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Spring Ridge Trail

Intermediate/Difficult

Trail

2.7 mile 4.3 kilometer point to point
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 1,255' 383 m
Descent: 0' 0 m
High: 1,805' 550 m
Low: 550' 168 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 24% (14°)

Dogs

Leashed
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Trail shared by David Hitchcock

A climb from Portola Valley to Skyline Boulevard with great views of the bay area.

David Hitchcock

Features Birding · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

The Windy Hill Open Space Preserve is open 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset throughout the year.

Description

The Spring Ridge Trail climbs from the parking lot in Portola Valley to Skyline Boulevard through the Windy Hill Open Space Preserve. The trail offers great views of the San Francisco Bay Area and the chance to see wildlife in the mornings and evenings as they come out to feed.

Departing the parking lot in Portola Valley, the trail comes to a split where the Betsy Crowder Trail goes off to the right and the Spring Ridge Trail goes to the left. The trail follows the preserve boundary for the first half mile. On the left side of the trail is a residential complex while on the right side is a pond that provides water for the wildlife in the preserve. Frogs can be heard in the evenings as you hike along the trail. The trail is a doubletrack dirt trail that is eroded in certain places. At roughly .6 miles, the Spring Ridge Trail breaks off to the right and starts to climb more steeply through the preserve.

Within a tenth of a mile, a small connector trail cuts off to the left and meets up with the Meadow Trail and then in another tenth of a mile, the Betsy Crowder Trail cuts off to the right and descends back to the parking lot on the other side of the pond. Climbing through the woods at this point, the trail works its way uphill at a steady rate. There are points where the trail is sloped and points where it is eroded, so watch your footing as you make your way uphill. At roughly 1.1 miles, the Meadow Trail joins the trail from the left. From this point on, the trail opens up and climbs through the fields of the upper parts of the preserve. The trees give way to fields where rabbits feed beside the trail, and deer can be found feeding in the evenings. Views of the San Francisco Bay come into view as you climb higher. At 1.9 miles, the trail levels out and provides an excellent opportunity to take in the views.

At roughly 2.3 miles, a tub sits on the left side of the trail with water for horses to drink. It's not potable, so don't refill your water bottles here. The trail climbs steeply again until it begins to level out and finally comes to an end at a parking lot on Skyline Boulevard. If you follow the Anniversary Trail to the left, that trail will take you to the summit of Windy Hill and then to the Lost Trail. Meeting up with the Hamms Gulch Trail, you can make your way back to the bottom of the preserve and meet up with the Spring Ridge Trail. If you don't have the time, descend via the trail you climbed.

Flora & Fauna

Deer, rabbits, turkeys, and California quail can be seen along the trail. Birds can be seen and heard along the trail in the wooded sections.

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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Need to Know

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Check-Ins

Jul 14, 2019
Lukas Pankau
Walk up, run down 5.4mi — 1h 20m
Jun 23, 2019
Kieran D
7.7mi — 1h 30m
May 11, 2019
Noah Salvi
5.2mi — 2h 15m
May 29, 2016
David Hitchcock
Windy at the top, beautiful views. 5.4mi — 1h 45m

Trail Ratings

  3.7 from 3 votes

#16333

Overall
  3.7 from 3 votes
5 Star
33%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
67%
2 Star
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1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#1,756

in California

#16,333

Overall
49 Views Last Month
767 Since May 29, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Even as it descends into the preserve, the views are spectacular.
Apr 27, 2016 near Portola…, CA
Flowers bloom in the spring.
Apr 27, 2016 near Portola…, CA
The trail begins to enter a corridor lined with trees.
Apr 24, 2016 near Portola…, CA
The Spring Ridge Trail can be seen as it works its way through the preserve. It's a steep drop from here down to that section of the trail in the distance.
Apr 27, 2016 near Portola…, CA
The trail enters a shaded grove of trees, a nice break from the sun.
Apr 27, 2016 near Portola…, CA
The trail, the fields, and the views make this trail great, despite the steep grade of the trail.
Apr 27, 2016 near Portola…, CA

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