West Ridge and French Trail Loop

HARD 19 reviews
#8 of 18 trails in

West Ridge and French Trail Loop is a 7.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Leona Heights, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
7.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1660 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

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5 months ago

First things first, I have Verizon and there is ZERO cell service in this area. If you're coming in on Redwood Road from Highway 13, the intersection of Skyline Blvd is the last place you'll have service. I'll let you decide if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

I agree with Matts' suggestion of starting from the Big Bear Staging area. Cross the street and you're immediately on the Golden Spike Trail and was a nice way to start the hike.

As you start on the trail from the Big Bear Staging Area, you'll hit a fork in the trail to go left or right on the Golden Spike Trail. I went right. This portion of the trail is narrow approximately three feet wide, just wide enough for one person. It is very quiet, has lots of shade. However, proceed with caution, as there is a steep drop-off along the trail edge as well as some over grown vegetation that cover small parts of this trail.

After about a mile on this trail, you'll hit another fork in the trail, to head to the West Ridge Trail (left) or Bridle Trail (Right). I went left and when I got to the West Ridge Trail, I continued left to go up the mountain. The next 0.6 mile to the intersection of Toyon Trail you’ll gain about almost 400’ in elevation so make sure you take your time. West Ridge Trail is approximately 15 feet wide, and is mostly bedrock/sand/dirt and is a mountain biking/equestrian trail with a 50/50 mixture of shade and open area.

From the intersection of Toyon Trail and West Ridge to Redwood Peak is easy going and moderate.

Total time from Big Bear Staging Area to Redwood Peak (3.5 miles) along the route was 1hr and 15 minutes. Going back down the same way was 45 minutes. During the entire hike, I only ran into three people, which was a nice get away from all the noise of people from many of the hikes in the east bay regional parks. I'm definitely going to come back when I have more time to explore all the trails of this park.

hiking
6 months ago

The starting point for this trail is at Piedmont Stables, but I don't think this is an ideal staging area for the typical hiker. I parked a little further down the road at Big Bear Staging area, which is close to the Redwood Gate. One advantage of starting at this staging area is that it is conveniently located along Redwood Road, so there is no seasonal entry fee and you don't have to wait until ~8:30am for the gate to open like you do at the nearby Redwood Gate. Simply park along Redwood Road at Big Bear Staging Area, cross the street and you're on Golden Spike Trail. For what it's worth, there is also a trail that connects this staging area to the Macdonald Gate, providing access to Anthony Chabot Regional Park too.

With the completion of this trail, I've officially hiked all of the trails in Redwood Regional Park that are currently listed on All Trails. With that being said, this trail was probably the hardest as it has the most elevation gain and is nearly 8 miles long. The climb from French Trail up to West Ridge via Redwood Peak Trail is rocky and somewhat technical, so I think the difficulty rating is closer to hard than it is moderate. This one isn't for beginners. On the plus side, the trail is mostly shaded, so the Redwood canopy keeps you cool even in the summertime.

There is a small connector trail between Golden Spike and West Ridge that is not shown on the All Trails map layer. You will see it on the other map layers. All Trails needs to update their map. I took a picture of it on my track. You really can't miss it.

This trail offers a variety of terrain and foliage. French Trail is by far my favorite in the park. It takes you through the heart of the Redwood forest. The deeper you go into the forest, the fewer people you will see. It's the perfect place to clear your mind and get away from all the distractions of the world.

7 months ago