driveways and possible traffic for several recreational parks and campgrounds at the eastern end.

When you come to a "Y" intersection, heading left will keep you on Pescadero Creek to Highway 84 but turning left will lead you on to Alpine Rd. I really can't believe that they call this a road, it's more like an oversized bike-path. My radar-detector was a joke, I don't think there is even a posted limit on this road and 50 mph on the "straights" was pretty scary. It alternates from 1 lane in each direction with a centerline to a 1 lane road; eventually they just gave up measuring and painted a line down the middle regardless of the width. The pavement is in pretty bad shape, there aren't any warning signs or guardrails, and don't even think about a call box. That said, I sure did have a big smile on my face when I reached the end. Just be sure the suspension in your car is up to a descent beating before you head for Alpine Rd.

At the western end you wind through some amazing old redwood trees along the creek and eventually work your way up another ridge where you get some pretty amazing views of the surrounding valleys if you dare to take your eyes off the road. Luckily the only real traffic up here are the locals and it seems pretty light. At the "T" intersection with Portola State Rd. turn left if you are headed east (you will have a stop sign), and turn right if you are headed east. Portola State looks good on a map but it is a dead end so if you have some time to kill you could give it a shot. East of the intersection the road is slightly wider, almost a "real" road. As with Pescadero Creek a re-paving project looked to be in the works.

- Back to Region

Red: Pescadero Creek Rd.
Blue: Alpine Rd.
Yellow (north): Stage Rd.
Yellow (south): Cloverdale Rd.
Green: Page Mill Rd.

Pescadero Creek Rd.
Alpine Rd. with Page Mill east of the 36 (green).
Running along the ridge on Alpine Rd.