Back in the day, a small community of lumbermen, dairy farmers, bootleggers, and hermits started to develop in the far reaches of the Santa Cruz Mountains above the town of Woodside. King's Mountain, named after the King family that settled in near Tunitas and Summit Springs grew into a township and a stopover for the tired travelers and working men that made the trek from Redwood City to San Gregorio, just south of Half Moon Bay.
The Mountain Brow House run by the King matriarch, Hanora, was a favorite destination for all of them, offering a place for rest, food and drink in a pastoral mountain setting. For a while up there on Kings Mountain the rowdy spirit of the Gold Rush was still at play with bar room brawls, gambling and the occasional shoot out. But as the dawn of a new century approached the days of the Gold Rush gave way to a new era and the Brow House eventually closed its doors. Even so, the legend of the Mountain Brow House lives on, and you can still revisit the spot where it all took place,
Where all runners turn around at the top of Purisima Creek Road, and just across Skyline Boulevard is the site where the long forgotten Brow House once stood. Sadly you won't get much rest here on your 50k journey through the Purisima Creek Redwoods, but we will offer you some much needed aid and hydration to get you through the next 26 miles of this grueling 50K.
The race starts high up along Skyline Boulevard in San Mateo, CA in the Purisima Creek North Ridge parking lot. Runners begin with a sharp downhill before entering Harkins Ridge Trail
. This singletrack trail offers some pretty amazing views of the coast and the wooded valley within the preserve.
At the next intersection, runners take a hard left on to the Craig Britton Trail and plunge freely into the depths of the redwoods. A cool canopy of trees keeps it nice and shady as the racers traverse the hillside that soon joins with the Purisima Creek Fire Road
. Head left and follow the fire road all the way up to Skyline Blvd. and the first water station.
Here you'll turn back and head back downhill. Still moving deeper into the forest, the sights and sounds of the forest can be enjoyed along Purisima as runners near their next uphill challenge. With climbing legs ready, the runners will take a left up Grabtown Gulch Trail
and follow it upwards to a hydration, fruit and electrolyte aid stop. Go straight through after getting a drink and run to the turnaround gate at Tunitas Creek Road.
Turn back and start a long descent on the Borden Hatch Mill Trail
which will usher you back out to Purisima Creek. Runners go left as they depart Borden Hatch and move to the fully stocked aid stop at the Purisima Higgins Road parking area. Moving forward, runners will be directed to cross a bridge, head left and pick up Whittemore Gulch. This numbing uphill with thick redwood groves and immaculate singletrack takes runners to a stunning view of the coast.
The uphill journey continues along Whittemore and soon syncs up with the North Ridge Trail
. Runners will stay straight on a flat section of North Ridge for a much deserved breather. Stay left at the intersection with Harkins Ridge and go through the gate back up to the start. Now get ready for the second loop!
After loading up on aid, head back down Harkins and follow it all the way downhill to the aid station at the bottom of Purisima. Head left over the bridge and fuel up again for your climb up Borden Hatch. You came down this on your first loop so it should all be familiar to you.
Back at the intersection with Grabtown, get yourself hydrated and follow the trail down to Purisima. Take a sharp left at the intersection, and you'll run back to the Purisima aid station for your final visit. The last section of the run is capped with another fun climb up Whittemore which we know you are going to love. If you are still able to read and walk, just follow the ribbons and signs to the finish. See you there!