Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

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.

Length 4.3 mi Elevation gain 659 ft Route type Loop

Kid friendly

Hiking

Mountain biking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Running

Forest

Lake

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (8)
Facilities
Contact
Tips

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.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (195)
Photos (407)
Recordings (185)
Completed (411)
Neeta Shenoy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 11, 2020
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.

Mariana Sharp
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 4, 2020
Hiking

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

View Mariana's Recording
Ewout van Bekkum
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 2, 2020
Hiking
View Ewout's Recording
Prashant Aithal
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2020
HikingGreat!

good view at the bench.

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.

View Cristiano's Recording
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.

View Kim's Recording
Anna Chambers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 4, 2020
Mountain biking

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

Miranda Barton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 3, 2020
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.

Jun Ham
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 25, 2020
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.

View Jun's Recording
Ramy Asselin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 16, 2020
Hiking

Mostly shaded. Loop on the return was exposed but had a refreshing breeze.

View Ramy's Recording
Alan Schwartz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 9, 2020
Hiking

The is a an almost completely covered hike. Not much in the way of views except for the Wallace Stegner bench area. A good hike to do when it is hot and sunny perhaps. The are mountain bikers to watch out for on the trail.

Brian Bouttarath
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 8, 2020
HikingOff trail
View Brian's Recording
Anne Frisbie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 11, 2020
Hiking

Very well maintained, easy trail. Views at top are amazing. Good for kids & families. No restroom at trail head. You could drive to skyline ridge for theirs if u need one.

Alex Pole
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 2, 2020
Hiking

Magnificent

Rob Girard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarNovember 3, 2019
Hiking

Dogs allowed only allowed on trail leading up to main trail. we walked the side trail, but it's quite exposed. wish they allowed dogs on the main trail.

View Rob's Recording
Katherine Lee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 27, 2019
Hiking

This was a really diverse trail--some shaded parts, some direct sun. Really enjoyable and doable.

View Katherine's Recording
Meltem Tutar
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 27, 2019
HikingNo shadeRocky

It was a bit more steep than expected but a nice trail for exercise. There are parts without shade but also lots of parts with shade

View Meltem's Recording
Clara Tejerina
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 5, 2019
Hiking

After a steep start the path is easy. shaded around 60 percent of the time, offers nice views and a lot of vegetation. not crowded at all.

View Clara's Recording
Harry Kreidenweis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 7, 2019

beautiful. very easy up and downhill. gorgeous nature. very enjoyable

Brenda Storey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 21, 2019

amazing views! easy to moderate for those with bad knees

Diedra Rater
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 14, 2019
Hiking

Really nice, chill hike. It has a lot of tree coverage, some good views, and a pretty low level of difficulty. My favorite aspect of this trail is that there's always plenty of parking, which makes it a great backup option if the nearby parks are overflowing.

View Diedra's Recording
Andre Rooni
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 24, 2019
Hiking

We took the trail in late February 2019. It was an easy hike with a nice and all green trail. Parts of the trail was muddy, at some point the trail was blocked by a fallen tree, but overall it was nice for the season.

Emily Debner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 29, 2019
Hiking

Beautiful hike, nice distance and gentle grade. Strenuous enough to get a decent workout but not a difficult hike. I loved all the variety in terrain, from forest to grassy hillside, and beautiful views!

Kay Lynne
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 5, 2018
Hiking

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.

Fritz Bert
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 19, 2018
Hiking

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

Bel R.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 2, 2018
Hiking

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.

Tori Lewis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 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.

Jyoti R.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 24, 2017
Hiking

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!

Showing results 1 - 28 of 195