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Rancho Ridge Loop

Intermediate
  4.4 ( 7 ) Favorite

Trail

13.6 mile 21.9 kilometer loop
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 2,279' 695 m
Descent: -2,280' -695 m
High: 2,267' 691 m
Low: 342' 104 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 37% (20°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Trail shared by philip watkins

A big, steep loop with great views of the Bay and canyon below.

philip watkins

Features Views · Wildlife

Closes half hour after sunset.

Overview

Escape the Rancho crowds by taking the highest and steepest route within park. Your climbing fitness will be put to the test as you go up steep fire roads while listening to the hum of the power lines and the wind blowing through the canyon below. The descent includes wooded singletrack dropping into the canyon where you can wave to the farm animals as you pass by.

Need to Know

This park is extremely popular. Early starts are a must if you want a parking spot.

Description

There are a few ways to start this loop. This description starts you off with a flat 1 mile to get your legs warmed up for the climbs. Start from the last parking lot at the Rancho San Antonio County Park, the one with the bathrooms.

Go to the trailhead with the bridge and turn right along the dirt path. This park is very popular and you'll be making your way around and through many other visitors as you make your way down the path.

Turn left after the tennis courts and continue along the dirt path which will turn into a road for a short while as you make your way towards Deer Hollow Farm. When you pass the farm, turn left towards the pit toilets and continue for a short while until you come to a fence.

At the road intersection just before a farm, turn left onto the Farm Bypass Trail. In a short distance you'll come to the Coyote Trail intersection. Turn left onto the Coyote Trail. The Coyote Trail is fun steady climbing doubletrack in the shade of the forest. Eventually you'll make your way up to a four way split with a water tower at mile 1.7. Turn right onto the PG & E Trail.

The PG & E Trail is 100% fire road and it's where your climbing really begins. The first climbs starts steep with roots and rocks thrown in the mix. When you come to the top there is often a very muddy puddle section, so tread lightly. Beyond this, the climbing continues as you follow the power lines along the trail. There are short and fast descents only to be made up again with short, steep, climbs. Keep yours eyes on the power lines to see how much further you need to go. There are fewer people out here, and also many wildlife sightings to be had.

Finally, you'll reach the fence at mile 5.2 with great views of the Bay. This is the end of the PG & E Trail, but not the end of the climb. Go through the fence and continue onto the singletrack Quarry Trail. The Quarry Trail is very steep in sections and always longer than you think. Sections can be narrow, rocky, and overgrown.

At the summit, turn right and start descending on the Black Mountain Trail, which includes fun singletrack and tight switch backs. Turn right and continue your descent on the Chamise Trail.

The wooded grassy areas will eventually give way to a sunny and rocky fire road as you see the canyon in sight. Turn right to get onto the Rogue Valley Trail, pass the pond and turn left to continue your way down the Rogue Valley Trail fire road. You'll notice the temperature is colder down here as you gradually descend.

Wave to the pigs at the farm as you pass, and finish winding your way back to the parking lot.

Flora & Fauna

There are lots of wild turkeys, quails, and bobcats to be seen.

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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, History & Background

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Check-Ins

May 25, 2019
Mher Mnatsakanyan
13.6mi — 4h 30m
Mar 17, 2019
Gustavo Diaz
May 26, 2018
Ben Gremillion
Took parts of several trails. Stopped at the farm to see livestock. Nearly stepped on two rattlesnakes on Lower Creek Trail. 10mi
Feb 9, 2018
Saman Garkani
Jan 20, 2018
Neil Mukherjee
Including Black mountain summit. 16.2mi
Apr 15, 2017
Gustavo Diaz
Mar 10, 2017
Robert Bunger
great day. was a bit warm at times. my heel really bothered me towards the end. 13.4mi
Aug 14, 2016
Ferhat Yildirim

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 7 votes

#1983

Overall
  4.4 from 7 votes
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Featured Hike Rankings

#287

in California

#1,983

Overall
95 Views Last Month
2,888 Since Feb 17, 2016
Intermediate

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Photos

Sunrise with clouds over the valley
Oct 17, 2017 near Loyola, CA
The Rogue Valley Trail parallels the Chamise Trail as both trails make their way deeper into the preserve.
Jan 27, 2017 near Loyola, CA
The long descent back to Rogue Valley.
Oct 17, 2017 near Los Alt…, CA
Morning fog in the mountains.
Oct 17, 2017 near Loyola, CA
Sunrise coloration reflected off smoke particles blown to the Bay Area from the Paradise wildfire.
Nov 13, 2018 near Los Alt…, CA
Looking back from the trail-head end of the long flat on Rancho Ridge Loop.
Nov 13, 2018 near Loyola, CA

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