Ridge Trail Challenge landing page banner Register for the 2020 Challenge now. Ridge Trail Challenge.

How It Works:

  • The Ridge Trail Challenge runs from August 15 through December 31, 2020.
  • All registered participants will be added to our Ridge Trail Challenge email list, and will receive special tips, encouragement, and resources to finish your challenge.
  • Complete 5 of 33 local adventures listed below and complete our finisher form telling us about your experience.
  • All Ridge Trail Challenge finishers will be entered for the chance to receive the Ridge Trail Prize Pack.
  • Join, renew your membership, or donate to the Ridge Trail when you submit your finisher form and automatically get additional prizes. Once you finish the Challenge and submit your finisher form, you can expect to receive your bonus prizes in the mail within 3-4 weeks.
  • All Ridge Trail Challenge finishers will be invited to our annual members-only Winter Solstice event (subject to COVID restrictions) and acknowledged in our email newsletter and social media.
  • Participants must be 18 years old or older and U.S. residents. No purchase necessary to win.
 

Join Us!

TAKE THE RIDGE TRAIL CHALLENGE.
You Win Prizes!
Sign up and you automatically get:
  • Maps, #protips and other great information about where to go, what to do, and how to do it in style
Finish the Challenge and you get:
  • Entered for the chance to receive the Ridge Trail Prize Pack, which includes a Ridge Trail Guide Book, t-shirt, hat, socks, hip pack, a Columbia Sportswear backpack, a special REI prize, $55 worth of Gig Car Share Credits and more!
Finish the challenge and join, renew your membership, or donate to the Ridge Trail and win additional prizes!
  • Become a RT member, renew, or donate at the
    • $40 level and receive a Ridge Trail bandana and 1 additional entry for the Ridge Trail Prize Pack
    • $100 level and receive a Ridge Trail guide book, Ridge Trail bandana and 1 additional entry for the Ridge Trail Prize Pack

Once you finish the Challenge and submit your finisher form, you can expect to receive your bonus prizes in the mail within 3-4 weeks.



Please #RecreateResponsibly!

As you go out and enjoy the Ridge Trail, please practice the following guidelines to ensure a safe, healthy, and inclusive trail experience for all.
   

  • Know before you go: Check the status of the place you want to visit. If it is closed, don't go. If it's crowded, have a backup plan.
  • Practice physical distancing: Keep your group size small. Be prepared to cover your nose and mouth and give others space. If you don't feel well, stay home.
  • Plan ahead: Prepare for facilities to be closed, pack lunch, and bring essentials like hand sanitizer and a face covering.
  • Explore locally: Limit long-distance travel and make use of local parks, trails, and public spaces. Be mindful of your impact on the communities you visit.
  • Leave no trace: Respect public lands and waters, as well as Native and local communities. Take all your garbage with you.
  • Build an inclusive outdoors: Be an active part of making the outdoors safe and welcoming for all identities and abilities.
  •  
  

33 Local Adventures

Select your 5 adventures from the 33 adventures we've hand picked for you here and go!
Short and Happy

NORTH BAY
Helen Putnam Regional Park

1.1 miles one way. Additional 1.1 miles back to trailhead. Hiking, biking, and equestrian access. Dogs allowed on leash.

Travel through coast live oak groves and grassy landscapes to take in views of Chileno Valley.

Learn more.
Pacific Union College

2.9 miles one way. Additional 2.9 miles back to trailhead. Hiking, biking, and equestrian access. Dogs allowed on leash.

Visitors to this section of the trail, which winds through Pacific Union College's richly biodiverse Demonstration & Experimental Forest, may catch a glimpse of a nesting pair of Northern Spotted Owls, the rare Napa False Indigo, and certainly some of the easternmost Coastal Redwood trees.

Learn more.


EAST BAY
Almond Ranch

1.6 miles one way. Hiking, biking, and equestrian access. Dogs allowed on-leash near picnic areas, otherwise under voice control.

Almond Ranch officially opened to the public on October 17th and is now ready for all to enjoy! Take in sweeping, 360-degree views of the East Bay hills, as well as Mt. Diablo in the distance. Follow John Muir's footsteps across the landscape he often roamed near his home in Martinez, CA.

Learn more.
Fernandez Ranch

1.4 miles one way. Additional 1.4 miles back to trailhead. Hiking, biking, and equestrian access. Dogs allowed under voice control.

A favorite of mountain bikers, Fernandez Ranch features a mix of both sun and shade, beautiful grasslands and bay-oak woodlands.

