Skyline Ridge

 Skyline Ridge

This page describes trails in the Skyline and Russian Ridge Open Space Preserves. 

Region:    Peninsula
Location:  Not near much but itself.
Time from Bridge:    35 minutes from Market St. exit for I-80/CA-101
Mileage:   Obvious Loops from 3.5 to 9+ miles
Difficulty:  Moderate to Difficult
Facilities:  Restrooms in the main Skyline Open Space Preserve parking lot. No water.
Dogs: No dogs on trails.
Related Websites:
Main Skyline page from
Skyline Preserve (pdf)
Russian Ridge (pdf)

From the city take 280 South to 92 West (Half Moon Bay). Head south on Skyline (35). Skyline Open Space Preserve parking lot is on the right (west) about one mile south of Skyline’s intersection with Page Mill and Alpine.

Trail Description:

The number of trails and connections dictate that any one trail description will be inadequate at best and outright misleading at worst. Consult the maps linked above and create a loop suitable to your running goals.

An obvious link-up takes the Ridge trail up (the trail on the right from the main skyline ridge trailhead, this is needlessly ambiguously signed), crossing through the tunnel under Alpine Road, up over Borel Hill (2572′), to the intersection with Hawk Trail (*1). Turning Left (west) on Hawk Trail, run more or less parallel to your outbound route (now on the ocean side) to the intersection of the Ancient Oaks trail. (*2) Here take Ancient Oaks until the cutover back to Ridge Trail. Retrace your steps back to Skyline Preserve Parking lot.

This loop will earn you about 8 miles on the money, with options to extend noted below.

*1 = Continue along the Ridge Trail towards Rapley Ranch Road and cut right up to Mt. Melville for great views of the South Bay. Retrace Ridge trail to intersection with Hawk Trail noted above. This adds approximately 3 miles.

*2 = Here continue along Mindego trail on an either 2.6 (first gate) or 4.6 (second gate) out-and-back addition before heading back with the Ancient Oaks trail noted above.

The Reality:

Incredible place to run, provided you can deal with the somewhat long drive and total lack of facilities. This would be my #1 place to run if I lived on the Peninsula or in the South Bay.

Great mix of hills and flats, and the area sports the stereotypically diverse Bay Area microclimates, with an exceptional display of windward/leeward flora divergence.

Trails are in great condition by and large, with smooth singletrack and fire road making up the bulk of the system. There can be horse and bike damage to trails after rains.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Get up early, run fast, and get back to the city in time for an Indian Buffet lunch (try the one at 15th and Market).


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