Long Ridge Loop is a 4.3 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near La Honda, California that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Length4.3 miElevation gain659 ftRoute typeLoop
kid friendlyHikingMountain bikingNature tripsWalkingRunningForestLakeViewsWildflowersWildlifeNo dogs
Description
Waypoints (8)
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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.

Park at the staging area off of Skyline Blvd

Mid-Peninsula Open Space District: Long Ridge Preserve http://openspace.org/preserves/pr_long_ridge.asp

This is a nice hike in any season but is especially pretty in the spring when the wildflowers come out and Peters Creek is running. It has very exposed and forested sections, and is high enough on the Skyline Ridge to get summer fogs, so it can be roastingly hot or remarkably chilly any time of year. As always in the Bay Area, fall is the most reliable (warm) weather. Bring appropriate layers pretty much any other time. Mountain bikes are allowed in these preserves - don't be surprised to see them if you're a hiker.

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Reviews (250)
Photos (548)
Recordings (266)
Completed (622)
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Bridging Jones
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 21, 2021
Hiking

Really mellow trail with beautiful views and a bit of everything- river, views, lake, hills. It is important to do this trail clockwise- the final descent is very steep and I bet it would not be fun doing it uphill!! biggest issue- you can hear traffic on skyline pretty much from everywhere. ugh.

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Lisa Mauney
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Duncan Goldie-Scot
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Martin Lopez
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Hongtao Mu
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Oliver Wagner
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Hiking

Nice loop with halfway gorgeous viewpoint

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Dagmar M
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 17, 2021
Hiking

Really beautiful not too difficult trail, great views, mostly shaded. Bit too narrow (not ideal during Covid) path. Definitely will come back.

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Flora Hinz
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Andrew Chang
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R M
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Hiking

Great trail, good views, lots of shade

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Erica Woll
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Hiking

Easy hike - uphill at first and great views when it opens up

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Ayush K
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Kristin Vandro
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Hiking

Fun trail to run in the rain! Great mix of covered areas and open space areas.

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Robin Wolfe
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Maggie Wang
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HikingGreat!

Nice flat hike! Mostly shaded. Cool and scenic.

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Giri Tumu
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AllTrails User
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Maksim Zanko
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Matthew Leszczenski
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HikingOver grown
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Marc Pinard
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RunningGreat!
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Neeta Shenoy
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HikingGreat!Muddy

I've done this trail twice in the past two years and each time I've discovered something new and exciting about it. The trail has a generous amount of shade, a good mix of gentle and medium ascents, flatness, and gradual descents. This trail gets a lot of mountain bikers, so it's important to stay vigilant and make way for solo and group riders. Ask group riders if they have stragglers that you need to watch for - it helps you and the riders stay out of each other's way. I had zero cell coverage and was unable to record my hike yesterday. Recommend this hike to new and experienced hikers.

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Mariana Sharp
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Hiking

nice relaxing hike. a lot of wildlife. we saw a snake slithering away. not many people on a Tuesday.

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Ewout van Bekkum
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Prashant Aithal
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HikingGreat!

good view at the bench.

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Cristiano N
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 2, 2020
Hiking

This is a great trail that's accessible for most. The trail follows Peter's creek trail rather than the signed Long Ridge trail, which is definitely better - at least for me. It also leads to a beautiful pond near the local Japanese Zen center. The pond has a green texture, which, for some reason, reminds me of traditional Japanese Matcha (Green tea) every time I see it. The trail offers cool share over most of it, with the exception of some sections, namely over the long ridge, where one would like to pause, relax, and enjoy the view. The trail is shared by frequent mountain bikers as well. Overall, highly recommended.

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Kim Munson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 6, 2020
Hiking

Nice trail for a quick hike with a decent view at the lookout bench. Apart from the bench viewpoint, the trail doesn't have any other grand overlooks, but goes through forest and dips near the creekbed, so it's mostly shaded. Fog can roll in and wind can pick up so bring layers even if it's hot in the valley. Watch for mountain bikers and horses. Parking is free on side of the road.

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Anna Chambers
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Mountain biking

Highly recommend! Great view from top, great for mtn biking

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Miranda Barton
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Hiking

We enjoyed this trail. There is a lot of shaded green area. Good for a nice hike on a hot day. We only saw one seating area during the whole loop and no bathrooms.

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Jun Ham
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Hiking

Wonderful trail, we took a left at the loop entrance. Be mindful that the last stretch is steep elevations and takes longer than you think! Well shaded except for the middle of the loop, but it still had trees.

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