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Ancient Oaks Trail

Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve

San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California

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Ancient Oaks Trail

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  • A parking area on Alpine Road approximately 1 mile west of Skyline Boulevard provides access to the Ancient Oaks Trail.- Ancient Oaks Trail
  • A parking area on Alpine Road approximately 1 mile west of Skyline Boulevard provides access to the Ancient Oaks Trail.- Ancient Oaks Trail
  • The Ancient Oaks Trail has two components: high (right) and low (left).- Ancient Oaks Trail
  • The Ancient Oaks Trail.- Ancient Oaks Trail
  • Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve from the Ancient Oaks Trail.- Ancient Oaks Trail
  • The Ancient Oaks Trail.- Ancient Oaks Trail
  • A full parking lot is available approximately 2 miles west of Skyline Boulevard on Alpine Road.- Ancient Oaks Trail
  • A full parking lot is available approximately 2 miles west of Skyline Boulevard on Alpine Road.- Ancient Oaks Trail
  • Audrey's Way, a paved walk from the parking lot to a vista.- Ancient Oaks Trail
  • The vista at the end of Audrey's Way.- Ancient Oaks Trail
  • The Ancient Oaks Trail.- Ancient Oaks Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great views. Mixed vegetation. Excellent spring wildflowers.
Cons: 
Equine droppings on the trails.
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Region:
San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, CA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
600.00 ft (182.88 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Biking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
3.50 mi (5.63 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
2,200.00 ft (670.56 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

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.

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(17 within a 30 mile radius)

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(119 within a 30 mile radius)

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