Preserve Info

Hiking
Biking
Equestrian
Wheelchair accessible
Restrooms
Good for Kids

Overview

Temporary COVID-19 Restrictions

  • Face coverings are required when you can’t stay 6 feet away from persons you don’t live with. Many Midpen trails are narrow — wear a mask, bandanna or gaiter you can pull over your mouth and nose as needed.
  • Paper maps are not available at preserves. Please download a map before leaving home or snap a photo of the signboard map before you hike.
  • Cloud Ridge Vista Point is CLOSED by Caltrans order. Roadside parking is very limited.
  • Roadside parking restrictions along Alpine Road. Please observe all posted signage.

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.

Construction Notice

Construction will take place in the Russian Ridge main parking lot beginning on Friday, September 25. The trail entrance will be rerouted and parking capacity in the lot will be slightly reduced during construction. Please follow all posted guidelines. Construction is estimated to be completed in November.

A one-day closure will be required during construction, this date is tentatively scheduled for early October and will be posted once confirmed.

The project, part of Midpen’s ADA Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan, includes ADA compliant upgrades to restrooms, accessible parking stalls, pathways, signage, drainage infrastructure and split-rail fences. A porta-potty will be available while the restroom is closed.

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: Tiered viewing platforms, including a wheelchair-accessible terrace, offer visitors sweeping views of protected peaks and ridgelines that continue to the Pacific Ocean. The area is named in honor of the former president of POST, who, over her career, helped to protect 53,000 acres of open space.
  • POST Council Circle: Mark the passing seasons at this unique solar calendar! Stand on the brass marker at the base of the calendar, and see where your shadow lands. If you're there at noon on an equinox or solstice date your shadow will line up with corresponding markings on the circle floor!
    Solar calendar at POST Council Circle.

How to Get Here

Roadside parking restrictions currently in place along Alpine Road. Please observe all posted signage.

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).

Cloud Rest Vista Point is CLOSED by order of Caltrans (opposite Russian Ridge Preserve gate #RR01 on Skyline Boulevard)

Construction Notice

Construction will take place in the Russian Ridge main parking lot beginning on Friday, September 25. The trail entrance will be rerouted and parking capacity in the lot will be slightly reduced during construction. Please follow all posted guidelines. Construction is estimated to be completed in November.

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 now open, and runs through areas where there are grazing cattle.

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

This information is updated as needed when trails are opened or closed, or when there is scheduled trail maintenance. Visit the full Trail Conditions page for more information.

  • Construction will take place in the Russian Ridge main parking lot beginning on Friday, September 25. The trail entrance will be rerouted and parking capacity in the lot will be slightly reduced during construction. Please follow all posted guidelines. Construction is estimated to be completed in November.
  • Construction related vehicle traffic is expected on the Mindego Hill Trail from August 31 to October 31, between 7 - 8 a.m. and 4 - 6 p.m. The trail will remain open to public use.
  • Clouds Rest Vista Point is closed by order of Caltrans. Roadside parking is very limited in this area.
Date updated: Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 4:00pm

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, is named 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 acquiring the Preserve in 1978, through a series of complex transations, from it's owners, who were planning to subdivide and build houses. 

Regulations

  • Hours: Open half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.
  • Bicycles: Are allowed on designated trails only (those shown on the map for bicycle use). Helmets are required. Observe the 15 mph trail speed limit (5 mph when passing). 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.
  • Permits: A use permit is required for any activity or event which: may be attended by twenty (20) or more people; OR is advertised or noticed in any publication, poster, electronic posting or flyer; OR requests/requires a fee be paid for participation. Visit the Permit page for more information.
     
  • Fires: Fires are prohibited in preserves.
     
  • Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in preserves.
     
  • Weapons: All weapons are prohibited in preserves.
     
  • Plants & Wildlife: Please leave plants and animals 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. 
     
  • Water Areas: Swimming, wading or engaging in any water-contact activity is prohibited.

