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Skyline Riding

Intermediate/Difficult
 5.0 (1) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A gorgeous, 22-mile link-up of the best trails along Skyline!


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Map Key

23.1

Miles

37.1

KM

70%

Singletrack

2,614' 797 m

High

1,296' 395 m

Low

2,807' 856 m

Up

2,883' 879 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

21%

Max Grade (12°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Not Allowed

Features Views

Overview

Enjoy gorgeous views and flowing singletrack! This route takes you through the seven main Open Space Preserves along Skyline Road: Russian Ridge, Coal Creek, Monte Bello, Steven Creek, Saratoga Gap, Long Ridge, and Skyline Ridge. You'll ride through forests, amber waves of grain, and even a creek!

I created this route as a shorter alternative to the Mid-Peninsula Linkup Ride. I prefer this route because it places the treacherous Charcoal Road climb in the center of the ride, rather than the end where you are forced to climb 2,000 ft after biking 24 miles. The parking spot is also further north and may make a shorter drive for some folk.

Need to Know

- Be sure to bring lots of water and electrolytes (you'll need it for the Charcoal Road ascent).
- Russian Ridge can get very windy and, in the mornings it can be very cold. So if you are riding fast, prone to getting cold, or you get a flat up there, the wind can chill your bones, it can be useful to have a windbreaker or jacket.
- This goes without saying, but you are riding through Bobcat, Mountain Lion, and Rattlesnake territory. Be careful and follow the proper protocol posted at trailheads. Beware of poison oak as well.
- Long Ridge OSP will close trails (such as Peters Creek Trail) to bikers during rain. Check openspace.org/preserves/lon… to see if the trail is open to bikers.

Description

Start at Russian Ridge lot. Ride north along Ridge Trail. At the first junction on the trail, keep to the right to stay on the Ridge Trail. At the second junction, take the side trail to the left to the Ridge Trail Alternate. Immediately after, there is another fork, stay to the right so you ride along the Ridge Trail Alternate, do not take the Bo Gimbal Trail. At the fork where you can turn left to go down Hawk Trail, keep right to pass the power lines to Rapley Ranch Road. Turn right onto the paved road to leave Russian Ridge OSP and then another right again onto Skyline Blvd.

Continue on Skyline until you see Crazy Pete Road on your left (be very careful crossing Skyline Rd, lots of fast cars that don't stop). Down Crazy Pete's Road Trail you should find the entrance to Coal Creek OSP. Follow the White Oak Trail, keeping to the right, until you reach Skid Road Trail, in which case stay straight (left). If you are tired, you can take a right onto Skid Road Trail to get back to Skyline Rd. Skid Road Trail leads to Steven Creek Nature Trail which brings you to Canyon Trail. When you reach Canyon Trail, stay to the right. At the first junction on Canyon Trail, stay to the right.

Alternate extra loop: If you are up for a steep fire-road climb to Black Mountain's peak, and fantastic singletrack back downhill, turn left and take Indian Creek Trail to the top of Black Mountain, swing a left onto Old Ranch Trail (there is a nice backpacking site if you want to stop for lunch up there, too). Take Old Ranch Trail for a mile, then take a left onto Bella Vista (enjoy some of the most gorgeous views ever as you descend on sweet singletrack!). At the bottom of Bella Vista Trail, take a left to get back onto Canyon Trail.

Canyon Trail consists of some fun downhill fire roads. Once you reach the fork and see the sign for Table Mountain Trail, take the right trail. Cross the creek and start going uphill. There are not very many trails in the area here, so if you don't know where to go, go uphill. Table Mountain Trail brings you to Charcoal Road. Table Mountain Trail is technical singletrack and Charcoal Road is just steep fire road. Pant your way up Charcoal until you reach the big intersection. Take the right onto the Saratoga Gap Trail.

Saratoga Gap Trail leads you to Skyline Blvd. Carefully cross Skyline Road and enter Long Ridge OSP. Turn right on the Hickory Oaks Trail. Then just keep to the right until you see the entrance to Peters Creek Trail on your right side. Follow Peters Creek Trail through the open "gate." At the fork, stay to the right on Peters Creek Trail, then turn left onto the Ridge Trail (going right will take you to Grizzly Flat Trail, back across Skyline Road and down to the bottom of Charcoal Road).

The Ridge Trail leads all the way to Russian Ridge OSP through a number of road intersections. Once you reach the picnic area with a parking lot, the trail continues behind a shack at about your 10 o'clock position (it may be hard to see but there is a sign).

Continue on along Ridge Trail singletrack until you emerge on a fire road adjacent to Skyline Road. Turn left, and keep left at the following forks (do not go down Lambert Creek Trail, however). You'll ride past Horseshoe Lake on a small bridge, and soon thereafter is a split in the trail - take a left again to go uphill, and this is the last uphill section! Push through it until you reach Alpine Pond and stay to the right and you'll pop back out at the Russian Ridge Parking area where you started!

Contacts

Shared By:

Sam Fine

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#969

Overall
  5.0 from 1 vote
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Recommended Route Rankings

#153

in California

#969

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1,305 Since Feb 12, 2021
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Photos

Beautiful light on the ridge trail.
Jul 14, 2015 near Ladera, CA
Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve Ancient Oaks Trail
Jul 13, 2015 near Ladera, CA
Beautiful "Bambi-like" forest singletrack at White Oaks Trail
Dec 6, 2015 near Los Alt…, CA
Looking south
Jul 15, 2015 near Ladera, CA
It doesn't get much better than this...
Jul 14, 2015 near Ladera, CA
Awesome view on the ridge
Apr 15, 2013 near Ladera, CA

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