The Trail Companion
December 1997/January 1998
A League or Less
Hawk Ridge at Dusk (Russian Ridge Open Space
Though the long drive to Russian Ridge might make
this issue's League or Less too much of an expedition
if you have just a couple hours to spare, the
ridge-top preserve is well worth the time. I drove to
the Caltrans vista point on Skyline Boulevard. On
summer evenings, the parking area is often crowded
with people taking in the terrific view of the Bay
Area, but I had no trouble finding a place. I crossed
Skyline and entered Russian Ridge preserve, trading
the view of the Bay for a blanket of fog spreading
inland from the Pacific. I had a windbreaker to ward
off the brisk breeze at parking lot, but once I was
below the crest, the breeze let up.
I followed Mindego
Ridge Trail west between Russian and Hawk ridges.
Ahead of me, Mindego Ridge ran almost level before
rising to the forested slopes of Mindego Hill. A
heavy cover of yellow star thistle made Mindego Ridge
a pale green; fortunately the yellow starthistIc is
not as thick on the golden brown slopes of Russian
Ridge. The Open Space District is trying to control
this noxious exotic, experimenting with a variety of
methods including goats, mowing and herbicides. It is
too early to tell which method or combination of
methods will work best. As a veteran of many painful
star thistle jabs, I hope they are successful.
After walking on
Mindego Ridge Trail for about a half mile, I came to
the Alder Spring Trail junction and turned left. The
springs trickling under the shade of alders, bays and
oaks are a welcome sight during the warmer months.
This evening, wisps of fog raced overhead. so the
shade was not as important. A short distance on the
Alder Spring Trail brought me to the Hawk Ridge
Trail, which I climbed toward the top of the ridge.
Shortly after the junction, I came to a beautiful
example of a geological contact: white sedimentary
sandstone abut layers of dark basalt from the
undersea volcanic eruptions that helped form this
If you are going: Russian Ridge
Preserve is located on the west side of Skyline
Boulevard, encompassing an area from the Page
Mill/Alpine Road intersection to Rapley Ranch Road, 3
miles to the north. The Caltrans Vista Point is
located 2 miles north of the Page Mill intersection
(approximately 5 miles south of the junction of
Highway 84 and Skyline). Cross Skyline just north of
the parking area and enter the gate. The preserve is
open to bicycles, hikers and equestrians from 8: 00
a.m. to 1/2 hour after sunset. No facilities or
Trail Center. All rights reserved.
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Manager for corrections or comments.