Old Haul Road Trail from Wurr Road to Portola Redwoods State Park

For Andrew’s birthday this year, I bought him a book on mountain biking in the Bay Area, along with the promise that I would come out for a ride at least once.

(I generally have a fear of proper mountain biking, I don’t feel like I have the skill or balance or coordination on two wheels that I have on my two feet!)

This ride came from that book, and seemed like a good starter ride for those none too confident in their bike riding skills (like myself).

The ride took us along the Old Haul Road trail from Wurr Road right into Portola Redwoods State Park.

The parking lot on Wurr Road

The view from the parking lot on Wurr Road

You can get the park brochure here. You follow Old Haul Road right to the SP boundary, where a signpost directs you into the park.

Portola Redwoods State Park

The book quotes the ride as being 12 miles, but as you can see below, Endomondo disagrees a little.

15.06.21 Endomondo Data

As you ride into the park down a steep bit of trail, you come across the remains of the Iverson Cabin. It had stood from the 1860s until Loma Prieta finished it off in 1989.

Iveson Cabin

The sign reads:

“At this site stood the cabin of Christian Iverson, the first european settler of record. Built in the 1860’s, the cabin was constructed of hand split redwood and had two rooms. It stood until the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989.

Iverson made his living in this area splitting redwood shakes, working for local farmers, doing road work, and other odd jobs. Iverson had an eventful past working as a pony express rider and as a stage coach shotgun guard.

The famous of these events was a shoot out with Captain Harry Love in the streets of Santa Clara. Captain Love was the former head of the California Rangers, who were responsible for the capture of the famous outlaw Joaquin Murrietta. At the time of the shootout, Iverson was working as a bodyguard and foreman for Mrs Love, much to the displeasure of her husband. Harry Love attempted to ambush and kill Iverson, but in the ensuing gun fight Iverson received only minor wounds. However, in the exchange of gunfire Iverson shot Harry Love who died from his injuries. Mrs Love died later of gunshot wounds she received during the fight.”

Hmmmmm…. perhaps he wasn’t a particularly good bodyguard. But I do love it when there are random historical artifacts and structures along the way 🙂

There is a visitor center in the park, along with restrooms and water, but the restrooms we went to beside the visitor center are closed to conserve water, so just behind the visitor center, there are instead portable toilets.


I recommend you take some wipes or sanitizer for your hands!

The trail is pretty smooth as is a road used by park trucks, and previously used to haul logs out of the woods in bygone days. It is also nice and shaded, which keeps things nice and cool.

Tree face

Overall it was a nice intro for me….. but I am still scared of going down hills!

Happy Birthday Andrew!

Andrew + Trees

Note: you can also hike the exact same route, and there are some extra trails off the main trail that are closed to bikers, but open to hikers. Also, if any bikers fancy it, you can lock up your bikes at the visitor center and take a short hike to see some mighty big trees!

Almaden Quicksilver County Park: Hacienda Entrance

Almaden Quicksilver County Park is pretty much our favourite park to hike. The facilities are great, the trails are varied, it is pretty close, and the parking is easy and free. It also has lots of old mining buildings, structures, and equipment dotted around the park, which I find pretty interesting to look at.

Almaden Old Structures

The park is mainly dry and crispy right now, but the occasional area is green and covered in trees.

Tree Lined Trails

Also there are still some beautiful wildflowers around:

Almaden Wildflowers

You can find the complete trail map for the park on the sccgov.org website here.

We had Andrew’s parents visiting from the UK, so wanted to keep the hike reasonably short and not too strenuous.

Trail Map

We parked at and entered through the Hacienda entrance and followed:

Mine Hill Trail – English Camp Trail – English Camp – Yellow Kid Trail – Yellow Kid Trail (past the Rotary Furnace) – Wood Road Trail – Castillero Trail – English Camp Trail – Deep Gulch Trail.

Here is the route as tracked using Endomondo:

2015.06.13 Endomondo Data

2015.06.13 Endomondo Speed and Height Data

Some of the trails are strictly hiking trails, and a little overgrown with vegetation, such as the Yellow Kid Trail as pictured below:

Yellow Kid Trail

But all the yellow flowers are pretty, so I can’t be that sad about it.

The route was partly shaded, but mostly exposed, so we were glad we went earlier in the day when it wasn’t as warm. Even so we ended up feeling pretty hot and sweaty by the end of the hike.


One added bonus was that we saw two deer in the trees!


They were kind of photo shy.

We finished off our morning with a quick look around the Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum, then a well earned Brunch 🙂