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Ridge Trail



2.5 mile 4.0 kilometer point to point
87% Runnable


Ascent: 62' 19 m
Descent: -792' -241 m
High: 2,556' 779 m
Low: 1,826' 556 m


Avg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 16% (9°)


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Trail shared by Joan Pendleton

This is a trail along a high wooded ridge top with glimpses of the Pacific Ocean.

Joan Pendleton

Features Views

Closed west of Flow Trail, at mile 2.1 as of February 2018.


Ridge Trail follows a high ridge top deep in the rugged Santa Cruz Mountains. Through the trees the Pacific Ocean can be seen to the south, and to the north are the surrounding blue-green, wooded Santa Cruz Mountains. The East Branch of Soquel Creek is in the valley below to the north. At the bottom of the valley to the south is Hinckley Creek.

Buried deep in the hills, Ridge Trail starts at mile 9.1 along Aptos Creek Fire Road, which is 2.3 miles from Buzzard Lagoon Road, a dirt road at the end of Aptos Creek Fire Road. Ridge Trail can also be accessed by several side trails to the north that come up from Hihn's Mill Road that has a parking area on Highland Way. This access from side trails to the north, is four or more miles from the Highland Way parking area.

From its start along Aptos Creek Fire Road, Ridge Trail goes along the wooded ridge top. The woods along the trail are mostly oak, manzanita, firs, and low vegetation, with occasional clusters of redwoods. Although the trail basically descends, there are a lot of short ups and downs. Sunlight streams through the trees. There are occasional views of the ocean and surrounding mountains.

Several trails to the right (north) are passed, including:
- Corral Trail at mile .6
- Sulphur Springs Road at mile 1.5
- Braille Trail at mile 2.0
- Flow Trail at mile 2.1
- Tractor Trail at mile 2.5

Ridge Trail ends after 2.5 miles, at the Tractor Trail junction. (Note: the park map shows the Ridge Trail continuing to Sawpit Trail, but as of 2018, Sawpit Trail was closed due to limited logging activities and deadfall, and this western extension of the Ridge Trail was no longer accessible. This is a Demonstration Forest that showcases sustainable logging, fire control techniques and other things, for teaching purposes.)

Flora & Fauna

Oaks, manzanitas, some firs, redwoods, and other vegetation.

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7 Views Last Month
64 Since Jan 20, 2018



Looking out over the Santa Cruz Mountains from high on Sulphur Springs Road.
Jan 20, 2018 near Day Valley, CA
The Pacific Ocean can be seen through a break in the trees along Ridge Trail
Feb 7, 2018 near Day Valley, CA
Santa Rosalia Mountain (center) can be seen through the trees along Ridge Trail.
Jan 20, 2018 near Day Valley, CA
Oak and manzanita are the main trees high on Corral Trail.
Jan 20, 2018 near Day Valley, CA


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