With options for short hikes, rides to scenic overlooks, and longer loop trips, Long Ridge Open Space Preserve provides something for everyone. Connecting to Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve by one of the longest continuous segments of the Bay Area Ridge Trail (13 miles from Sanborn-Skyline County Park to the northern boundary of Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve), Long Ridge preserve is popular among hikers, cyclists, and equestrians alike.
The Sempervirens Fund provided major support for acquisition of portions of Long Ridge Open Space Preserve.
This Trail begins at a pullout on Skyline Blvd. and follows an old roadbed through a forest of majestic canyon oaks. A narrow trail off the road leads to a spot called "Turtle Rock" with views of Big Basin State Park, Butano Ridge and the Pacific Ocean.
This flat, 4.3-mile loop trail winds through a little valley to the headwaters of Peters Creek, and then emerges onto a ridge with striking views of the Santa Cruz Mountains. To complete this loop, take Peters Creek trail from the parking lot until it intersects with Long Ridge trail, and then take Long Ridge trail until it meets back up with Peters Creek trail.
This trail features a lake, beautiful oak woodlands, and wildflowers in the spring. You can also take a rest on the granite bench dedicated to conservationist and author Wallace Stegner.
Preserve Highlights & Features
Wallace Stegner Bench
At the intersection of Long Ridge Road and Long Ridge Trail, visitors can stop and enjoy the spectacular view from the Stegner Memorial Bench. Dedicated in 1996 in memory of Pulitzer Prize-winning author and noted environmentalist Wallace Stegner, a great supporter of Midpen.
Here are some of the plants and animals that other visitors have observed at this preserve and recorded in iNaturalist. Protected species may be excluded and some species may not yet have been observed. Help improve iNaturalist by adding your observations to the Midpen Biodiversity Index project
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Know Before You Go
Preserve regulations help provide a safe, enjoyable visit while protecting sensitive areas and wildlife.
Share the Trail
Use designated trails to avoid damage to natural resources and prevent injury.
Avoid blocking the trail. Step aside to allow others to pass .
Whether you’re walking or biking, always yield to equestrians.
Leave no trace. Pack out what you pack in. Most preserves do not have trash cans. Littering is prohibited.
Abuses of trail etiquette should be brought to the attention of a ranger or call the Midpen main office at 650-691-1200.
The following trails may be closed to bicycle and equestrian use during wet conditions.
- Chestnut Trail is OPEN to bicyclists and equestrians.
- Long Ridge Trail is OPEN to bicyclists and equestrians.
- Peters Creek Trail is OPEN to bicyclists and equestrians.
Main lot: Located at Peters Creek trailhead on the west side of Skyline Boulevard, about 3.6 miles north of its intersection with Highway 9, and approximately 3.3 miles south of its intersection with Page Mill Road. If you are coming from the north on Skyline Blvd., the pullout is just past Portola Heights Road on the right. From the south, the pullout for the parking area is near the Palo Alto city limits sign on the right.
There is additional parking across Skyline Blvd. at the Grizzly Flat trailhead.
- Bicyclists: Bicycles are allowed on designated trails only (marked on map). Helmets are required. Observe the 15 mph trail speed limit (5 mph when passing). Avoid startling hikers and equestrians by announcing your presence when approaching from behind.For more information visit the Bicycle Access page.
- Dogs: Dogs are allowed only on designated trails in this preserve (marked on map) and must be controlled on a 6-foot or less leash. Self-retracting leashes are allowed with a maximum extended length of 25 feet. Visitors may have no more than three dogs per person. Bag dog waste and take it with you. Midpen accommodates service dogs in preserves wherever we allow public access. For more information visit the Dog Access page.
- Equestrians: Horses are allowed on designated trails (marked on map). Helmets are recommended for all equestrians. For more information visit the Equestrian Access page.
- Climbing: Climbing is only allowed in designated areas of Long Ridge Preserve. Placement of permanent anchors is prohibited. Refer to section 503 in the District Ordinances for complete regulations.
- Fires are prohibited in preserves.
- Plants & Wildlife: Please leave undisturbed. If you encounter wildlife during a visit, do not approach, startle or feed it. Although wild animals are generally fearful of humans and will run away, some wildlife can be dangerous.
- Smoking is prohibited in preserves.
- Water Areas: Swimming, wading or engaging in any water-contact activity is prohibited.
- Weapons are prohibited in preserves.
A general access permit is required for any activity or event that:
- may be attended by twenty (20) or more people; OR
- would restrict the use of any part of Midpen lands by members of the public; OR
- requests or requires a fee be paid or a donation made for participation. This includes events where the fee is in the form of a mandatory purchase, such as a t-shirt.
Midpen trails and facilities are generally very safe. However, you are entering an environment where there are some naturally occurring hazards. Reasonable caution and common sense should be utilized when venturing into any outdoor environment.
- Do not leave valuables in your vehicle! Lock your vehicle and store valuables out of sight or take them with you on the trail.
- Travel in groups of two or more. Two of more people can assist each other in the event of an accident or emergency.
- Dress for the environment. Temperature changes can be occur and you should dress in layers appropriate for the location, time of year and planned activities.
- Carry water with you. Drinking water is not available at most Midpen preserves so you should bring your own. Two quarts per person per two hour hike is recommended.
- Apply sunscreen and drink plenty of water prior to and during your outdoor activities.
- Be aware that cell service is very sporadic on the preserves.
Be Prepared and Aware
Plan ahead before you leave. Check regulations and weather, download a map, pack water and first aid.
Know your limits and take safety precautions.
Rattlesnakes are native to this area and are especially active in warm weather.
Poison oak grows on most preserves: Learn to identify and avoid it in all seasons.
Ticks are present in this area and may carry diseases.
Mountain lions are a natural part of this region’s environment and are occasionally seen.
In Case of Emergency
If you experience an emergency (fire, accident or other immediate threat to life or property), call 911. For nonemergencies, call 650-691-1200.
The first property owner on Long Ridge was Winston Bennett, who lived in a spot then called Pot Hollow. Born in Georgia, Bennett came west in the 1840s, caught gold fever and headed for the Sierra foothills. After a career as a trader, a constable and a deputy sheriff, Bennett sold his ranch in 1884. Throughout the years, the land has been everything from a ranch, an orchard and even an alternative boarding school. By the time Midpen bought the property in the 1980s, it was the last real working cattle ranch in the area.