Sweeney Ridge Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"This little-known hike is one of the best-kept secrets of local open-space fans. On clear days the ridge offers spectacular bird’s-eye views of South San Francisco Bay on the one side and the Pacific coast on the other. The trail, part of the 400-mile Bay Area Ridge Trail, passes by an abandoned Army radar installation on its way south along the ridge. The turnaround point for the hike is the spot where Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola “discovered” San Francisco Bay in 1769."
--Dan Brett, Hiking the Redwood Coast (Falcon Guides).
"This hike starts with 550 feet of climbing, which isn’t all bad, especially if the dogs have been in the car for any length of time. The views start on your left as you climb, with San Andreas Lake coming into focus, then Crystal Springs. While there are four access points total to this area, this trek brings you up the ridge directly to the Portola Discovery Site. In 1769, an expedition led by Don Gaspar de Portola was charged with finding an overland route to Monterey Bay. The Spanish party left Mexico with sixty-four men and 200 horses, including one scout, Jose Francisco Ortega. Ortega climbed the ridge near the group’s camp (in the Linda Mar area of Pacifica today) and said he saw “an enormous area of the sea, or estuary, which shot inland as far as the eye could see.” He became the first European to see San Francisco Bay."
--Thom Gabrukiewicz, Best Hikes with Dogs: Bay Area & Beyond (The Mountaineers Books).
"I don’t live in the Bay Area; if I did, I’d take the dogs on this hike as many times as I could."
--Jason Fator, Best Hikes With Dogs: San Francisco Bay Area and Beyond (The Mountaineers Books).
"Although the Sweeney Ridge trailhead is just minutes from San Francisco and begins at the edge of a residential neighborhood, a climb of less than an hour on a paved fire road through coastal scrub leads to a quiet ridge with sweeping views. Once at the ridge, this hike meanders past the Portola Discovery site to a turnaround point at the boundary with water-district lands, where you will retrace your steps back to the trailhead."
--Jane Huber, 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: San Francisco (Menasha Ridge Press).
"The Sweeney Ridge addition to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area takes in the high ridge just north of Montara Mountain. Its grassy hilltop commands sweeping views of ocean and Bay. From this site Gaspar de Portolá’s scouts first saw the expanse of water now known as San Francisco Bay. This trail guide includes the following trails: From Sneath Lane to the Discovery Site, Up Mori Ridge to the Discovery Site, Sweeny Ridge Trail from Skyline College to the Discovery Site."
--Jean Rusmore, Betsy Crowder, Frances Spangle, & Sue LaTourrette, Peninsula Trail: Hiking & Biking Trails on the San Francisco Peninsula (Wilderness Press).
"Enjoy panoramic views of San Francisco Bay and the Pacific coastline from the summit of Sweeney Ridge. Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola was on a mission. He was charged by his country to establish settlements in California that would cement its status as a Spanish colony. One of the settlements was to be at Monterey Bay, but his expedition, traveling by land, overshot that mark by about 100 miles. On November 4, 1769, the band of explorers climbed atop Sweeney Ridge and beheld a bay of colossal proportions. A bay that would become one of the most important harbors on the West Coast. A bay that would one day be the site of a famously cosmopolitan city surrounded by spectacular parklands. Though not nearly as pristine as it appeared to the explorers who stood at what would later become the Portola Discovery Site, San Francisco Bay still sprawls magnificently below the vista point. To the west is the Pacific Ocean, and to the south rise the undeveloped hills and mountain of the San Francisco watershed. The cylinder of granite that tops one of the monuments at the site is inscribed with images of the surrounding landmarks, enabling visitors to identify and name them."
--Tracy Salcedo-Chourre, Exploring Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area (Falcon Guides).
"The small, open space area on scrub-covered moors is for locals an oasis in an urban desert, which includes the San Francisco International Airport and the busy Highway 280/101 corridors. Protected as Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 1984, the ridge (at about 1,250 feet) offers 360-degree views up to 30 miles on clear days. You’ll need a jacket on this hike (daytime temperatures can range from the upper 20s (ºF) in January to 100ºF in September). The north ridge is home to an abandoned Nike missile site. The south ridge offers short, single-track trails that leave civilization behind for a time. There are no facilities. This eTrail also includes suggested nearby attractions, camping & lodging, restaurants, and local outdoor retailers."
--Linda Hamilton, Hiking the San Francisco Bay Area (Falcon Guides).
"This small open space area on scrub-covered moors is for locals an oasis in an urban desert that includes the San Francisco International Airport and the busy freeway corridors. Protected as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 1984, the ridge (at about 1,250 feet) offers 360-degree views of up to 30 miles on clear days. Bring a jacket if the weather is cold, as daytime temperatures can range from the upper 20s in January to 100 degrees in September. The north ridge is home to an abandoned Nike missile site. The south ridge offers short, single-track trails that leave civilization behind for a time. Trails Surface: A paved path takes you up to the ridge. A doubletrack dirt trail goes the length of the ridge, with very narrow singletrack dirt trails creating a loop on the south end."
--Linda Hamilton, Best Hikes Near San Francisco (Falcon Guides).
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