Long Ridge Loop is a 4.3 mile moderately 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.

DISTANCE
4.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
659 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

kid friendly

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

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.

hiking
6 months ago

The perfect time of year to be on this hike and it has it all. Plenty of wild flowers line the route (western columbine, blue dicks, iris, checkerbloom, poppies) If you are doing the whole hike, its about 2/3 under trees and 1/3 open exposure and a 50/50 mix of single track trail & fireroad. Highlights for us include the section of woodland meandering alongside Peter's Creek, the Jikogi Pond, & the stunning views to the west as you cross the ridge. You'll want to linger so start early, bring water/food, and know there's no restrooms at trailhead (closest is north of trailhead at Skyline Ridge OSP main parking.) We have also found on repeated hikes here that we need to be watchful of bicyclists coming behind us on the trails.

hiking
6 months ago

View from Stegner bench is awe-inspiring. Enjoy the wildflowers in springtime then immerse in forest-bathing.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful easy trail that has great variety of creek and water, to wide open meadows, and narrow pathways shaded by redwoods. Not suitable for children i’d say and best for hikers and mountain bikers.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

This trail was awesome to hit in the morning before work! You get a solid hike in but it doesn't take very long to complete and is not challenging. Also the trail was mostly shaded which was a big plus. There is an amazing opening where you can look out over the beautiful hills to the ocean which is about halfway.

hiking
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

This open space preserve is great. Beautiful views and not crowded at all. There's one killer uphill towards the beginning, but not a big deal. I would recommend going towards the morning when it's cooler so you don't have to deal with the summer heat. Check it out!

Monday, May 01, 2017

Beautiful views of the ridge, nice easy trail. Watch out for snakes in the grass

hiking
Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Really nice trail. Beautiful views and streams. Pretty muddy and wet in spots but well shaded and you can see the ocean at parts. 5 year old did great. Not too much elevation change.

hiking
Friday, April 07, 2017

I have hiked this trail twice within a week. It is an easy loop with spectacular scenery.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Hike with family and friends. Nice scenery and easy hike. Recommend for a kickback day hike.

hiking
Sunday, April 17, 2016

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.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

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

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27 days ago

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27 days ago

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trail running
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4 months ago

recorded Long Ridge Loop

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4 months ago

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6 months ago

recorded Long Ridge Loop

trail running
8 months ago

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