Today I did a test drive of my route to Lake Vasona which I will take for kayaking. I’ve confirmed it’s just under three hours round trip, so I can only do it on days when I can dedicate around five hours to spending time on the water. The good news is that it is a pleasant and safe route. I already knew how to get from my home to Almaden Lake Park in South San Jose on a nice drive. It’s a bit more difficult to get from there to Lake Vasona in Los Gatos without going through busy streets that don’t have bike lanes. I plotted the route using ridewithGPSand I crossed it with the Vta Santa Clara Bike Route Map. When in doubt, I used Google Street View to make sure all major roads I was using had bike lanes.
It’s just over six miles further to get from Lake Almaden to Lake Vasona. Much of it is on the way to Guadalupe Creek which was a great find. I hiked the Guadalupe trail which goes mostly north to south. You can take it from Almaden Lake Park several miles north to Alviso on San Francisco Bay (with some interruptions on local roads). What I didn’t know was that there was another branch heading west towards Los Gatos. Turns out it’s not paved but smooth with packed gravel. The bigger tires on my bike allowed me to ride smoothly on this nice section. After the end of this trail there is weaving mostly on quieter streets, with a few sections on busier roads with bike paths like Los Gatos Almaden Road. A great urban adventure! This confirms that it is well worth the time it takes to plot a safe route in an area you are not used to riding in.