Preserve Info

Hiking
Biking
Equestrian
Wheelchair accessible
Restrooms
Good for Kids

Overview

This 3,137-acre preserve known for its showy display of wildflowers in spring. In summer, the hills turn to gold 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.

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.

Bike and Equestrian Access Limited: Activities may not be designated on all trails within the Preserve-- always refer to the map and trail signage for where the activity is permitted. 

Gallery

Features

  • Wildflowers - In the spring this 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.
  • 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 this Preserve.
  • Borel Hill -  The highest named point in San Mateo County, which offers a 360-degree view.

Mindego Gateway and the Audrey C. Rust Commemorative Site - 

Audrey C. Rust Commemorative Site © Jack Gescheidt

  • Named 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. 

Directions

Russian Ridge Main Parking:

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 directions to main lot:


Mindego Gateway Lot:

Parking is available for 20 cars, a restroom, and access to trails that link Borel Hill, the Bay Area Ridge Trail and Alpine Pond. Mindego Gateway features the Audrey C. Rust commemorative site.

Get directions to Mindego Gateway:

Trails

Over 10 miles of trails are available for hiking, biking and equestrian use. (Dogs are NOT allowed on this Preserve).

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.

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 Ancient Oaks Trail - This Trail graces its visitors with the stunning display of oak limbs arching over the Trail to form a welcoming canopy. Leading to the new Mindego parking lot on Alpine Road, it can also be accessed from the Bo Gimbal Trail.

Trail Conditions

  • The new section of Ancient Oaks Trail from the Mindego Gateway parking lot to the existing Ancient Oaks Trail is now OPEN.
  • The segment of the Mindego Hill Trail to the top of Mindego Hill is partially completed but will not be open until grazing is reintroduced in 2015. There is currently no public access past gate RR12.
  • To protect a federally listed endangered species (the San Francisco garter snake), the final mile of the Mindego Hill Trail prior to the current end of the trail at gate RR12 is CLOSED to bicycle use.

History

Russian Ridge was named for Mr. Paskey, a Russian immigrant who grazed cattle and ran a dairy farm here from about 1920 to 1950. Paskey originally leased his land from James "Sunny Jim" Rolph, Jr., then mayor of San Francisco, and later California's governor.

Native Americans are thought to have used the area for gathering seeds, and may have burned some of the grasslands to encourage a bountiful crop the following years.

Borel Hill, names for Antonio Borel, a Swiss banker who lived here from 1885 to 1910. Borel was involved with the Spring Valley Water Company, which later created Crystal Springs Reservoir. 

The District began aquiring the Preserve in 1978, through a series of complex transations, from it's owners, who were planning ot subdivide and build houses. 

Regulations

  • Hours: Open dawn to one-half hour after sunset.
  • Bicyclists: Bikes are allowed on designated trails in this Preserve. Helmets are required for all riders at all times. Please observe the 15-mph trail speed limit (5-mph when passing or approaching blind turns). For more information visit the Bicycle Access page.
  • Equestrians: Horses are allowed on designated trails in this Preserve. Helmets are recommended for all equestrians. For more information visit the Equestrian Access page.
  • Groups: For safety reasons, permits are required for all groups of 20 or more people.
  • Fires: Fires are prohibited on preserves.
     
  • Smoking: Smoking is prohibited on preserves.
     
  • Weapons: Weapons of any kind are prohibited on preserves. 
     
  • Plants and Animals: Please leave plants and animals undisturbed. This not only preserves the natural environment, but is also a safety precaution. 
     
  • Water Areas: Swimming wading, or engaging in any water-contact activity in any water areas of the District is prohibited.

Download District Regulations and Ordinances

Overview

This 3,137-acre preserve known for its showy display of wildflowers in spring. In summer, the hills turn to gold 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.

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.

Bike and Equestrian Access Limited: Activities may not be designated on all trails within the Preserve-- always refer to the map and trail signage for where the activity is permitted. 

Photo Gallery

Features

  • Wildflowers - In the spring this 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.
  • 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 this Preserve.
  • Borel Hill -  The highest named point in San Mateo County, which offers a 360-degree view.

Mindego Gateway and the Audrey C. Rust Commemorative Site - 

Audrey C. Rust Commemorative Site © Jack Gescheidt

  • Named 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. 

Russian Ridge Main Parking:

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 directions to main lot:


Mindego Gateway Lot:

Parking is available for 20 cars, a restroom, and access to trails that link Borel Hill, the Bay Area Ridge Trail and Alpine Pond. Mindego Gateway features the Audrey C. Rust commemorative site.

Get directions to Mindego Gateway:

Trails

Over 10 miles of trails are available for hiking, biking and equestrian use. (Dogs are NOT allowed on this Preserve).

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.

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 Ancient Oaks Trail - This Trail graces its visitors with the stunning display of oak limbs arching over the Trail to form a welcoming canopy. Leading to the new Mindego parking lot on Alpine Road, it can also be accessed from the Bo Gimbal Trail.

Trail Conditions

  • The new section of Ancient Oaks Trail from the Mindego Gateway parking lot to the existing Ancient Oaks Trail is now OPEN.
  • The segment of the Mindego Hill Trail to the top of Mindego Hill is partially completed but will not be open until grazing is reintroduced in 2015. There is currently no public access past gate RR12.
  • To protect a federally listed endangered species (the San Francisco garter snake), the final mile of the Mindego Hill Trail prior to the current end of the trail at gate RR12 is CLOSED to bicycle use.

Russian Ridge was named for Mr. Paskey, a Russian immigrant who grazed cattle and ran a dairy farm here from about 1920 to 1950. Paskey originally leased his land from James "Sunny Jim" Rolph, Jr., then mayor of San Francisco, and later California's governor.

Native Americans are thought to have used the area for gathering seeds, and may have burned some of the grasslands to encourage a bountiful crop the following years.

Borel Hill, names for Antonio Borel, a Swiss banker who lived here from 1885 to 1910. Borel was involved with the Spring Valley Water Company, which later created Crystal Springs Reservoir. 

The District began aquiring the Preserve in 1978, through a series of complex transations, from it's owners, who were planning ot subdivide and build houses. 

  • Hours: Open dawn to one-half hour after sunset.
  • Bicyclists: Bikes are allowed on designated trails in this Preserve. Helmets are required for all riders at all times. Please observe the 15-mph trail speed limit (5-mph when passing or approaching blind turns). For more information visit the Bicycle Access page.
  • Equestrians: Horses are allowed on designated trails in this Preserve. Helmets are recommended for all equestrians. For more information visit the Equestrian Access page.
  • Groups: For safety reasons, permits are required for all groups of 20 or more people.
  • Fires: Fires are prohibited on preserves.
     
  • Smoking: Smoking is prohibited on preserves.
     
  • Weapons: Weapons of any kind are prohibited on preserves. 
     
  • Plants and Animals: Please leave plants and animals undisturbed. This not only preserves the natural environment, but is also a safety precaution. 
     
  • Water Areas: Swimming wading, or engaging in any water-contact activity in any water areas of the District is prohibited.

Download District Regulations and Ordinances

Download Preserve Map

Preserve Info

Hiking
Biking
Equestrian
Wheelchair accessible
Restrooms
Good for Kids

Hours

Open dawn to one-half hour after sunset.

Preserve Activities

August 29, 2015
September 12, 2015
September 25, 2015
November 25, 2015