Windy Hill Open Space Preserve

Portola Valley, California 94028

Windy Hill Open Space Preserve

Windy Hill Open Space Preserve Professional Review and Guide

"Windy Hill showcases the micro and the macro sides of nature. From the highest reaches of this preserve, there are excellent views from the ocean to East Bay; on narrow winding paths that climb through quiet woods, there are spectacular displays of wildflowers and autumn foliage. At Windy Hill, you can see the woods for the trees, and then some. This loop begins at the edge of Portola Valley, then ascends through woods to the top of Windy Hill. The return leg is a fast descent on a fire road with a quick detour around Sausal Pond."

More Windy Hill Open Space Preserve Professional Reviews and Guides

"Follow the Windy Hill ridgeline through a sheltered forest and across rolling grasslands on a narrow footpath and broad wagon road. After initially descending 320 feet, you gradually gain 234 feet on a final short climb to the knobs of Windy Hill, a peninsula landmark. Expect sweeping views of the San Mateo Coast and the Santa Clara Valley. True to its name, strong winds are possible in this preserve, as is coastal fog."

"Windy Hill is an aptly named park in Portola Valley, as it is very much wind-blown and very much a hill. The wind does calm down, and when it’s not pushing a great amount of fog into the valley, the views can be really beautiful. In fact, just seeing the fog speed over the lip of the ridge is a pretty amazing sight in and of itself; however, particularly heavy fog can settle on certain parts of the trail and affect sight to some degree, so beware on foggy downhills. Bicycle access is limited to Spring Ridge Trail, which is a challenging climb for those interested in a good workout and a fun descent."

"Forest walk to a protected sausal pond on a former ranch"

"This 1308-acre preserve includes the two bald knobs of Windy Hill, the long, grassy ridge extending from the Skyline to the floor of Portola Valley and many forested acres south of a private inholding. The upper grasslands of Windy Hill, familiar landmarks on the Midpeninsula mountains, stand out against the adjacent forested slopes. We watch Windy Hill from the Bay plain as it turns green in spring and as it is occasionally whitened by winter snows. In summer the wind and fog from the ocean sweep over this bare hill to give it the name it has been known by for 75 years or more. This trail guide includes the following trails: Betsy Crowder Trail Loop, Summit Hike on the Anniversary Trail, A Windy Hill Loop Trip, and To the Top of Spring Ridge."

Windy Hill Open Space Preserve Reviews

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The first 2/3 of this loop is a steady climb through shady, fern-covered forest on a nearly perfectly groomed trail. There are no great points of interest but the trail and the forest are both excellent. The last third of the loop brought this trail down to three stars for me. Although the expansive views are superb, the trail is a steep, wide, rocky road with crumbling rock that makes it tricky to navigate. It's hard to enjoy the view going down because you have to keep your eyes on the gravelly road. If I do the trail again, I'll go down via the same trail that brought me up... Bill's Trail.

Windy Hill Open Space Preserve Photos

Trail Information

Portola Valley
Nearby City
Trail Type
Easy to Moderate
Skill Level
3.5 hours
Windy Hill Open Space Preserve
Local Contacts

Activity Feed

Oct 2018