7 nearby hikes with awe-inspiring views

by Matt Dolkas on July 3, 2021
Coyote Valley

This preserve boasts some of the best views in the South Bay. From two scenic overlooks along the four-mile Arrowhead Loop Trail, you’ll see Mount Hamilton, Mount Umunhum and the entire Coyote Valley. Pack a lunch and enjoy an entire day in this 384-acre preserve.

Activities: hiking, biking, equestrian
Mileage: 4-mile loop
Elevation change: 575 feet
Driving directions: here

Wilbur’s Watch

From the trailhead’s small parking lot on Pigeon Point Road, this trail heads uphill through coastal scrub to a vista platform and seating area. The views of nearby Pigeon Point Lighthouse, also on land protected by POST, are one of a kind.

Activities: hiking
Distance: 2 miles
Elevation change: 260 feet
Driving directions: here

Bair Island

Opened in late 2015, Bair Island is the largest island in the South Bay, spanning over 3,000 acres. It’s a complex mosaic of twisted tidal channels, mudflats and salt marsh vegetation. There are two viewing platforms where you can perch and watch the tide change.

Activities: hiking, biking, wheelchair accessible
Distance: 0.8 miles round trip to the closer observation platform, or 3.2 to the farther one
Elevation change: flat
Driving directions: here

Rancho Corral de Tierra

The 4,262-acre Rancho Corral de Tierra offers awe-inspiring ocean views, habitat for several endangered species, vital watersheds and rich farmland. Keep a lookout for endangered San Francisco garter snakes and whales breaching off the coast.

Activities: hiking, equestrian
Distance: 4 miles round trip
Elevation change: 900 feet
Driving directions: here

Windy Hill

Climb to the summit of Windy Hill, the site of POST’s first land acquisition, for 360-degree views of Portola Valley, Mount Diablo and, on extremely clear days, the Sierra Nevada Mountains. There’s also a shorter trail option leading to the summit if that’s preferred.

Activities: hiking, horseback riding, dogs
Distance: 7.5-mile loop
Elevation change: 1,400 feet
Driving directions: here

Mindego Hill 

You can drive right to this view making it accessible for those with mobility challenges or families with small kids. The Audrey C. Rust Commemorative Site is a short distance from the parking area and offers spectacular views of nearby Mindego Hill. For the adventurous, follow the Mindego Hill Trail to the summit for 360 degree views of the surrounding landscape.

Activities: hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, wheelchair accessible
Distance: 4.6 miles
Elevation change: 1,300 feet
Driving directions: here

Mount Umunhum

You can drive right to this view as well. Reach the summit by driving to the top of Mount Umunhum Road for 360-degree views of the Pacific Ocean, South Bay and Sierra Nevada Mountains. The word “Umunhum” means “resting place of the hummingbird,” and this summit is a culturally significant site for the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band as well as many other Indigenous people.

Activities: hiking, horseback riding, biking, wheelchair accessible
Driving directionshere

Matt Dolkas is Content Marketing Manager for Peninsula Open Space Trust where this article originally appeared.

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