Thursday, May 29, 2014

60 Hikes in 60 Miles in 60 Weeks: Week Forty
Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve
Sticky monkeyflower and yerba santa in bloom along Ipiwa Trail

What it's like:
This preserve, stretched out along the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains, offers many delights along a 4 mile loop: two cute ponds, grassland, woods, and chaparral, with stunning views west.

Why now:
Time to catch the last grassland bloomers, clarkia, brodiaea, California poppy, and golden mariposa lily, plus aromatic displays of yerba santa, sticky monkeyflower, and chamise.

If you can't make it this week:
Silktassel, manzanita, and buckbrush plus early spring flowers make this loop a favorite April hike.

Insider tip:
This preserve is just made for picnicking. There are three prime spots: at a picnic table under the oak trees on the north side of Horseshoe Lake, at a bench on the south edge of Horseshoe Lake, and at benches and picnic tables near the Nature Center at Alpine Pond. Or find your own blissful piece of paradise along the trail!

Skyline Ridge is hike number 53 in 60 Hikes in 60 Miles: San Francisco (third edition)Read about this hike on BAHiker.

Alternate choice:
Giacomini Open Space Preserves is one of the best "never heard of it" Marin County hiking destinations. The trails are mostly steep rocky old ranch roads that wind along lonely ridges just south of Woodacre. Explore woods, chaparral, and a tiny Sargent cypress forest on this 4.1 mile hike.

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

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