This hike passes through 4 different Midpenninsula open space preserves. Monte Bello, Skyline Ridge, Russian Ridge, and Coal Creek. Along the way you will get some of the best long range views available on the penninsula, weather permitting. Begining in Monte Bello, you hike the easy route to the summit of Black Mountain via the Canyon and Bella Vista Trails. If the weather is clear enough, from the summit you can see north to San Francisco and Oakland, east to the Diablo range, South to San Jose, and west to the ocean. Using Indian Creek Trail you descend back down to Steven's Creek and pick up Skid Road to bring you back up to highway 37 and cross over into Skyling Ridge. The Ridge Trail provides great views across the vast conifer habitat to the west. You can spend some time enjoying Alpine Pond and the David C. Danials Nature Center before crossing Alpine Road into Russian Ridge. More really nice panoramic views are waiting atop Borel Hill. You can then hike down to the highway again, and cross over into Coal Creek at Cloud's Rest drive which will provide a return route back to the Monte Bello parking area.
The only potable water on this route is located just behind the David C. Danials Nature Center in Skyline Ridge, so bring water. Pit toilets are available at the main parking areas for Monte Bello, Skyline Ridge, and Russian Ridge, and at Alpine Pond, and the trail camp at Black Mountain. The South Skyline Region map is available free of charge at all Midpenninsula trailheads. Be prepared for possible brisk winds and chilly fog. Check weather conditions before departing. Be careful crossing the roads as traffic does not slow, especially along highway 37. Bring binoculars to better enjoy the views and to spot possible wildlife. Indian Creek Trail is a steep descent. Consider trekking poles.