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October 1, 2008 > A Guide to the Bay Area Ridge Trail

A Guide to the Bay Area Ridge Trail

Submitted By Emily White

On over 300 miles of paths, the Bay Area Ridge Trail rings around the San Francisco Bay, providing quickly accessible recreational opportunities to hike, mountain bike, ride a horse or take a walk with the dog. From the North Bay down through the Peninsula, nearly every Bay Area resident can get to at least one trail segment with no more than a half-hour drive or bus ride.

With over a dozen new hikes, the fully updated third edition of the official guide from Wilderness Press, "Bay Area Ridge Trail: The Official Guide for Hikers, Mountain Bikers, and Equestrians." covers the more than 300 miles that have been opened to date. Each trail-segment description includes information on amenities such as restrooms and water, driving directions, dog regulations and accessibility logistics for all users. With 58 total trips in parks and public lands, there is something to suit every outdoor-enthusiast's taste.

Whether visitors want to drink in stunning views of the Golden Gate, challenge themselves to summit Mount Hood, relax next to the serene Purisma Creek or explore the wilderness in the city of San Francisco at the Presidio, "Bay Area Ridge Trail" offers detailed descriptions and useful maps them all.

In the greater Tri-City area, there are 9.2 miles of Ridge Trail through Mission Peak Regional Preserve (MPRP) (including a spur connector from Stanford Ave at the Warm Springs Trailhead); from MPRP, the Trail continues south in Ed Levin County Park (Santa Clara County).

Four miles of Ridge Trail can be opened in Vargas Plateau Regional Park when a new staging area is built on upper Morrison Canyon Road; construction is expected to be complete in 2009; the Ridge Trail Council/ State Coastal Conservancy helped fund.

Planning is underway for five miles of Ridge Trail between Vargas Plateau and Garin-Dry Creek Regional Park in Union City. Initial studies funded by the Ridge Trail Council have identified the most likely route of the Trail. This segment will cross Alameda Creek, and connect to the Alameda Creek Trail, which also links to the Bay Trail. Acquisition and further planning are still necessary to develop the Ridge Trail in this area.

Long range goals include closing closing the 5-mile gap between Vargas Plateau and Mission Peak.

The Bay Area Ridge Trail will be a 550+ mile continuous trail on the ridgelines around San Francisco Bay, open to hikers, equestrians, mountain bicyclists, and outdoor enthusiasts of all types. So far, over 310 miles are dedicated to enjoy today, and protected for future generations. This year, the Ridge Trail Council celebrates the 20th Anniversary of our founding. The Bay Area Ridge Trail Council is a nonprofit, membership-based organization that plans, acquires, builds, and promotes the Ridge Trail. More information can be found at or by calling (415) 561-2595.

Bay Area resident Jean Rusmore has co-authored the Wilderness Press titles "Peninsula Trails" and "South Bay Trails." She is a veteran hiker and has worked for many years to preserve green spaces in the Bay Area. In preparation for this guide, Rusmore hiked all 300 miles of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, many with her weekly hiking group: the Walkie-Talkies. In 2005 she was featured in "Legacy: Portraits of 50 Bay Area Environmental Elders."

"Bay Area Ridge Trail: The Official Guide for Hikers, Mountain Bikers, and Equestrians" by Jean Rusmore
Wilderness Press
Available at local bookstores
$16.95, 3rd edition
368 pages
ISBN 978-0-89997-469-9

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