Download District Regulations and Ordinances

Overview

Temporary COVID-19 Restrictions

  • Face coverings are required when you can’t stay 6 feet away from persons you don’t live with. Many Midpen trails are narrow — wear a mask, bandanna or gaiter you can pull over your mouth and nose as needed.
  • Paper maps are not available at preserves. Please download a map before leaving home or snap a photo of the signboard map before you hike.
  • Cloud Ridge Vista Point is CLOSED by Caltrans order. Roadside parking is very limited.
  • Roadside parking restrictions along Alpine Road. Please observe all posted signage.

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.

Construction Notice

Construction will take place in the Russian Ridge main parking lot beginning on Friday, September 25. The trail entrance will be rerouted and parking capacity in the lot will be slightly reduced during construction. Please follow all posted guidelines. Construction is estimated to be completed in November.

A one-day closure will be required during construction, this date is tentatively scheduled for early October and will be posted once confirmed.

The project, part of Midpen’s ADA Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan, includes ADA compliant upgrades to restrooms, accessible parking stalls, pathways, signage, drainage infrastructure and split-rail fences. A porta-potty will be available while the restroom is closed.

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. 

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: Tiered viewing platforms, including a wheelchair-accessible terrace, offer visitors sweeping views of protected peaks and ridgelines that continue to the Pacific Ocean. The area is named in honor of the former president of POST, who, over her career, helped to protect 53,000 acres of open space.
  • POST Council Circle: Mark the passing seasons at this unique solar calendar! Stand on the brass marker at the base of the calendar, and see where your shadow lands. If you're there at noon on an equinox or solstice date your shadow will line up with corresponding markings on the circle floor!
    Solar calendar at POST Council Circle.

Roadside parking restrictions currently in place along Alpine Road. Please observe all posted signage.

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).

Cloud Rest Vista Point is CLOSED by order of Caltrans (opposite Russian Ridge Preserve gate #RR01 on Skyline Boulevard)

Construction Notice

Construction will take place in the Russian Ridge main parking lot beginning on Friday, September 25. The trail entrance will be rerouted and parking capacity in the lot will be slightly reduced during construction. Please follow all posted guidelines. Construction is estimated to be completed in November.

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 now open, and runs through areas where there are grazing cattle.

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

This information is updated as needed when trails are opened or closed, or when there is scheduled trail maintenance. Visit the full Trail Conditions page for more information.

  • Construction will take place in the Russian Ridge main parking lot beginning on Friday, September 25. The trail entrance will be rerouted and parking capacity in the lot will be slightly reduced during construction. Please follow all posted guidelines. Construction is estimated to be completed in November.
  • Construction related vehicle traffic is expected on the Mindego Hill Trail from August 31 to October 31, between 7 - 8 a.m. and 4 - 6 p.m. The trail will remain open to public use.
  • Clouds Rest Vista Point is closed by order of Caltrans. Roadside parking is very limited in this area.
Date updated: Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 4:00pm

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, is named 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 acquiring the Preserve in 1978, through a series of complex transations, from it's owners, who were planning to subdivide and build houses. 

  • Hours: Open half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.
  • Bicycles: Are allowed on designated trails only (those shown on the map for bicycle use). Helmets are required. Observe the 15 mph trail speed limit (5 mph when passing). 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.
  • Permits: A use permit is required for any activity or event which: may be attended by twenty (20) or more people; OR is advertised or noticed in any publication, poster, electronic posting or flyer; OR requests/requires a fee be paid for participation. Visit the Permit page for more information.
     
  • Fires: Fires are prohibited in preserves.
     
  • Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in preserves.
     
  • Weapons: All weapons are prohibited in preserves.
     
  • Plants & Wildlife: Please leave plants and animals 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. 
     
  • Water Areas: Swimming, wading or engaging in any water-contact activity is prohibited.

Download District Regulations and Ordinances

Download Preserve Map

Preserve Info

Hiking
Biking
Equestrian
Wheelchair accessible
Restrooms
Good for Kids

Hours

Preserves are open from one-half hour before official sunrise until one-half hour after official sunset.

Preserve Activities

There are no events scheduled at this preserve currently.