Today I did a dry run of my route to Vasona Lake that I’ll take to go kayaking. I confirmed it is just under three hours round trip, so I can only do this on days when I can devote about five hours to allow time on the water. The good news is it is a pleasant and safe route. I already knew how to get from my house to Almaden Lake Park in South San Jose on a nice route. It is a little trickier to get from there to Vasona Lake in Los Gatos without going on busy streets that don’t have bike lanes. I mapped out the route using ridewithGPS, and I cross-referenced it with the Vta Santa Clara bikeways map. When in doubt I used google street view to make sure any main roads I was using had bike lanes.
It is a bit over six miles further to go from Almaden Lake to Vasona Lake. I good chunk of it is on the Guadalupe creek path, which was a nice discovery. I’ve ridden on the Guadalupe trail that runs mostly north-south. You can take it from Almaden Lake park many miles north to Alviso on San Francisco bay (with some interruptions on local roads). What I didn’t know is that there is another branch running Westward towards Los Gatos. It turns out to be unpaved but smooth with packed gravel. My bike’s fatter tires made for a smooth ride on this pleasant section. After that trail ends there is some weaving mostly on quieter streets, with a couple of stretches on busier roads with bike lanes like Los Gatos Almaden Road. A very nice urban adventure! This confirms it is well worth the time it takes to map out a safe route in an area you’re not used to riding in.