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Easy Hike at Long Ridge Open Space Preserve

A ramble along Peters Creek past Wallace Stegner's bench.
Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 4.4 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview :  This hike wanders through a little valley to the headwaters of Peters Creek and then out onto a ridge with striking views almost to... more »

Tips:  This is a nice hike in any season but is especially pretty in the spring when the wildflowers come out and Peters Creek is running.

... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Parking

The best parking is across Highway 35 at Grizzly Flat. The trailhead is a dash across Highway 35 and then starts winding down towards a forest of Douglas fir.

2. Bay Area Ridge Trail Junction

The trail from Grizzly Flat meets up with the Bay Area Ridge trail. If you're starting off, you want to go straight towards Peters Creek.

3. Peters Creek

The trail meets Peters Creek here. This hike crosses the bridge and heads left, along the (relatively) flat valley of Peters Creek. You will be coming down the hill at the end of the hike.

4. Shortcut junction

The trail forks here. Going up and to the right leads to a 4-way junction in the forest (see "Downward Junction" later) but misses most of the best views of the hike. Going straight leads past an old apple orchard and follows Peters Creek.

5. Small lake.

One of the few lakes in the Santa Cruz Mountains, this is a man-made reservoir made near the headwaters of Peters Creek. You go right here and cross the dam over the creek.

6. Ward Road/Long Ridge Road Junction

The big climb ends as you emerge onto Long Ridge at Ward Road (complete with street sign!). Go right here along the open ridge/fire road.

7. Wallace Stegner Bench

A rock bench commemorating Wallace Stegner, surrounded by open fields and views to the Pacific on clear days. Nearby is a junction heading down into the forest - follow this down (continuing along the fire road/ridge brings you to private property and a fence!).

8. Downward Junction

A 4-way junction in the forest. Going straight across the junction winds around and down and will lead you back to Peters Creek proper. Taking a switchback (a hard right) will cut off some distance and drop you just below an apple orchard passed on the way up.