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Finding Backcountry in the Bay Area

A City Guide to Los Gatos, CA

When you think of San Francisco and the surrounding areas you probably don’t think of climbing. With a number of giant tech companies such as Google, Salesforce and Yahoo nestled in the heart of the city along with a reputation of being at the front of cultural diversity since the early ‘50s, the Bay Area has never really been considered a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts.

Those fortunate enough to call San Francisco home know that this is far from the truth. After a closer look, one might find an escape in a sleepy little town less than an hour south of downtown San Francisco with a population just over 10,000 people: Los Gatos, CA.

Under the Stars

The variety of state parks—like Sanborn County Park and Castle Rock State Park— adjacent to Los Gatos provide abundant camping options. With options for everyone from the camper to RV enthusiasts, you’re sure to find the perfect place to stay.

Climbing For All

Northern California has a variety of climbing for all ability levels. The bouldering in Castle Rock is some of the best in the state and will keep you busy with its diverse offering of fun problems. The rock is mostly sandstone and won’t rip up the hands, allowing even the most dynamic climber to be challenged.

California Ridge is just a few minutes away from Los Gatos for those looking for a variety of trad, sport, and top rope climbing. With routes ranging from 5.9 to 5.11d and stretching approximately 50 vertical feet with amazing ocean views below, there’s something here to keep most climbers busy.   If you’re looking for a bit more of a challenge, head to Waterfall Cliff where you’ll find grades up to 5.12.

Happy Hour

After a long day of climbing, head back into town and experience Loma Brewing Company, the perfect après climb spot. With spacious seating and great natural light, you’ll be able to enjoy their great food and excellent beer in an ideal post-climb atmosphere. In today’s craft beer craze, Loma has one of the best juicy IPAs out there, Appeasement. Made with a combination of blueberries and stone fruit, this amazing American IPA that will please even the harshest critics.

The food is just as creative as the beer. Options varying from K-Town Pork Belly Nachos to a pan-seared duck breast with fennel orange duck sausage mean you can get as adventurous or stay as traditional as you want. If you do make it to Loma Brewing Company, I strongly recommend the Pretzel Board for beer lovers.

Morning After

With coffee spots popping up as often as you find breweries today, it takes something special to get the good ones to stand out. Usually, that requires roasting your own beans and not just doing it yourself but doing it right. The finest roasters in Northern California are trained by some of the best, so you know Great Bear Coffee is something special. Not only is their coffee a notch above, but they’re also baking some of the best treats out there with a variety of scones, homemade fruit oat bars, and multiple pastry options. If you have more of an appetite after last night’s adventures at Loma Brewing Company, try the quiche or breakfast burrito. You won’t be disappointed.