We did it the opposite way from Los Gatos to Santa Cruz which means you're going up Jamison Creek Rd and yes, its in some disrepair. For those of you that live in the valley, we took this out and Hwy 9 back, total great ride! On this run, there is a perfect mix of very twisty interspersed with more sweeping curves. The scenery is unbelievable and going down Empire grade was spectacular.
This is the definitive ride over the hill, meaning Santa Cruz to Los Gatos. Very little traffic, many new, smooth and long tarmac sections and countless turns, twisties, switchbacks with any number of fast sweepers on the upper Empire Grade portion north of Bonny Doon. Take it easy dropping down Jamisons into Boulder Creek as this is the only portion with some poor road surfaces although nearer the bottom the road has been repaved all the way to Hwy 236.
Bear Creek Road out of Boulder Creek is simply stunning and the class act motorcycle road in the Santa Cruz mountains which is saying something because there are heaps of roads.
An offshoot is a trip through the magnificent Big Basin Giant Redwoods (236). Great road surface, but tight and slow = this is a visual feast to admire, not flash through. At the bottom of Jamisons, turn left for Big Basin. Look at the map and youll see it intersects with Hwy 9 = turn south on 9 for Boulder Creek to pick up Bear Creek Road.