A drive along State Route 35, aka Skyline Boulevard, is a reminder of all the wilderness that the Santa Cruz Mountains and Bay Area have to offer. This is where the redwoods meet the road, where the mountains soar high and open space abounds.

It’s a winding road, all 45 miles of it between Highway 92 and Highway 17 at the Santa Cruz County line. So which part should you see before carsickness takes over? (State Route 35 also continues north to Daly City, but for a six-mile stretch it disappears and joins Interstate 280 between San Mateo and San Bruno.)

It's a fun adventure to take a drive on the two-lane Skyline Boulevard. (Courtesy Larry Sokoloff)

I’ve driven most of this road, in short stretches, over the years. And the stretch between Highway 92 and Highway 84 in San Mateo County, about 12 miles, is a favorite.

Driving south on this portion can involve a stop for hiking, along with a memorable meal, and, on clear days, impressive views of San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

To get to State Route 35 from the San Francisco area, drive on Highway 92 toward Half Moon Bay to the crest of the mountains near Skylawn Memorial Park in San Mateo. Then go south. Almost immediately, it’s time to stop at the first vista point, which has a few benches and great views of the Bay Area. Further along, there are more turnouts on this two-lane road.

There are great places to stop and check out the scenery at a viewpoint near State Route 35 and Highway 92. (Courtesy Larry Sokoloff)

Skyline is popular with both bicyclists and motorcyclists. Passengers can see horse ranches, forests and occasional ocean views, but drivers need to concentrate on the road.

Another turnout is at Skeggs Point, where visitors will find picnic tables to go with Bay views.

There are numerous open space areas for hiking along Skyline. On this stretch of the road, they include Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve and El Corte de Madera Creek Preserve. Both offer views of the Pacific Ocean near Half Moon Bay. Both are operated by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.

There’s a statue of Neil Young at Mountain House restaurant in Woodside, which is pictured in the musician’s “Harvest Moon” video. (Courtesy Larry Sokoloff)

A landmark in the area is The Mountain House in Woodside, a restaurant at 13808 Skyline Blvd. serving high-end food in a cabin-style building dating back to the early 1900s. It’s featured in Neil Young’s video for “Harvest Moon” on YouTube. There’s a statue of Young in the parking lot out front.

This stretch of State Route 35 eventually takes visitors to the unincorporated town of Sky Londa, elevation 1,520 feet, where the road intersects with Highway 84. There’s gas and snack food for sale, an outdoor wedding and party venue, and Alice’s Restaurant, a popular diner and motorcyclist destination at 17288 Skyline Blvd. Despite its name, it has no connection to the famed Arlo Guthrie song.

In a popular area on weekends year-round, the restaurant has strong local support for events like weekly music nights on Thursdays from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Alice's Restaurant is a historic spot for motorcyclists at the junction of Skyline Boulevard and Highway 84. (Courtesy Larry Sokoloff)

Alice’s is open 363 days a year, according to Taylor Skeels, the general manager. The restaurant has generators to see it through the occasional power outage.

“We’re slower in the winter, but we have an amazing community support,” he said.

At this fork in the road, there’s a big decision: How to get out of the mountains? West via San Gregorio and Highway 1, or east via Highway 84 toward Woodside and Interstate 280? Or more twists and turns on southern State Route 35, which continues along the ridgeline?

Sometimes the weather and road conditions make the decision easy, when winter storms cause portions of the roads to close.

If headed south, turn off at Highway 9, above the city of Saratoga, or you’ll be stuck on a one-lane version of Highway 35 before it merges with Highway 17.

Skeels said a small portion of Highway 84 toward Woodside, though currently one lane due to ongoing construction, remains a good option to get to Alice’s.

Or another easy option: Turn around on Route 35 and go north on the same road, taking in the views again from on high.