Hike Date: October 2, 2010
Distance: ~ 8 miles
Trail(s): Spring Ridge Trail, Meadow Trail, Hamms Gulch Trail, Anniversary Trail
Where’s it at? Portola Valley, mid-peninsula, SF Bay Area
Dangers: MAJOR Poison Oak, Rattlesnakes, Diseased ticks, thirst


I’d driven by this parking lot several times on hwy 35 Skyline Blvd. and always had noticed the great view of the south bay and southern east bay areas. Finally got to check the area out further yesterday.

It’s probably best to visit here in Spring when the hills are green and wildflowers abundant, but it still has great views if you can get here on a clear day, at any time of year.

I’d planned to do my first GPS tracking of the hike and include in this post but my tracking application didn’t work right. Will have to work on that for the next trip. I also didn’t end up taking the trails that I’d intended to, but where I ended up was probably better.

It’s worth noting that there are several areas you can park at for this preserve. I parked at the first Windy Hill specific parking lot that you come to south of the junction of 84 and 35. There’s another smaller lot with a picnic table just a little further south (I saw it on my way back to the car).

I hiked about 8 miles starting on a steep wide-open decent on the Spring Ridge Trail which has the best views of the bay and is a good source of vitamin D on a sunny day. From there I turned right on the Meadow Trail which was about the only flat part of the whole hike. Turning right on the Hamms Gulch Trail begins your ascent back up to the car and a transition from wide open grassy hills to hiking switchbacks under a fairly thick canopy of varying trees including redwoods and oaks which were covered with bright green moss. But man was there a TON of poison oak down here. I don’t think I got a rash this time…

Near the top of the hill you can take teh Anniversary Trail or Lost Trail back to the parking lot, and can go a few extra yards to the Windy Hill Summit.

All in all i wouldn’t call this a destination hike but it’s a great area to explore for some good moderate to strenuous loops with mutiple choices of trails.

Photos from hiking Windy Hill (click to enlarge)

Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve
Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve
Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve
Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve
Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve
Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve
Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve
Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve
Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve Hiking Windy Hill Open Space Preserve

Directions to Windy Hill Open Space Preserve


View Larger Map

Weather at Portola Valley, CA