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A shaded loop through an oak forest with views of the San Francisco Bay Area.

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2,337' 712 m


1,844' 562 m


520' 159 m


518' 158 m



Avg Grade (5°)


Max Grade (13°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

The preserve is open year round from dawn until half an hour after sunset.


The Clouds Rest-!Meadow Trail Loop combines the Clouds Rest, Alpine Road, and Meadow Trails to form a lollipop loop through Coal Creek Open Preserve. The trail descends along a road before moving along an open field where deer, coyotes, and rabbits can be seen feeding in the mornings and the evenings. Entering the woods, the trail descends to the old Alpine Road and then climbs back into the preserve along the old road. Providing a shaded route even in the middle of the day, the Alpine Road and Meadow Trail portions of the hike provide pleasant cover as you loop back toward your vehicle. The best views of the South Bay area are located along Clouds Rest Trail in the open field area. Even though the Clouds Rest Trail and Meadow Trail aren't heavily traveled, the Alpine Road Trail is popular with mountain bikers, so be on the lookout for cyclists coming down the trail.


Parking for this trail is located at Vista Point along Skyline Boulevard opposite of Russian Ridge Preserve. The trail descends along a singletrack from the left side of the parking area to the Clouds Rest Road. Follow the gravel road to the right as it descends past private homes on the left side of the road.

At roughly .3 miles, the trail passes through a gate system and transforms into a dirt track. In another .1 mile, the Meadow Trail continues straight ahead while the Clouds Rest Trail breaks off to the left. A small singletrack (Clouds Rest Alternate Trail) breaks off to the right and leads through the fields out to a point that overlooks the South Bay Area before descending back to the main Clouds Rest Trail. The trail descends steeply at this point, with views of private residences off to the left before passing a power tower at .8 miles and entering the woods. At this point, the trail is shaded and relatively quiet.

Emerging at the junction with the Alpine Road Trail, be on the lookout for cyclists coming down from Page Mill Road. Follow the trail to the right as it climbs gently uphill through the woods. The trail is fairly wide as it follows an old road trail, but most of the traffic follows a narrow area heavily traveled by cyclists.

Climbing gently for about half a mile, the trail finally meets up with the junction of the Meadow Trail, which breaks off to the right and climbs along the ridge. The trail narrows at this point and climbs through a forest of moss-covered trees. Mushrooms can be seen growing along the trail before it finally emerges in an area of shrubs and young trees. The canopy opens up, and the trail is eroded in places through this section of the loop.

The trail then re-enters the woods at 1.8 miles before climbing steeply for about a tenth of a mile. The trail begins to level out before emerging back at the junction with the Clouds Rest Trail. From here, follow the trail back up the road to the parking lot where you parked. Enjoy the views at the Vista Point as you catch your breath, stretch, and prepare to leave.

Flora & Fauna

Deer, coyote, rabbits, hawks, and turkey vultures can be seen in the open areas of the preserve. The rest of the loop leads through the woods, providing the chance to see oak trees and various other plants common in oak forests.


Shared By:

David Hitchcock

Trail Ratings

  3.6 from 5 votes


  3.6 from 5 votes
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in California


2 Views Last Month
2,201 Since Nov 12, 2016
Intermediate Intermediate



The trail descends into the preserve, but there are a couple of great views before it re-enters the woods.
Nov 27, 2016 near La Honda, CA
A view from he Vista Point overlooking the Stanford Dish Area and the South Bay area.
Nov 27, 2016 near La Honda, CA
Views of the Bay Area stretch out before you. If you look closely in the field, you can see two coyotes before they get scared off.
Nov 27, 2016 near La Honda, CA
The trail climbs up the hill as it makes its way toward Clouds Rest Trail.
Nov 27, 2016 near La Honda, CA
After passing through the gate, the trail hugs the ridge line and changes into a dirt track.
Nov 27, 2016 near La Honda, CA
While the trail is wide as it follows the old road, you can see the area that is most popular with cyclists.
Nov 13, 2016 near La Honda, CA


Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Jan 27, 2019
Josephine Witt
Oct 8, 2018
Josephine Witt
Jun 24, 2017
ken s
Nice hike. A lot of it was in the shade. Better to go clockwise so the sunniest part is first and is downhill.
Nov 12, 2016
David Hitchcock
Hiked the loop, spooked 2 coyotes in the field on the alternate trail. 2.3mi

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