Learn more.
Vargas Plateau Regional Park

2 miles one way. Create a partial loop by taking an alternative trail and reconnecting with the Ridge trail, making it 1.8 miles back to the trailhead. Hiking, biking, and equestrian access. Dogs allowed under voice control.

Follow wide trails through grassy hills overlooking the South Bay. This trail features moderate ascents and decents and offers sweeping views in all directions.

Learn more.


SOUTH BAY
Berryessa BART/Penitencia Creek Trail

1 mile one way. Additional 1 mile back to trailhead. Hiking, biking, and equestrian access. Dogs allowed on leash.

The Ridge Trail is now BARTable with the opening of the Berryessa BART station this year. Visit this creekside trail and make sure to stop at the contemplative garden to learn more about the indigenous populations of this area.

Learn more.


SF & PENNISULA
Twin Peaks to Buena Vista

2.7 miles one way. Additional 2.7 miles back to trailhead. Car shuttle possible. Hiking and biking access. Dogs allowed on leash.

Yet another segment of the Ridge Trail set to be dedicated this year, the re-route of the Ridge Trail through the eastern segment of Twin Peaks Blvd. will be an exciting addition to your challenge checklist. Though not officially dedicated yet, this trail is open for your enjoyment now. Click the link below to learn more about current trail openings in this area.

Learn more.
Sweeney Ridge

3.2 miles one way for hikers; 1.7 or 1.3 for bikers and equestrians. Additional 3.2 miles back to trailhead. Car shuttle possible. Dogs not allowed on Notch Trail - otherwise allowed on leash.

A trek along this 1000-acre ridgetop visits the historic Portolá San Francisco Bay Discovery Site and offers sweeping views of the coast and mountains.

Learn more.
Mt. Sutro Trail and Phil Arnold Trail

2.8 miles one way. Car shuttle possible. Hiking and biking accessible. Dogs allowed on leash.

Wind your way through the ancient Oak Woodlands in Golden Gate Park then connect to Mount Sutro Preserve and eventually to iconic views from Twin Peaks and beyond for excellent cross-city trekking. This trail segment will be officially dedicated along with the Twin Peaks re-route, but is open now for your enjoyment. Click the link below to learn more about current trail openings in this area.

Learn more.


Not Too Easy, Not Too Hard

NORTH BAY
Rockville Hills Regional Park and Vintage Valley Trail

4.2 miles one way for hikers and mountain bikers, 0.8-mile one way for equestrians. Car shuttle possible. Dogs allowed on leash.

Climb gently through volcanic hills to a remote, grassy valley with a splendid stand of blue oaks. Then ascend to a plateau with views of Mt. Diablo, Elkhorn Peak, and the Twin Sisters.

Learn more.
Hood Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve

5.5 miles one way. Additional 5.5 miles back to trailhead. Alternative return route possible. Hiking, biking, and equestrian access. Dogs allowed on leash.

Enjoy this vigorous uphill trip beginning at CA 12 and follow Hood Creek through forests and meadows, past several ponds, and then clmb to the top of 2,730-foot Hood Mountain for distant views.

Learn more.
Mount Tamalpais State Park and Dias Ridge Trail

5.5 miles one way for hikers and equestrians, 8.3 miles one way for mountain bikers. Car shuttle possible. Dogs not allowed in the State Park. Dogs allowed on leash in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Watch raptors soar above open grassy slopes and take in views of the Pacific Ocean on a trek through Mount Tamalpais State Park.

Learn more.


EAST BAY
Crockett Hills Regional Park

5.4 miles one way. Additional 5.4 miles back to trailhead (shorter return route possible). Hiking, biking, and equestrian access. Round trip would be considered moderate to hard for hikers. Dogs allowed under voice control.

Climb to high grasslands for East Bay views from Carquinez Strait west to Mt. Tamalpais. A favorite spot for mountain bikers and site of the Ridge Trail’s 300th mile dedication.

Learn more.
Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline to John Muir National Historic Site

4.2 miles one-way (plus 1.1-mile return on Mount Wanda Trail); car shuttle possible. Dogs allowed under voice control in East Bay Regional Park areas. Dogs allowed on leash in National Historic Site areas.

Hike or bike up to the ridge for a sweeping view of the historic Carquinez Strait. Continue along the ridge to the John Muir National Heritage site for this physically and mentally enriching experience.

