“A climb to the summit of Borel Hill with views of the Bay Area and surrounding mountains.”
— David Hitchcock
Views · Wildlife
The preserve is open year round from dawn until half an hour after sunset.
The trail has some erosion issues, especially on the downhill side, so watch your step.
The Borel Hill, named for Antonio Borel who lived here from 1885-1910, climbs to a scenic view of the South Bay area at 2,572 feet. He was a Swiss banker who worked with the Spring Valley Water Company, which helped create Crystal Springs Reservoir in San Mateo County, just off I-280. This short trail provides access to the hill top and an alternative route back to the Ridge Trail
along Skyline Blvd near Vista Point
The trail climbs steeply from its junction with the Ridge Trail
, roughly .7 miles from the parking lot at Alpine Road and Skyline Boulevard. Arriving immediately at the summit, indicated by a sign with the elevation, enjoy the views of the South Bay on one side and the Santa Cruz mountains on the other side. You can see the homes that sit on the mountains outside the various preserves along Skyline, and see how the South Bay area has developed. After taking in the views, the trail begins to descend on a doubletrack dirt trail that winds its way down toward Skyline Boulevard. Views of Russian Ridge and the various trails found in it can be seen as you descend toward the road. The trail forms a switchback at roughly .4 miles, which descends more steeply than the rest of the trail, and arrives at the junctions of the Ridge Trail
and the Charquin Trail
From here, you can turn right and go out to Skyline Boulevard where you can enjoy the vista point found there, or explore Coal Creek Open Space Preserve. If you continue straight, the Ridge Trail
continues to the Hawk Trail and beyond to the boundary of Russian Ridge. If you go to the left, you can follow the Ridge Trail
back along the other side of the hill and back to your car or you can descend along the Charquin Trail
to explore other areas and trails in the preserve.
Flora & Fauna
The Borel Hill Trail
passes through meadows in Russian Ridge, so there aren't a lot of trees. Long grasses and wildflowers can be seen off on the side of the trail. Deer, turkeys coyotes, bobcats, hawks, turkey vultures, and other birds can be seen from the trail.