Explore the most popular trail running trails near Portola Valley with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

The northern part of the Spring Ridge Trail is a wide dirt fire road that is completely exposed with a moderate uphill climb. This trail takes you to the Windy Hill summit, where you get a panoramic view of the bay. Once you hit the Lost Trail, the path narrows and descends into mossy woods. This woodsy aesthetic continues along the Razorback Ridge Trail. Eagle Trail interweaves with the road. The Hamms Gulch Trail and the Spring Ridge Trail leading back to the parking are exposed, flat fire roads and not terribly scenic. There's some poison oak along the trail, but isn't too much of a problem if you stay within its bounds.

Great trail for running - it’s half shaded in hot summer months (the spring ridge part of the trail has no shade) and it’s not very steep (only 1000 feet over distance of 2 miles). Views coming down on spring ridge are great!

Beautiful and great views!!

We took the Hamms Gulch up amd instead of taking this loop, turned left and took the lost trail to Razorback Ridge trail and back around - about 10 miles per the Fitbit and a lovely hike for a warm day as almost all in redwood and laurel first. Wildflowers everywhere, even at the end of May and many birds, including a peregrine falcon. Saw a baby gopher snake on the trail - I liked that. Anyway a great moderate hike. Will need to go back and go up to the actual windy hill!

This is my local go-to hike, and I try to do it once a week. The first climb up to Windy Hill is strenuous but can be done in 45 - 60 minutes depending on your pace. There is a picnic area with lunch tables and a bathroom about 10 minutes past the Windy Hill summit. After that the Lost trail is a nice and relaxing walk through the woods, and the Razorback Ridge trail is the best way to get downhill without destroying your knees. Total hike time for me (with a short lunch break) is about 3.5 hours.

After seeing the reviews here and on Yelp, I had to try this route and I am glad we did it this way!! If I took Spring Ridge Trail first going uphill, I would have gotten an Uber to bring me back to Portola parking!! Haha That hill going up for how many miles would have been torture to my shins and knees!

Take Hamms Gutch Trail to Springs Ridge Trail. Trust me! Park at the Portola parking lot. There is plenty of parking there and it’s free! Came here after the rain last weekend and it’s pretty muddy so wear waterproof hiking shoes for better grip. My friend’s knees wore out and he slipped on the road down Springs Ridge Trail. Be careful if you go here when it’s wet.

During Hamm Gulch Trail, there is plenty of shade if it’s warm out and sun is beaming but on the Spring Ridge Trail, make sure to wear sunblock and a hat. There is no trees to cover you from the sun. Also, bring a battery charger for your phones and a first aid kit, just in case!!

This was not really under 7 miles but almost 8 miles according to my Apple Watch and 20k steps. It would take us about 3.5 hours but our friend got injured so it was 4.5 hours. We walked from 1.5-2 mph since it was uphill. And faster going downhill. I suggest to bring water and snacks or even a sandwich, and make a picnic out of it during half point. There is a bathroom at Skyline Blvd parking lot with picnic benches. Over the views and did not see much Banana slugs like everyone else.

I would not consider this moderate but moderate to hard especially, for first timers like me. I hike in my area which was considered moderate and this trail wasn’t even close to it! I think it was the length of the trail that got to me. I felt accomplished after finishing it though! Will try this trail again in the summer and trying other trails! Totally recommended.

Fun all around trail with a decent climb and solid view (for around the Bay Area). Fairly crowded as you’d expect for an accessible trail on the weekends but there’s lots of route options to pick from and explore around.

Expect plenty of competition for parking, one restroom at the TH and no water on the trail.

My dog and I loved it! Follow the recommendations to take the trail clockwise- so much better!

Quiet place, nice walk in woodsy area.

8 months ago

Blue sky day today. Awesome hike. Well maintained trail.

Nice trail, good uphill climb & great views at the top.

10 months ago

Actually hiked Toyon trail instead

mountain biking
10 months ago

no mountain biking one side of loop - Betsy Crowder trail closed to bikes. Bikers wear helmets - son got $300 ticket from nasty MPOSD ranger.

Pleasantly shaded despite 90+ degree heat. Eagle trail involves several stretches walking along Alpine Rd past private property.

11 months ago

Portola Valley Ranch is a rustic and upscale town in the peninsula (SF Bay Area). The extensive trail system is open to residents and visitors. The featured 3.5 mile loop is a dog friendly (on leash) easy hike. Los Trancos trail --> Sunrise trail --> Buck Meadow trail --> Blue Oak trail --> Black Oak trail.

Detailed Blog: http://shompens.com/canvas/1474499870209

Really great. We started by the south-east side with the forest. With our experience, I would start by the north-west side under the sun, and finish the trail with the forest, which is easier after 14 km.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Great for a family hike with the dog.

Recently moved to NorCal and his is the first trail I completed with my dog. Definitely an enjoyable one, I started off at the summit and walked counterclockwise through the forest first. Lots of neat scenic sites and wildlife--a very small amount of construction due to recent rain (just cleaning a few exposed roots and smoothing the path), but nothing distracting. Great trail for dogs, just watch out for the ticks, they seem to be everywhere. The last portion of the hike climbing up to windy hill was a bit strenuous but well worth it in the end. Bring lots of water for your dog.

Really pretty route with views and plenty of wildflowers- including thistles so beware if you're wearing shorts. Also I think I saw some poison oak or ivy so there's that. Well maintained trail.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Very good hike - easy to find TH with no gate - plenty of parking. I went clockwise, which is much better bc of switchbacks going up. Mile 2-4 were the best for me although great views at the top. Keeping it from 5 stars - too many people and boring on the 2nd half/ on the way down. Lots of sun on the way down which was nice

Sunday, March 19, 2017

An easy 6.5 mile loop. First 3 miles are all downhill in an open setting. Not much foliage. By the time you reach the bottom there's a calm stream. The 3.5 mile ascent is gradual and not strenuous. However, the climb offers a better variety of scenery as must of it is covered. Started at the Skyline trailhead.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Nicely shaded and led up to a gorgeous view of the Bay.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

gorgeous views throughout. as others mention, a bit muddy due to recent rain so don't bring your nicest shoes! Sweeping views of the bay, green grasses and some flowers that are starting to bloom. Dogs are allowed but no trash cans for poop bags and ticks in the grass. :-/

I recommend keeping your dog on leash because of the ticks but otherwise it's an awesome hike!

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Part of the gulch was really muddy and a bit difficult to navigate. But we were rewarded with the most spectacular views when we got out of the woods. From the top of the trail you have a perfect view of the ocean on one side and the bay on the other. When you get to the top you are just about halfway.


lovely shady hike. my dog loves jumping in the creek to cool off.

Good for trail running, not so much for hiking, few Vista points and cold in the winter.

mountain biking
Saturday, November 26, 2016

Great trail. A very intense climbing to the top of Wind Hill, but the way back worth it all.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

It was our first time doing the trail and we loved it. The trail is under the big trees and lunch greens around it. There's also a stream in the first part of the trail and you can hear the water as well. The trail is a lot of switch backs and all going up hill so you are definitely getting your workout too. When we reach the end of the trail we decided to go to windy hill and down to spring ridge trail loop. It's the perfect time to hike as the trees are changing colors .

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