Located right next to Skyline Open Space preserve, lies a lesser known recreational area. Russian Ridge is an open space preserve that provides multiple different hiking trails.
This spot is perfect for family hikes with the small hills, spectacular views, and roaming wildlife that are all present when walking on the trails. I decided to hike the most common trail, the Bay Area Ridge Trail, one of about five trails that are in the preserve. The trail passes through Borel Hill, which is the highest named point in San Mateo County. However, the best thing about this hike is there are short and small slopes that make it easier to walk through the heat instead of steep climbs. The other trails on the preserve also offer unique aspects that can add to your experience. The Mindego Hill Trail runs through the area of the grazing cattles, and the Ancient Oak Trail offers a canopy of oak trees to welcome the visitors.
Wild animals are sure to pop up at some point during your walk. Whether it’s a small chipmunk, or a wild fox, they spend most of their time roaming the surrounding areas. The rangers make sure to keep a close eye on these animals, and make any hikers aware of sightings. For example, on my hike, the ranger alerted us of a large fox sighting, claiming we had just missed it. Raptors are also one of the most common animals that can be seen inhabiting the area. They tend to fly over in the late afternoon in search of prey. Raptors tend to prey on the larger insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, and occasionally praying mantises that can also be found on the trails.
This spot draws many in especially during sunset. Not only do you get a panoramic view of the mountain ranges, but you also get a phenomenal view of the entire east bay. Thus, it provides for great family and friend photo opportunities.
On my trip to Russian Ridge, I chose to go at sunset instead of the busier times during the day. I was in awe of how clean and well kept the hills were. The aspect that really amazed me was the beautiful views and consistent interaction with nature. While roaming these hills, you are given a perfect opportunity to view all the different factors that make the Bay Area gorgeous, and even the opportunity to witness wildlife in its most natural form.