Learn more.
Kennedy Grove Regional Recreation Area to Tilden Regional Park

5.7 miles one way (includes 1-mile round-trip on Laurel Loop and Kennedy Creek Trails). Car shuttle possible. Hiking, biking, and equestrian access. Wheelchair users can access Nimitz Way segment via Inspiration Point trailhead. Dogs allowed on leash on Nimitz Way, otherwise under voice control. Dogs not allowed on Eagle's Nest Trail.

From shady eucalyptus grove to narrow shoreline path to wide ridgetop trail, this route passes diverse landscapes and takes in far-flung views of the Bay Area.

Learn more.


SOUTH BAY
Berryessa BART to Alum Rock Park

3.9 miles one way. Additional 3.9 miles back to trailhead. Car shuttle possible. Hiking, biking, and equestrian access. Dogs allowed on leash.

Experience the entire length of our most recent addition to the Ridge Trail. Start at the new Berryessa BART station and follow along the Penitencia Creek, pausing to enjoy multiple local parks along the way.

Learn more.
Alum Rock Park and Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve

3.9 miles one way. Additional 3.9 miles back to trailhead. Car shuttle possible. Hiking, biking, and equestrian access. Dogs not allowed.

The Sierra Road staging area at Sierra Vista OSP provides the perfect jumping-off point for short or long trips in the Preserve and adjacent historic Alum Rock Park.

Learn more.
Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch Trail

5.6 miles one way (includes 0.9 mile on Harvey Bear Trail, a connector trail). Additional 5.6 miles back to trailhead. Car shuttle possible. Hiking, biking, and equestrian access. Dogs allowed on leash.

After a vigorous climb, this trip heads south on a relatively level trail with views of the lake, the surrounding foothills, and the coastal mountains. Make it a day trip or camp overnight.

Learn more.
Sanborn County Park: John Nicholas Trail

3.5 miles one way (plus 0.5-mile via Lake Ranch Trail from Sanborn Road or 1.9 miles via John Nicholas Trail from Black Road). Additional 3.5 miles back to trailhead. Car shuttle possible. Hiking, biking, and equestrian access. Dogs allowed on leash.

Opened in 2014, this well-designed singletrack wooded trail is a popular mountain biking route with a significant ascent or descent. Lake County Reservoir provides a scenic resting spot.

Learn more.


SF & PENNISULA
Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve

5.8 miles one way for hikers; 7.5 miles one-way for multiuse route. Additional 5.8 or 7.5 miles back to trailhead. Car shuttle possible. Wheelchair users can access a 0.3-mile trail. Dogs not allowed.

This is the location of the first dedicated section of Ridge Trail in May 1989. Five trails in Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve link together for a challenging loop through forested canyons and over high ridges.

Learn more.
Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve and Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve

5.1 miles one way for hikers, 5.5 miles one-way for multiuse route (includes 0.1 mile on Rapley Ranch Road). Additional 5.1 or 5.5 miles back to trailhead. Car shuttle possible. Wheelchair users have access to two lakeside trails around Horseshoe and Alpine Lakes. Dogs not allowed.

Climb through open grasslands to high knolls with gradual elevation gains and losses to enjoy the Peninsula's finest views.

Learn more.
Stern Grove to the Presidio

6.6 miles one way. Additional 6.6 miles back to trailhead. Car shuttle possible. Hiking and biking accessible. Dogs allowed on leash.

San Francisco's spectacular bay and ocean views reward you on gradual climbs along city streets and park paths.

Learn more.


Challenging and Worth It

NORTH BAY
Suscol Headwaters Preserve

This is a new section of the Ridge Trail that is expected to open by the end of 2020. Keep an eye out for updates and add it to your challenge when it opens!

Samuel P. Taylor State Park to White Hill Open Space Preserve

10.8 miles one way. Car shuttle possible. Hiking, biking, and equestrian access. Dogs allowed on leash in State Park. Dogs allowed under voice control on preserve fire road and watershed.

The ridge fire road is long and undulating, with rewarding 360-degree views of the North Bay, and deep canyons and wooded ridges crowned by Mount Tamalpais.

Learn more.


EAST BAY
Redwood and Anthony Chabot Regional Parks

7.5 miles one way for hikers and equestrians; 7.7 miles one way for full multi-use route. Car shuttle possible. Dogs allowed under voice control.

Follow the East Bay Skyline National Recreation Trail along a ridgeline to a broad valley. You'll travel wide trails through second-growth redwoods, descend into a wooded canyon, and climb to open grasslands.

