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