Full Review: Coal Mine Ridge

There is free parking on the right side of Alpine Road across from the trailhead.  There is also some parking on Willowbrook Drive.  By the trailhead, is a sign with a map of the trails.


Coal_Mine_Ridge_1.JPG   Coal_Mine_Ridge_2.JPG

        Alpine road parking                           Trailhead


Coal_Mine_Ridge_3.JPG   Coal_Mine_Ridge_4.JPG

               Alpine trail                      Mushroom log by the trail


The 400 acre ridge was named after a coal mine that opened on the ridge and was later buried by a landslide.  The trails were built and are maintained by volunteers. This review covers a 90 minute, approximately five mile loop with moderate elevation changes.  The trails are a mix of narrow and wide and a mix of exposed and shady.  You will meet fellow hikers and runners along the trails.  There are many trail markers with names of the trails and mileage to guide your way.


Alpine trail is the first trail at the trailhead. Take this trail for a jaunt until it connects to the Toyon trail (hiking only). The Alpine and Toyon trails take you gradually uphill with an elevation change of about 500 feet through some brush and trees, along the ridge with views of Windy Hill Open Space Preserve and across two bridges.  There are a couple of benches along the way for taking a rest and view your surroundings.


Coal_Mine_Ridge_5.JPG   Coal_Mine_Ridge_6.JPG

         Narrow Toyon trail               View of nearby Windy Hill



        Benches along trail


Coal_Mine_Ridge_8.JPG   Coal_Mine_Ridge_9.JPG

                        Shady ridgeline


Coal_Mine_Ridge_10.JPG   Coal_Mine_Ridge_11.JPG

                                     Bridge crossings



      Along the Toyon trail


After about two miles, you will see the Lake trail marker on your left, take this for almost one half of a mile, and you will see a pond with swimming ducks.  You can take a break and sit on the hill by the pond.  If you look about 100 feet away, you will see a trail heading back in the direction you initially started and find another trailhead that will point you in the direction of the historical Old Spanish Trail.  Records have it that a criminal named Pomponio was being chased by soldiers along this route.


Coal_Mine_Ridge_13.JPG   Coal_Mine_Ridge_14.JPG

           Pond with ducks                      Old Spanish Trail


At this point, the trail becomes wider and more exposed.  You will pass an intersection with the CoalMine trail, so stay to your right to keep on the Old Spanish Trail.  You will pass Eucalypus trees, Madrones, Toyon shrubs, coast live oak trees and blackberry bushes.  Watch for signs for the Alpine trail and take this back to Alpine road and your parked car.


Coal_Mine_Ridge_15.JPG   Coal_Mine_Ridge_16.JPG
                Eucalyptus                     Old Spanish Trail


Coal_Mine_Ridge_17.JPG   Coal_Mine_Ridge_18.JPG

              Toyon shrub                                 Wide trail


Coal_Mine_Ridge_19.JPG   Coal_Mine_Ridge_20.JPG

          Madrone                           Coast live oak