A Hike at Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve, San Mateo County, CA
A warm-but-not-hot September Saturday made for good hiking on the ridges of the San Francisco Peninsula, with glorious views in all directions. One favorite destination of ours when we have only a few hours to snatch out of a busy day is Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve, high in the hills above the towns of Portola Valley and Palo Alto.
While people new to our area of San Mateo County and the Silicon Valley are often dismayed by the relatively high cost and small size of our houses, once they realize the many benefits of living here--including this one park among many others--they soon come to realize that our lifestyle here is simply different than in many parts of the country. We're outdoors, playing, 12 months of the year!
Today's adventure started at the base of Borel Hill, wound along the ridge and down to the Ancient Oaks Trail, one of the most scenic trails in the Preserve, flanked by large old oak trees that shade the trail and give it its name. After a bit of a respite from the sun, it was back into the sunshine, with views of the Pacific Ocean around San Gregorio and Pescadero, two small agricultural towns near the coast, south of Half Moon Bay.
The trail head from which we started today is across from a view point on Highway 35 (also known as Skyline Boulevard) north of Page Mill Road and south of Highway 84 that overlooks the Silicon Valley, Stanford University, up the Peninsula to San Francisco, with Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County and Mt. Diablo in Contra Costa County showing in the distance.
To learn more about this beautiful preserve, and to see pictures of what the grasslands look like here in winter and spring (when we get rain) you can access the Open Space District's web page about Russian Ridge Open Space. But to enjoy the view from Borel Hill on a warm September day, take a look at the 360-degrees views from the top of Borel Hill in the video.