El Dorado Hills serves as a convenient departure point for several rewarding road-rides in the low foothills, some of which can be completed in as little 2-3 hours while offering a few stiff climbs and pleasant scenery. This ride, which begins and ends at El Dorado Hills Town Center, clocks in at just under forty miles, and most road cyclists ought to be able to handle its steepest climbs.
The Latrobe Road exit of Highway 50 will take you right into the shopping area of the Town Center, where there is plenty of safe parking behind the main street. Riders can then set off parallel to Latrobe Road for a few hundred yards before emerging at White Rock Road. Turn right onto White Rock, then left at Latrobe, and carefully follow Latrobe out of the commercial area. You’ll pass several large industrial parks before the developments drop away and you suddenly emerge into classic rural El Dorado Hills: rolling fields, cattle, creeks, oaks and winding roads. Latrobe is still quite busy on this stretch, and the shoulder is tiny, so be aware that drivers will pass very close, and often too fast.
About eight miles in, turn off Latrobe onto South Shingle Road. This is a pleasant, quiet little road which begins to climb immediately at a gentle rate. The tarmac is pretty rough, but you’ll be glad you’re off the busy Latrobe Road. This is where the best part of this loop starts.
A couple of miles further on, turn left onto Brandon Road and follow the narrow ribbon up through the fields and over the hill. On the other side, you’ll turn left onto French Creek, which is probably the prettiest road for miles around. It is so peaceful, so silent, all you will hear is the buzzing of bees, the occasional cow, and your own breathing as you head up the next climb. The hills are truly rolling at this point, and you’ll have a few chances to stand up in the pedals, as well as some long, fast descents.
At the small intersection, veer right onto Old French Town Road for the last three miles or so of this lovely road. Just after the little trailer park, you’ll emerge right onto the busy Motherlode Drive before turning left immediately onto Greenstone. Follow this moderately busy road under the highway bridge and out to Green Valley Road, which forms the bulk of the last part of this ride.
Green Valley is fast and relatively busy, but the shoulder is fairly good most of the way. Unfortunately, traffic is not bike-friendly around here, so exercise caution on the climbs. Green Valley has a few confusing intersections, so be ready to turn sharply right at mile 25 before heading up perhaps the stiffest climb of the whole ride; a short, narrow blast which takes you up over the top and down a long, satisfying descent to the town of Rescue, then Cameron Park.
The final stretch of Green Valley is broad and fast, with a big shoulder which ought to keep cyclists feeling safe from traffic. At the bottom of the long descent, turn left onto Silva Valley Road and follow the long, gentle climb all the way up to the high school. Shortly beyond the school, turn right onto Serrano Parkway. This is a well-known climb and it is moderately hard, but quite short. Once at the top, be prepared for a long and tremendously quick ride back down to El Dorado Hills Boulevard. This road is great fun, with gorgeous, smooth blacktop and a great view. At the bottom, turn left and follow the road back into the Town Center and the end of the ride.