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Long Ridge Open Space Preserve

A Trail-Rich Nature Preserve For All Adventurers

Long Ridge Open Space Preserve’s grassland and shady woodlands offer 13.5 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding just off of Highway 35 in the Santa Cruz Mountain town of La Honda, California. Sempervirens Fund helped create and expand Long Ridge Open Space Preserve which today connects protected lands including Saratoga Gap Open Space Preserve, Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve, and Upper Stevens Canyon County Park for people and wildlife to enjoy. There is truly something for all outdoor enthusiasts in the preserve from rock climbing and one of the longest continuous segments of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, to some of the best spring wildflower viewing in the Santa Cruz Mountains and sweeping, clear summer views from the Stegner Memorial Bench honoring the local, late preservationist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Wallace Stegner on its namesake ridge.

photo by Glenn Nelson.

Long Ridge Loop

This loop along the ridge for which the preserve is named is popular—and for good reasons! Hikers and mountain bikers alike enjoy this moderate 4.3-mile loop for its nice mix of habitat, shade and exposed spots, and great views along the trail. The loop takes about 2.5 hours on foot. By most accounts, the best parking for this hike is the pullout across from Upper Stevens Creek County Park's Grizzly Flat Trailhead. Take the trailhead to Peters Creek Trail and turn right onto the trail. Follow the trail across a bridge over Peters Creek and into the valley. Further down when the trail forks, keeping straight will take you along the creek and through an old apple orchard to the best views. After about 2-miles on Peters Creek Trail and past Jikoji Pond, you’ll begin to climb to Long Ridge Road and its panoramic views of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Pescadero Valley, and out to the Pacific.

Long Ridge Open Space Preserve by David Baron
Long Ridge Open Space Preserve by David Baron
Long Ridge Open Space Wallace Stegner Bench by Steven Woo
Long Ridge Open Space Wallace Stegner Bench by Steven Woo

Once you reach Long Ridge Road, head right onto the trail and enjoy the views of protected redwoods in Big Basin, Butano, and Portola Redwoods State Parks to the southwest. In spring, spectacular displays of wildflowers can be found in the the meadows here along the trail. After about a half-mile, Long Ridge Road will wind its way up to the granite Stegner Memorial Bench, dedicated in 1996 in memory of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and local preservationist Wallace Stegner, where you can take in the views that inspired protection of wildlands like these in the Santa Cruz Mountains. After the bench, take the single track Long Ride Trail on your right down into the mossy cover of woods. After 0.75-miles, keep straight through the junction in the woods to stay on Long Ridge Trail through the forest until you reach Peters Creek Trail. Follow Peters Creek Trail back up to the trailhead along Highway 35 where you began to complete your hike.

Plan Your Hike

Address: Long Ridge Open Space Preserve, Skyline Boulevard CA-35, La Honda, CA 94020

Hours: The preserve opens half an hour before sunrise until half an hour after sunset.

Directions: click here for Google map directions

Park Activities:

  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Equestrian
  • Rock Climbing
  • Dogs on Leash
  • Nature & Wildlife Viewing

Park Amenities: 

  • Restrooms

Volunteer

Throughout the year, Sempervirens Fund holds a variety of volunteer events, including invasive species removal, trail clean ups, and more! Check out our Volunteer Page for more information.

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