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All Midpen Preserves are open to the public free of charge, 365 days a year from dawn until one-half hour after sunset.
OVERVIEWIn the spring, this 3,137-acre preserve explodes with color as the native wildflowers – primarily poppies and lupine – put on a showy display. By May and June, gumweed, mules ears, farewell-to-spring, and brodiaea bloom. The hills turn to gold in the summer, with the late evening sunlight. Autumn, when the fog recedes, is the ideal time to enjoy the ridge views of San Francisco Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains through the crisp, clean air. Winter storms occasionally dust the top of the hills with snow.
DIRECTIONS & PARKING
The Russian Ridge main parking area is located on the northwest corner of the Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35) and Page Mill / Alpine Road intersection (across Skyline Boulevard on the right). Additional parking is located at the Caltrans vista point opposite Russian Preserve gate #RR01 on Skyline Boulevard.Get driving directions to the main parking area from Google Maps.
Mindego Gateway has parking for 20 cars, a restroom, and access to a popular trail system that links Borel Hill, the Bay Area Ridge Trail and Alpine Pond. Mindego Gateway features the Audrey C. Rust commemorative site, in honor of the former president of POST, who, over her career, helped to protect 53,000 acres of open space. Tiered viewing platforms, including a wheelchair-accessible terrace, offer visitors sweeping views of protected peaks and ridgelines that continue to the Pacific Ocean.Get driving directions to Mindego Gateway from Google Maps.
Diverse plant communities, miles of forest edge, and abundant springs make Russian Ridge an outstanding habitat for wildlife. Large numbers of raptors soar over the lush grasslands, and coyotes patrol the ridges. The steep forested canyons create a secure refuge for a tremendous variety of animals, including the elusive mountain lion. These beautiful animals have large territories that extend far beyond the preserve boundaries, up to 100 miles! The preserve is also one of the best places in the Bay Area to see raptors. Red-tailed hawks, turkey vultures, Cooper's hawks, sharp-shinned hawks and golden eagles have all been seen on the preserve.
Mindego Gateway features the Audrey C. Rust commemorative site, in honor of the former president of POST, who, over her career, helped to protect 53,000 acres of open space. Tiered viewing platforms, including a wheelchair-accessible terrace, offer visitors sweeping views of protected peaks and ridgelines that continue to the Pacific Ocean.
Over 10 miles of trails are available at Russian Ridge. The Bay Area Ridge Trail continues north from Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve along the ridge to Rapley Ranch Road, providing breathtaking views of both the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay. The trail passes by Borel Hill, the highest named point in San Mateo County, which offers a 360-degree view.
The Mindego Hill Trail leads from the Mindego Gateway parking area to the rest of the preserve. The extension of the trail to the top of Mindego Hill is expected to open in 2015 once cattle grazing is reintroduced to the area.
Below is a list of some basic regulations that will help to ensure a safe, enjoyable visit.
Night Photography Hike
Bouquet of Flowers
Top O’ Mindego Morning
Explorer Hike: Wildflowers and Views
Explorer Hike: Mindego Hill or Bust
* The new section of Ancient Oaks Trail from the Mindego Gateway parking lot to the existing Ancient Oaks Trail is now OPEN.
IMPORTANT: Please be aware that seasonal trail closures may change from day to day without notice, based on changing weather conditions. Also note that during winter storm season high waters can make creek crossings hazardous, so plan your outing accordingly.
Last updated on: 3/20/2015