Skyline Ridge Tree Farm

Dec 20th, 2018

Horseshoe Lake & Tree Farm Trail 
Take in the cool air and the scent of fir along the trail on these hikes in the Skyline Wilderness Open Space Preserve. Take a leisurely stroll and stop to picnic at Horseshoe Lake, or go a little further and explore the Skyline Ranch Christmas Tree Farm.

Horseshoe Lake Loop
Distance: 1.1-miles
Difficulty: Easier
Perfect for just about anyone, no matter their size or ability, this leisurely hike is perfect for taking in the serenity of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The trail tread up to the dam is easily wheelchair/stroller accessible, with a handicapped lot next to the trail. 

Directions: Starting at the Horseshoe Loop Trail Head, take a left at the first intersection of the Horse Loop Trail. Follow the trail 0.4 miles, then continue on the Ridge Trail. At the next trail junction, stay to your right and follow the Ridge Trail back to the Horseshoe Loop trail, and continue back to your starting point. 

Extended your loop…
Keep the adventure going and extend your hike another mile to the to the Fir Knoll trail. While oaks dominate most of the region, this trail leads you up a hill presided over by these tall majestic firs.

Directions: Starting at the Horseshoe Loop Trail Head, take a left at the first intersection of the Horse Loop Trail. Follow the trail 0.4 miles, then turn left and follow the Tree Farm Trail 0.3 miles and turn right to continue on the Fir Knoll Trail. Follow the Fir Knoll back to the Tree Farm trail and turn left to continue on to the Ridge Trail and back to the Horseshoe Loop trail to complete your loop. 

Tree Farm Trail Point-to-Point
Distance: 2.6-miles
Difficulty: Moderate
This part of Skyline Ridge Preserve is scattered with the remains of an old Christmas tree farm. From 2003-2010, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District worked to restore this habitat. Many of those old trees still remain and hikers can enjoy a unique view of coastal hillsides dotted with oversized Christmas trees. If you don’t get your fill, the trail continues through the Skyline Ranch Tree Farm – a family-owned business which began in 1958 and continues to operate on 63 acres, where you can harvest your very own Christmas tree. 

Directions: Starting at the Horseshoe Loop Trail Head, take a left at the first intersection of the Horse Loop Trail. Follow the trail 0.4 miles, then turn left and follow the Tree Farm Trail 0.6 miles through the Skyline Ranch Tree Farm.

Skyline Ridge Preserve Map
Saratoga Gap to Skyline Ridge Map
Skyline Ranch Christmas Tree Farm 

Refuel at some of our favorite nearby restaurants:
Snacks and sweets:
Tin Pot Creamery
Manresa Bread

Breakfasts:
Rick’s Cafe

Simple lunch:
Bell Tower Cafe

Less fancy dinner:
State of Mind Public House & Pizzeria 

Nicer dinners:
Rustic House
Scratch

On the way back to San Francisco:
Take the scenic route back to SF along Skyline Boulevard and stop at the famed Alice’s Restaurant in Woodside. There is plenty of seating out back and on the side complete with horseshoe pits and plenty of space for little ones to run around, while you enjoy a cold post-hike brew. It does get hectic with bikers on the weekends.

 


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