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Sweeney Ridge Trail via Sneath Lane

MODERATE 214 reviews

Sweeney Ridge Trail via Sneath Lane is a 7.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near San Bruno, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options.

7.7 miles
1,669 feet
Out & Back


mountain biking

nature trips

trail running


bird watching

partially paved


wild flowers


no dogs

Explores the wonders of Sweeny Ridge. The Ridge trail offers excellent views of the Pacific Ocean and the San Andreas Reservoir. Of the three different approaches to Sweeney Ridge, the gently ascending paved trail from Sneath Lane is the most forgiving. You may have to share the trail with an occasional cyclist, but you'll appreciated the views over the eastern side of the peninsula as you climb including the long expanse of San Andreas Lake. On top of Sweeney Ridge, you can decide whether to hike north for just under a mile to the Nike missile base, or to take a short walk to the Portola discovery site. The trailhead is located at the end of Sneath Lane which is accessed directly from Skyline Boulevard.

1 month ago

First time I did this hike, probably 8-10 yrs ago, when I reached the summit I remember thinking "this is an awesome view but I never need to make that steep climb again." Fast forward and now I'm ready to return, looking forward to seeing if much has changed. Great work out, great exploring at the top.

no shade
1 month ago

good for running, cycling and hiking. I spent a half day hiking and found it challenging enough in parts to slow some people down as it's very steep and mostly exposed. The Moni Point hike up to Sweeney Ridge (opposite direction to Sneath Trail) is the longest, steepest part (but does have trees and some shade); easier if you end walking down that part!
we had a Lyft pick us up, otherwise you need to hike back to your starting point as there's no loop trail.
fascinating history. good idea to read up before going.
lots of wildlife and even some color in winter, like small flowers/shrubs blooming.
if you're quiet, you will see much more small wildlife! red tailed eagles gliding.
absolutely necessary to bring snacks and water as you don't have access to much shade, water or toilet (there's 1 but not clean). (I'm a just in case person!)
even on sunny, warm days, it can get suddenly windy and cold, so bring an extra layer, unless you intend to run or walk a shorter track than fully east to west coast.

trail running
2 months ago

If you are a runner, this trail is challenging! Steep inclines, Half paved / half trail so if you're more of a trail runner make sure you're wearing trail running shoes! I had to slow down a lot when I hit the dirt since I was wearing road shoes. Mostly open and unshaded so bring sunglasses or a hat if its a clear day. The fog rolls in from the Pacifica side so also layer up! Cool views of the bay! Great workout if you're training for a hilly race! Please keep in mind the one restroom on the trail is unkept and really gross which was very disappointing because it forced me to end my run early.

2 months ago

Exposed but scenic views at the top

amazing views

4 months ago

All paved (for better or worse), nice views, good work out.

Unfortunately, lots of air traffic noise pollution (right by the airport).

5 months ago

Scenery: 2
Views: 4
Difficulty: 3.5
Crowds: 3
Shade: 1

My 1-5 Rating Scale Comparisons for above:
5 for Scenery; Mcway Falls Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP
4.5 for Scenery: Berry Creek Falls Big Basin State Park
4 for Scenery: Steep Ravine Trail

5 for Views: Nimitz Trail Tilden Park
5 for Views: Ridge Trail San Bruno Mtn Park
4.5 for Views Montara Mtn Summit San Pedro County Park
4 for Views Rancho Canada Del Oro Bald Peaks trail

5 for Difficulty: Junipero Serra Peak
4 for Difficulty: Mount El Sombroso Loop Trail

5 months ago

Love the views of the hills & Bay Area. The hills give you a great workout. Interesting to see the Nike Missle site and learning about the history. I'd definitely do this again and hopefully keep hiking down to the Farallones Trail. Love the smells of the nearby plants and eucalyptus trees.

5 months ago

Decent workout, gorgeous views of bay area and pacifico

7 months ago

challenging and worth the effort. we went up the paved way and my 7 year old made it up with me. once you get up to the top the old Nike missle post and buildings are great to look at and take pictures of. the view of course is a awesome.

9 months ago

One of the places I've been to.

11 months ago

Great trail, mostly because it is so close to SF and surrounding area. An easy 20 minutes drive from SF and your in the coastal mountain ridge line. Beautiful!

Yes it’s not dirt but once you get up to the top you can choose dirt and take other trails along the ridge. Great way to spend the morning!

trail running
Monday, March 19, 2018

This is Bay Area winter running at its finest. Windy and hilly but still sunny! The views make the concrete worth the effort. The dirt trails begin after the missile area which is now unkempt and heavily graffitied.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Well maintained paved road leads up to spectacular views of Pacifica. Retired missle control station makes for interesting photo oppurtunities. Great spring hike. Pack water as it can get warm.

Monday, February 05, 2018

Great bay/Crystal Springs reservoir views all the way to the top, where you are rewarded with great ocean views. A lone bathroom at the top, right when you need it.

However, pavement doesn't have that natural hike feeling. On foggy days, you will have no views as you walk amongst the clouds.

Monday, January 22, 2018

amazing view and unique monument at the top. steep paved hike to the monument. bathroom at the top was great to have. free parking.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Great trail for humans and doggos!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Great view towards ocean & bay

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Great hike and a great view!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Very nice trail. It was a beautiful sunny day at the Sweeney Ridge Trail and no fog. The route is all paved and not a dirt trail. I even saw a few families with strollers. Only a few spots with shade. The steady incline was a good work out. There was even a restroom at the top of the trail overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I would definitely go again!!!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Great views! Went to the missile base and back. Paved the whole way, so more of a "walk" than a hike, but the incline is certainly a work out. 99% exposed...sunscreen is mandatory.

Friday, August 25, 2017

The start of the inlcines were pretty rough for a beginner like me And i noticed they barely have seats. However onced i reached the Nike Missile Control Site, it felt awesome seeing the deserted site filled with colorful graffiti. I exited via Sneath Lane, and the view of the lake and the airport was awesome as i make my way down.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

All geographic there!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Nice trail. Good gradual incline. Great views!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

A great hike. We went to the Nike Missile site and back. About 4.5M RT. Pretty strenuous for kids. Warning: no shade.

Friday, July 07, 2017

I was saddened to see it was all asphalt and not much shade. The view on the top is beautiful.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Nice wide paved trail. Can be quick windy.

Monday, May 29, 2017

I don't like that it follows along 280. It's noisy.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Trail was 90% paved trail starting from the parking lot at Sneath Lane to the top of the Portola Discovery Site. That hike was about 40 minutes (average walking speed of 3mph) with a few pit stops for the dog. There is a bathroom at that point. From Portola to Mori Ridge entrance was another 45 minutes. Going back to the parking lot was a little over an hour. FYI there is very little shade along this trail and there are no water fountains at any point on this trail, so bring plenty of water for yourself and four legged friend(s). Enjoy the hike!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Nice views. Fully paved

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