Long Ridge Loop is a 4.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near La Honda, CA that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
This hike wanders through a little valley to the headwaters of Peters Creek and then out onto a ridge with striking views almost to the coast. As you move up towards the headwaters, the valley changes from cool and mossy to slightly drier forest, finally reaching one of the few lakes in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a man-made reservoir. The trail goes across the dam (and borders private property, please be respectful). Leaving the lake, you climb up some switchbacks eventually reaching the preserve's namesake Long Ridge with open views to the southwest, towards some of the biggest redwood parks of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Soon you reach a granite bench dedicated to Wallace Stegner, the Stanford author and conservationist who played an important role in helping save many of these lands from development. In early spring the hillsides can be covered in a profusion of wildflowers. Just after the bench, the trail forks, one fork seemingly leading along the ridgeline and the other dropping into the forest. The ridgeline trail only goes about 50 yards before running into a 'private property' sign and a fence, so down into the forest you go. From here you wind down towards your start; reaching a 4-way intersection in the middle of the forest. This route goes forward across the intersection, but you can also do a switchback heading down towards the Peters Creek Trail here. Wander through the quiet forest until a descent drops you back to Peters Creek, and a short ascent back to the noise and bustle of Highway 35.
Nice not great hike. I left a photo of a Tafoni cave and an overlook, which you can only get to by leaving this route at about 1 mile if you take it counter clockwise, and crossing the private road, looking for a faint use trail, mostly used by climbers I suspect.
Easy to moderate trail along the stream, with a stop at a lake and a view of Pacific Ocean in the distance. Can be over runned by bikers