The Ancient Oaks Trail is a pleasant 1.7-mile trail in Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve that offers an enjoyable mix of vegetation from grassy hillsides with sweeping vistas to forests of California live oak covered in moss. Easily accessed from a roadside parking area, the Ancient Oaks Trail can be linked with the Charquin Trail and Mindego Hill Trail to create a nice 3.5-mile loop.
Russian Ridge is a well-regarded local hotspot for spring wildflowers, the beneficiary of energetic campaigns by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District to curb the spread of invasive plant species. As you hike, look for blooming owl's clover, johnny-jump-up, checker-bloom, lupine, filaree, clarkia, California poppy, blue-eyed grass, mule ear sunflower, and tidytips.
Wildlife species are also present in the preserve with regular sightings of deer, occasional sightings of coyote and bobcat, and rare mountain lion encounters. Numerous bird species flit about the woodlands and grassy hillsides, with raptors patrolling from above, including American kestrels and northern harriers.
If you find yourself wanting to spend a night in these hills, check out nearby Black Mountain Backpack Camp.