Learn more.
Five Canyons Parkway to Garin/Dry Creek Pioneer Regional Parks

10.6 or 11.2 miles one way (includes a 0.2-mile connector on norther end and a 2.9- or 3.5-mile connector on southern end). Car shuttle possible. Hiking, biking, and equestrian access.

Mostly on open grassland, the trail offers unparalleled views of the bay and its surrounding mountains, as well as views out to the east.

Learn more.


SOUTH BAY
Santa Teresa County Park and Calero Creek/Los Alamitos Creek Trails

6.3 miles one way (plus 1.1 mile return trip from Coyote Peak). Additional 6.3 miles back to trailhead. Car shuttle possible. Wheelchair users can use Calero Creek and Los Alamitos Trails. Hiking, biking, and equestrian access. Dogs allowed under voice control in East Bay Regional Park, on least in Stonebrae.

Take a round-trip trail east through high, oak-studded grasslands to Coyote Peak with sweeping views from Santa Cruz Mountains through Coyote Valley to the Diablo Range.

Learn more.
Coyote Creek Parkway South

9.2 miles one way. Additional 9.2 miles back to trailhead. Car shuttle possible. Wheelchair user access. Hiking, biking, and equestrian access. Dogs allowed on leash.

Take a creekside stroll or ride through the undeveloped broad Coyote Creek floodplain. Enjoy pleasant rest stops under large shade trees and awesome views of the nearby Coast Range. The trail provides an opportunity to appreciate what the Santa Clara Valley looked like before it was developed.

Learn more.
Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve and Lexington Reservoir County Park

11.7 miles one way. Additional 11.7 miles back to trailhead. Car shuttle possible. Hiking, biking, and equestrian access. Dogs allowed except on Woods Trail.

You are rewarded with panoramic views of Mount Umunhum, the Santa Clara Valley, and the Inner and Outer Coast Ranges on this long trek through the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s largest preserve.

Learn more.


SF & PENNISULA
San Francisco Peninsula Watershed

12.8 miles one way (includes 2.9 miles to Sneath Lane trailhead). Additional 12.8 miles back to trailhead. Car shuttle possible. Hiking, biking, and equestrian access. Dogs not allowed.

In this remote open space dedicated volunteer docents will lead you through dense forests and over hilly grasslands to extensive views of the entire Bay Area.

Learn more.
Saratoga Gap Open Space Preserve to Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve

8.1 miles one way for hikers, 7.8 miles one-way for multiuse route. Additional 8.1 or 7.8 miles back to trailhead. Car shuttle possible. Wheelchair route around Horseshoe Lake, less than 1 mile. Hiking, biking, and equestrian access. Dogs allowed on leash in one section of preserve and in county park.

Travel through moist evergreen forests, oak-madrone woodlands, and high grasslands along the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Learn more.


Adventures and Events

Ridge Trail Month

While Ridge Trail Month (November) may be over, you can still participate by doing your own DIY Ridge Trail clean-up. Pick any Ridge Trail you like, bring some supplies, and leave the trail a little cleaner than you found it. Find a supply checklist and more info here: ridgetrail.org/rt-month. Participation in Ridge Trail Month counts as one of your five Ridge Trail Challenge "trails." Please also remember to take photos and send them along to us at alexsabo@ridgetrail.org!

TOGETHERelay & Solo - Pacific Coast Trail Runs

The TOGETHERelay & Solo is a trail race around the Ridge Trail that you can do solo or as part of a team, at the pace you choose! Hosted by Pacific Coast Trail Runs, this is a challenging and fun way to see the Ridge Trail. Participation in the TOGETHERelay counts as one of your five Ridge Trail Challenge "trails" - and by participating you'll likely finish many more of the trails on this list automatically!

Learn more.
#OptOutside with REI

Each year, REI closes its doors on Black Friday and instead encourages people to get outside and enjoy nature. Enjoy the outdoors on REI #OptOutside day.

Learn more.

Thank you to our Sponsors!

Many thanks to our challenge sponsors REI and Gig Car Share, who have donated some amazing prizes to make the challenge even more exciting and rewarding. Thank you!
REI logo Gig Car Share logo

WHAT IS THE RIDGE TRAIL?

The Bay Area Ridge Trail is a visionary regional trail network circling the San Francisco Bay. Today over 383 miles of Ridge Trail exist through all 9 Bay Area counties, and every day we get closer to completing a fully connected 550 mile loop of epic views and adventures.

Learn More.

    View of the trail in Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve