60 Hikes in 60 Miles in 60 Weeks: Week Forty-six
Windy Hill Open Space Preserve
|Spring Ridge Trail at Windy Hill|
7.4 miles from the flats of Portola Valley to the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains, and back!
The long days of summer give us the opportunity to stretch in every sense of the word. Give your legs and your brain 1/2 day to explore Windy Hill's woods and grassland. Enjoy the sites and smells of summer -- the maple syrup-sweetness of grassland, spicy California bays in the woods, and dragonflies and butterflies of every color.
If you can't make it this week:
Windy Hill's grassland spring wildflower display is a bit tame, but the woods are spectacular. Starting in February expect exceptional displays of hound's tongue, trilliums, and milkmaids along Hamms Gulch Trail.
Since this a loop, you can approach the hike one of two ways. Start early and get the climbing done first on sunny Spring Ridge Trail, or arrive whenever and ascend through Hamms Gulch Trail's cool woods.
Windy Hill is hike number 56 in 60 Hikes in 60 Miles: San Francisco (third edition). Read about this hike on BAHiker.
I love Sonoma County daytrips -- a little wine, some spectacular food, a beautiful drive... and a hike! One of my favorite easy coastal access trailheads is Pinnacle Gulch, southwest of Bodega. It's just 1/2 mile downhill to a gorgeous beach, but that hike separates you from the throngs who aren't willing to walk that far.
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