Monday, May 12, 2014

60 Hikes in 60 Miles in 60 Weeks: Week Thirty-seven
Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve
View west from the Bay Area Ridge Trail at Russian Ridge

What it's like:
This 3.6 mile balloon hike (an out and back segment attached to a loop) wanders up and down and all around a gorgeous grassy ridge in the Santa Cruz Mountains southwest of Mountain View. Last week I extended this hike another 2 miles by ascending to the ridge via Hawk Ridge Trail (instead of Charquin) and I suggest you do the same -- makes an incredible hike even better.

Why now:
This is it -- prime time in bay area parks and preserves. Russian Ridge offers exceptional wildflower and butterfly displays in May. (View my photos from last week.)

If you can't make it this week:
If you want to see flowers, either get there soon or wait until next spring. If you just want a great hike, go any time (although it gets HOT up on the ridge in summer).

Insider tip:
Hiking with kids at Russian Ridge on the weekend? Take them to the Daniels Nature Center. The charming little center is open 12-5pm -- get there from the Russian Ridge parking lot by walking through the pedestrian tunnel under Alpine Road. Even if the center is closed, the picnic tables at Alpine Pond are a great choice for a post-hike lunch.

Russian Ridge is hike number 50 in 60 Hikes in 60 Miles: San Francisco (third edition)Read about this hike on BAHiker.

Alternate choice:
Weather folk are predicting hot weather this week. Head for the beach! I'm happy hiking any and everywhere on Point Reyes, but when I crave a quick trek to the coast I often choose Kehoe Beach, in the north part of the park. It's an easy 0.6 mile stroll to the beach with lots of coastal wildflowers in the hills on the north side of the trail.

Post your comments and experiences here or on the BAHiker Facebook page.

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