The entrance to the preserve is just off Skyline Boulevard - look for the large wooden sign. There is a large dirt parking lot that is rarely full. They have a restroom but no running water. Please note that this trail leads down a hill and all the trails that stem from this generally go downhill with not much flat walking area. The trails are generally shady so they are perfect for the summer months when it can get very hot and can be quite cool and damp in the fall and winter. You may even see banana slugs crossing the trails during these times.
Sign at preserve entrance Parking lot
Trail entrance Restroom
Follow the trail down the hill. You will almost immediately come to a split in the path where hikers bear right and hikers and bicycles bear left. If you want to avoid the bicycles, stay on the right – Bay Area Ridge Trail. Year round these trails are green and shady.
Bear right at fork in the path Green trails
Greenery Sunlight thru the trees
Shady tree views
After the switch backs, you will have views of the hills to your right. If you are lucky to have a clear day, you can start to see the Pacific Ocean through the trees.
More trail views Switchback
Views of the hills
After walking about 0.5 miles, you will come to a gate (see below). This connects back up to the wide North Ridge Trail that is shared with bicyclists. At this gate, North Ridge Trail meets up with Whittemore Gulch Trail. Bear right at this fork in the road to stay on the North Ridge Trail.
Whittemore Gulch connection
The North Ridge Trail proceeds downhill for another 1.2 miles and continues through the shady Redwood forest. The trail will meet up with another trail on the left, so stay to the right to continue on North Ridge Trail. After a while, the trail opens up and you get views of the mountain range and an unobstructed view of the Pacific Ocean.
Views of the Redwood forest
Bear right at the next connector More shade
Views of the Pacific Ocean
Looking further down the hill, the sunny trail winds its way down and back up through an open area to its natural end at the top of the wooded hill. Here, you see wildflowers even in July – bush monkey flower, mayweed and red heart-leaved keckiella.
End of trail Monkey flower
Mayweed Heart-leaved keckiella