Our Mission

The Bay Area Ridge Trail Council's mission is to create a continuous 550+-mile trail for hikers, mountain bicyclists, and equestrians along the ridgelines overlooking San Francisco Bay.

The Council works in close partnership with agencies and local government, parks, land trusts, and other stakeholders and volunteers to plan, acquire, design, build, care for, and promote the Ridge Trail.

Careful planning and design of the Ridge Trail frequently dovetails with preservation and restoration of key upland habitats - opening the trail often allows the public to experience and enjoy restored natural areas for the first time.

A Visionary Idea Inspires Grassroots Action

More than twenty years ago, National Park Service Director William Penn Mott, Jr., envisioned a trail that would ring the San Francisco Bay high on the ridgeline. While he lived to see only part of the trail completed, Mott inspired a dedicated grassroots effort that has made amazing progress.

The Bay Area Ridge Trail Project 

In 1987, representatives of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and the Greenbelt Alliance organized the Bay Area Ridge Trail project to fulfill Mott’s vision. Their strategy to preserve open space involved creating managed public access to a trail across the ridge tops.

This initial partnership brought together public park agencies and trail advocates from all around the region. They mapped out an initial route for the Ridge Trail, and developed a “road map” for an organization to promote its completion.

Inspiration and Perspiration

Long distance trails require inspiration and perspiration – both an inspiring vision and sustained hard work and focus. In 1992, the Council became an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The Council continues to collaborate with countless public, private and community partners and advocates in all nine Bay Area counties to create more miles of Ridge Trail.

Over 370 Miles and Counting

Today, over 370 miles of the Bay Area Ridge Trail route are open and permanently protected for you to explore - thanks to the inspired vision of William Penn Mott, Jr., the passion and dedication of our founders, and the ongoing effort and support of hundreds of enthusiastic and effective advocates.

With the help of our board, staff, volunteers, and supporters, the vision of a connected ridgeline trail is being transformed into reality, link by link. We invite you to get involved and help complete the Ridge Trail. 


One of the first ribbon cuttings.

Help close gaps and open more miles of Ridge Trail.

Your support makes all the difference. Donate today!

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