We can’t always guarantee timing, but recent rains and warm days can bring a burst of wildflowers to the Peninsula’s Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve. In spring this park can be a tapestry of colors, but even if the flower power isn’t full on, the views sure are! For a moderate 5-miler that can pair wildflowers with amazing views, start on the Ridge Trail. If flowers are out then within the first mile you’re likely to see the yellow Johnny jump-ups leap into view, along with blue-eyed grass weaving all across the ridge.
From 2,500 feet, Half Moon Bay beckons and Silicon Valley and the Bay shine beneath a series of cascading hills. Descend the ridge by making a left onto Hawk Trail where a native blackberry bush brims with white blossoms. Soon you’ll be winding through a furry green grove of knotty and twisted oak trees—some with branches so thick they make good seats for taking a break. On the ascent back to the ridge, milkmaids, hound’s tongue and miner’s lettuce sprinkle the trail. Good Russia color!
The Russian Ridge parking lot is at the intersection of Hwy. 35 and Alpine Rd. Download a map before leaving home or snap a photo of the signboard map before you hike. Follow the Ridge Trail about 2 miles until you reach Hawk Trail. Turn left and take the Hawk Trail and follow signs toward the Ancient Oaks Trail. Take the Ancient Oaks Trail. After .5 mile you can turn left to go back up to the Ridge Trail, or continue on the Ancient Oaks Trail. Either way will take you back to the parking lot. Bring your own water. No dogs.