Hamms Gulch Trail
ElevationAscent: 1,146' 349 m
Descent: -46' -14 m
High: 1,800' 549 m
Low: 660' 201 m
GradeAvg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 20% (11°)
Current trail conditions
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“A trail with good views of the bay area through the woods from Portola Valley to Skyline Boulevard.”— David Hitchcock
Family Friendly The availability of shade and gentler grades make this route more suitable for families, even with the increased distance.
After hiking along the Spring Ridge Trail and part of the Meadow Trail, which goes off the right at a junction, the Hamms Gulch Trail descends along a creek until you leave the preserve temporarily. The trail winds down to a small creek, which can be crossed easily by rock hop, even in the winter or early spring when there may be more water in the creek. The Eagle Trail goes off to the left from here via another creek crossing and provides access to the Razorback Ridge Trail.
The Hamms Gulch Trail continues to the right and re-enters the preserve through a small gate as your climb toward Skyline Boulevard. While not as steep of a climb as the Spring Ridge Trail, you'll be ascending for the next 2 miles. The trail follows Hamms Gulch, which sits on the right had side of the trail. Ferns sit along the left hand side of the trail while mosses cover the trees at this point. The right hand side of the trail drops into the gulch.
After climbing switchbacks at roughly 1 mile, the trail level outs along a ridge line for roughly .2 miles, proving a slight break to all the climbing. The trail climbs via a set of switchbacks at this point, where views of Windy Hill are off to the right. A bench provides the opportunity to take a break, enjoy the view, and grab a snack. As you climb, the forest takes on the characteristics of an evergreen forest. The air is cooler at the top of the trail, so make sure to have a long sleeve shirt, especially if you are on trail in the morning or later in the afternoon.
At roughly 2.5 miles, there is a small side trail that leads to a rock outcrop where views of the Bay Area spread out before you. Continuing on for another .2 miles, the trail meets up with the Lost Trail. From here, you can turn around and return to your car, or follow the Lost Trail to either the Spring Ridge Trail (shortest) or Razorback Ridge Trail if you want to hike more.
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Land Manager: Midpeninsula Regional Open Space