Crushin' on Russian Ridge

Hike Russian Ridge Open Space in San Mateo County

Hike Russian Ridge Open Space San Mateo County

We can't always guarantee timing, but recent rains and warm days can bring a burst of wildflowers to the Peninsula’s Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve. In spring this park can be a tapestry of colors, but even if the flower power isn't full on, the views sure are! For a moderate 5-miler that can pair wildflowers with amazing views, start on the Ridge Trail. If flowers are out then within the first mile you're likely to see the yellow Johnny jump-ups leap into view, along with blue-eyed grass weaving all across the ridge.

From 2,500 feet, Half Moon Bay beckons and Silicon Valley and the Bay shine beneath a series of cascading hills. Descend the ridge by making a left onto Hawk Trail where a native blackberry bush brims with white blossoms. Soon you’ll be winding through a furry green grove of knotty and twisted oak trees—some with branches so thick they make good seats for taking a break. On the ascent back to the ridge, milkmaids, hound’s tongue and miner’s lettuce sprinkle the trail. Good Russia color!

The Russian Ridge parking lot is at the intersection of Hwy. 35 and Alpine Rd. Download a map before leaving home or snap a photo of the signboard map before you hike. Follow the Ridge Trail about 2 miles until you reach Hawk Trail. Turn left and take the Hawk Trail and follow signs toward the Ancient Oaks Trail. Take the Ancient Oaks Trail. After .5 mile you can turn left to go back up to the Ridge Trail, or continue on the Ancient Oaks Trail. Either way will take you back to the parking lot. Bring your own water. No dogs.

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Taking the Stage: Tyler Ranch

    Hike the recently opened Tyler Ranch Staging Area in Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park, with 18 miles of new trails. This 6.5-mile loop up Sunol Peak is a challenge and rewards with exceptional views of seasonal iridescent hills.

  2. Swing into Spring

    Swing into this 7.1-mile hike in the hills of Half Moon Bay! It’s got gorgeous views, fields of spring wildflowers, and a hidden rustic tree swing.

  3. The Carson Show

    Carson Falls is ready for primetime. This three-tiered, 100-foot stunner is hidden back in a canyon outside of Fairfax and reached on a 3.25-mile (round-trip) hike.

  4. woman kneeling and signing peak book at Mount Olympia in Mount Diablo State Park

    Double Up on Diablo

    Set the tone for 2024 with this twofer summit hike at Mount Diablo State Park. Embark on a 7-mile out-and-back up Mount Olympia and Diablo’s lesser-known summit, North Peak.


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Hiker overlooking Bear Gulch Reservoir at Pinnacles National Park near Monterey

    Pinnacles of Spring

    Why hike at Pinnacles National Park? Spring's a beautiful time of year here. And you might spy the magnificent California condor soaring while you gain soaring views from the High Peaks Trail.

  2. Caves in Mojave

    No one expects to see caves when they visit the desert, and that’s part of what makes Mitchell Caverns in the Mojave Desert such an interesting place. Go on a two-hour guided adventure tour through Mitchell Caverns in Providence Mountains State Recreation Area.

  3. Sponsored

    Port of Call

    Nestled by the sea on the majestic Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, Port Townsend is for travelers who treasure small town charm and natural beauty.

  4. Lava Lava

    Once a land of volcanic activity, Mojave National Preserve shares plenty about its past via a quick yet adventurous hike to the Lava Tube in the Cima Dome Volcanic Field.