Area: San Francisco Peninsula
Distance: 3½ miles
Type: Loop
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation gain: 700ft (from 2,100 - 2,500 ft)

There are many reasons to love the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve, whether it's the expanses of rolling hills, the peek-a-boo ocean views or the sight of the sprawling peninsula cities beneath the Santa Cruz mountains.

Our recommended loop trail around the southern half of the park begins with a gentle incline to the top of Borel Hill (2,572 ft) where you'll find the best views in area, before dropping down onto Ancient Oaks Trail which provides some welcome shade on the hottest days.

Visiting this park once might not be enough. Green rolling hills in the early season eventually give way to blankets of spring flowers, before the summer sun turns the tall grasses golden and gives the park a complete make-over. The heat in the mid-day summer months can be a little much for some, but the evenings often prove to be very pleasant, particularly if you're lucky enough to witness the dramatic coastal fogs creep in across the landscape.

- Trailspotting Images: Russian Ridge on Flickr
- Official Site: Russian Ridge
- Official Site: Russian Ridge PDF trail map

Peninsula Trails: Hiking and Biking Trails on the San Francisco Peninsula by Jean Rusmore