If you've got the legs for 15 miles of ups and downs along the fabulous terrain near California Highway 35, aka Skyline Boulevard, then this hike deserves a spot on your to-do list.
The route passes a bucolic pond, forests of oak and Douglas fir, and wonderful vistas overlooking the Santa Cruz Mountains west of San Jose and south of San Francisco.
While many tourists are content to enjoy the views from Skyline Boulevard from the comfort of their cars, this hike demonstrates why the best things always happen after you park the car and set out on foot.
Parks in this trek: Skyline Ridge and Long Ridge Open Space Preserves; Upper Stevens Creek County Park; Monte Bello Regional Open Space Preserve.
Trails used: Bay Area Ridge Trail from Alpine Ridge and passing through Long Ridge > Table Mountain Trail and Canyon Trail in Upper Stevens Creek County Park and Monte Bello Open Space Preserve > Return link to Skyline Ridge OSP.
Mind your GPS track so you don't miss the turn-off back to Skyline Ridge -- it's about two miles up the Canyon Trail.
This hike is for veterans only. If you've never hiked over 12 miles, it's not advisable.
Bring plenty of water and snacks to keep your energy level up.
Make sure you start early in the day so you don't run out of daylight.
Midpeninsula Open Space District contact: (650) 691-1200
Hours: Open a half-hour before sunrise until a half-hour after sunset.
Driving directions: Alpine Ridge OSP parking lot is about a mile south of the intersection of Page Mill Road and Highway 35.