San Francisco

IF YOU'VE HAD your fill of lingering summer fog, yoga-mat gridlock, and a whole lotta dazed and confused former dotcommers, now's the time to leave your heart in San Francisco but take the rest of you out yonder to Sierra peaks and serene redwood forests.

Sep 1, 2002
Outside Magazine
The Adrenaline Rush

YET ANOTHER urban-extreme-sport has gone mainstream: Experience the butt-numbing luge down 2.5-mile-long Dinosaur Point, the country's longest recreational street-luging road, in Pacheco State Park, 100 miles south of San Francisco. Wild Fro Racing will help you navigate it ($195; 866-584-3888,

Deetjen's Big Sur Inn

LEAVE THE CITY BY 3 p.m. on Friday and head 55 miles south on California 1 to Costanoa Coastal Lodge and Camp, a sprawling 40-acre compound near Pescadero with a 40-room lodge, cabins, tent cabins, and RV and tent sites surrounded by 30,000 acres of trails (tent sites to premium lodge rooms, $30-$240; 650-879-1100, Drop off your bags and ride your mountain bike 9.5 miles from Costanoa to Big Basin Redwoods State Park (831-338-8860,, turning around at Sunset Camp.

On Saturday, hike the three-mile Ohlone Ridge Loop from Costanoa before driving a half-hour to Santa Cruz for a lesson at the Richard Schmidt Surf School ($80 per hour; 831-423-0928, Then head 25 minutes south on California 1 to Kayak Connection, the first driveway past Moss Landing State Beach. Rent a kayak ($30 per four hours; 831-724-5692, and paddle alongside the sea otters, pelicans, and seals of the Elkhorn Slough Sanctuary (831-728-2822, Later, drive six miles past Carmel on California 1 and look for pull-out parking on the left near a row of cypress trees. Hike the 4.5-mile Rocky Ridge loop trail up into Soberanes Canyon in Garrapata State Park (831-624-4909). From there it's 30 minutes south on California 1 to Deetjen's Big Sur Inn, a rustic, Norwegian-style lodge tucked into Castro Canyon (doubles, $75-$195; 831-667-2377,
Next morning, drive ten minutes south to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (831-667-2315) for a hike along the 4.5-mile redwood-canopied Ewoldsen Trail before turning your car northward. Just east of Monterey, take California 68 toward Salinas, stopping off at Fort Ord Public Lands (831-394-8314,, an untamed wilderness with some 90 miles of trails. Mountain bike the double- and singletrack Guidotti Goat Trail Loop for 13 miles of Salinas Valley views. Continue about 45 minutes to Hollister and a 6 p.m. skydiving date ($239 per person, oxygen included; Adventure Center Skydiving, 800-386-5867) before the 1.5-hour drive via U.S. 101 back home.

THE BIG PICTURE: Caught in the crawl space between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite, the Mokelumne Wilderness straddles the central Sierra Nevada with 100-plus miles of difficult trails. A sampler: a 20-mile round-trip summit of 9,332-foot Moke-lumne Peak. Resources: Pick up a USGS Mokelumne Wilderness map and your free overnight permit at the Amador District Ranger Office, about 20 miles east of Jackson on California 88 (209-295-4251).

TWENTY YEARS and 10,000 volunteers later, the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail, a hiking, biking, and equestrian loop that circumnavigates Lake Tahoe, is open for business. One particularly salivating overnight stretch: Christopher's Loop, a 1.2-mile spur trail 12 miles in from the Spooner Summit North trailhead. The hike is at 8,600 feet, but it seems you can almost reach out and touch the aquamarine water, 6,300 feet below (775-588-0686,

ONE GUEST-BOOK notation reads, "I feel like creamed corn." No doubt you, too, will feel mushy at the Milliken Creek Inn, a 12-room hideaway that opened in August 2001, five minutes east of Napa, set on three acres of oak and pine alongside the Napa River (doubles, $295-$525; 707- 255-1197, If the mellow background jazz and the pillow menu at check-in don't hook you, the breakfast served anywhere you want it, candlelit Jacuzzis, custom massages, and private yoga lessons will.