Ridgetop hiking? Check. Picnic-worthy lakes? Check. Sweeping ocean views? Check. It’s hard to imagine all of this packed into one spot, but it’s exactly what you’ll find at the Peninsula’s Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve.
Start this gentle 3-mile (round-trip) hike at Alpine Pond and follow wooded pathways before emerging onto the preserve’s dramatic slope-side trail. Layer upon layer of hills and mountains rise and fall in all directions.
If the weather’s clear, you’ll see all the way to the Pacific. Continue until you reach Horseshoe Lake, where you can watch ducks while you snack at one of the picnic tables surrounding the lake. Head back the way you came, whenever you’re ready.
TIP: When you’ve finished the ridge route, relax and refresh at Thomas Fogarty Winery just up the road. Their gewürztraminer goes especially well with those gorgeous views of the South Bay.
Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve is west of Palo Alto off Hwy. 35 (Skyline Blvd.). Park at the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve parking lot on Alpine Rd., and follow under the tunnel to the Ipiwa Trail from Alpine Pond to Horseshoe Lake. No dogs.