Bay Area Ridge Trail,
Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve,
Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District,
San Mateo County
In brief:
0.2 mile easy out and back hike to Horseshoe Pond.

Distance, category, and difficulty
This 0.2 mile out and back hike is extremely easy, with virtually no elevation change.

Full sun.

Trail traffic:

Trail surfaces:
Dirt trail.

Walking time:
1/2 hour or less.

Nice year round.

Getting there:
From Interstate 280 in Santa Clara County, exit Page Mill Road (exit #20). Drive west to the junction with Skyline Boulevard (CA 35), and turn left (south) onto Skyline Boulevard. Drive about 1 mile to the preserve entrance on the right (west) side of the road. Turn right, then (if you have a handicapped placard) make the first left into the handicapped-designated parking lot. If you do not have a disabled placard, park in the north lot: once you turn off Skyline Boulevard, bear right and proceed to the lot. From here, walk on the trail to the trailhead pictured above right.

Get driving or public transit directions from Transit and Trails:

GPS coordinates* for trailhead
Latitude 3718'35.03"N
(* based on Google Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)

Gas, food, and lodging
Pay phone, restaurants, gas, and store at the junction of CA 84 and 35, about 8.5 miles to the north. No camping in the preserve.

Trailhead details:
Five handicapped-designated parking spots in a gravel lot. No entrance or parking fees. Wheelchair accessible pit toilet on site. No maps in this parking lot, but there is an information signboard with maps in the northern lot. There is no direct public transportation to this preserve.

Most trails are multi-use. A few are designated hiking only. No dogs.

The Official Story:
MROSD's Skyline Ridge page.
MROSD office: 650-691-1200.

Map Choices:
• Map from MROSD (download Skyline pdf)
Peninsula Tales and Trails, by David Weintraub (order this book from has an overview of the preserve, descriptions of hikes, and simple maps.
• Jean Rusmore's The Bay Area Ridge Trail (order this book from has a simple map of the preserve.
• The Trail Center's Trail Map of the Southern Map of the Southern Peninsula is an excellent map for this hike.
• Rusmore, Spangle, and Crowder's Peninsula Trails has a simple map and a description of this portion of the Ridge Trail (order this book from
• Tom Taber's The Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Book has a simple map (order this book from

Horseshoe Pond in a nutshell -- a printable, text-only guide to this hike.

View photos from this hike.

Go to Bay Area Hiker Home page

Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve boasts two wheelchair accessible paths. TrailheadThe loop around Alpine Pond departs from a separate trailhead: the parking lot at Russian Ridge (see Alpine Pond Loop page for more detail). Ridge Trail, part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, skirts part of Horseshoe Lake. The path, closed to equestrians and cyclists, begins at a parking lot solely reserved for vehicles with handicapped placards. A gentle switchback drops the compacted earth trail from the parking lot to lake level. Coyote brush and willow line the path. Oaks, Douglas fir, and non-native conifers (a Christmas tree farm is just over the hill) provide a lush forested backdrop.Ridge Trail  After crossing a sturdy wooden bridge, Ridge Trail winds on a level course past the shore of Horseshoe Lake. You may see ducks, grebes, and other birds near the water, as well as deer and bobcats on the shore. The accessible stretch of trail ends at a signed junction at 0.1 mile. Some wheelchair users may be able to turn left here and continue a bit further along the shoreline, but be watchful for cyclists along this multi-use trail. When ready, retrace your journey to the trailhead.

Total distance: 0.2 mile
Last visit: Tuesday, November 14, 2000.