Three Day Basecamp: San Mateo County

Jul 22nd, 2020

Overview: Overnight base camping is a great way to accomplish several sections of the Ridge Trail while exploring the surrounding county. This 3 day and 2 night itinerary gives you the best of San Mateo County. Most outings are set up as shuttle hikes and require one car parked at the end of each route. 

Circumnavigating? Use the Trail Tracker to check off each section of the Ridge Trail you have completed.

Total Mileage: 22 miles

Camping / Lodging Suggestions:

Day 1: Skyline Ridge Open Space to Windy Hill 

Route Description: Enjoy the Peninsula’s finest views and rolling grassland on these ridgeline trails. Climb through open grasslands to high knolls with moderate elevation gains and losses. Enjoy sweeping views of the San Mateo Coast and Santa Clara Valley. Note: Once you reach Rapley Road there is a 0.7 mile gap in the trail. To get to the next segment walk north along Skyline Blvd to Windy Hill. 

Drive Notes: Drive approximately 30 mins up Page Mill Rd. and turn right onto Skyline Blvd towards Windy Hill. Drop off a car at the Spring Ridge Trailhead lot, which is the northern most lot for Windy Hill. Turn around and drive 6 miles down skyline to Skyline Ridge to start.

Start: Skyline Ridge Parking Lot

End / Car Drop Off: Spring Ridge Parking Area, Windy Hill

Mileage: 8.6 miles (One Way)

Difficulty: Moderate

Elevation Gain: 1200’

Map Resources: 

Day 2: Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve

Route Description: Five trails in Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve link together for a challenging adventure through forested canyons and over high ridges with ocean views. You lose more than 1,000 feet of elevation in the first 2 miles and regain it on a steady climb out of the canyon. 

Drive Notes: Drop off a car at the Purisima Creek north parking lot along Skyline Blvd. You can reach Skyline by taking I 280 North to Hwy 84 / Woodside Rd. After dropping off the car drive south and park at the Purisima Creek south parking lot to start your adventure. 

Start: Purisima Creek South Parking Lot

End / Car Drop Off: Purisima Creek North Parking Lot

Mileage: 7.3 miles (One Way)

Difficulty: Strenuous

Elevation Gain:  1700’

Map Resources: 

Day 3: Wunderlich and Huddart County Parks

Route Description: Follow the gently graded Skyline Trail through redwood and Douglas-fir forests just below the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Discover unusual spring wildflowers along one of the few remaining segments of the old California Riding and Hiking Trail, a trail system established in 1954. 

Drive Notes: Leave a car at the south trailhead of Purisima Creek Redwoods. Drive south approximately 3.3 miles to a fairly wide, but unmarked parking area on the east (left) side of the road. It is shortly after Bear Gulch Rd. 

Start Location: Skyline Lot, Wunderlich West Gate

End / Car Drop Off: Purisima Creek South Parking Lot

Mileage: 5.8 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Elevation Gain: 750’

Map Resources: 

 


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