A segment of the Bay Area Ridge Trail follows the Skyline Trail from the West gate of Wunderlich County Park roughly parallel to Skyline Blvd to Huddart County Park just across the road from Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve. The trail passes through lush second-growth redwood forest within the Bear Gulch Watershed and Teague Hill Open Space Preserve.
I selected this trail segment to hike on a pretty spring day, partly because a description indicated that the grades are fairly gentle. I think the steepest part of the trail is at the very beginning and end of the out-and-back hike, where the grade approaches 10% and is that steep only for ½ mile or so.
From the trailhead the trail quickly descends and crosses East Bear Gulch Rd, a private road. Along the way the single-track width trail passes through a carpet of pretty wildflowers, which I believe are western hounds tongue.
There is also an interesting down tree next to the trail, with a completely hollow trunk and moss growing on the exterior.
Once the trail leaves Wunderlich County Park it passes through the Bear Gulch Watershed lands, through cool, moist forest. Here is one place where another down tree was originally lying across the trail, but an opening was cut in the trunk, which is nearly 4 feet in diameter.
There are many ferns along the trail, and even a banana slug or two.
Although I did not encounter many birds, I did see an Oregon junco that posed for a picture.
I also encountered a beautiful wild iris.
Shortly after I found the iris the trail left the watershed to cross a corner of Teague Hill Open Space Preserve. This preserve is primarily viewshed and wildlife habitat. The short section of the Ridge Trail, less than ¼ mile, is the only designated trail within this open space. After this section, the trail enters Huddart County Park. I happened to find a place where the redwoods seemed to completely surround me.
There were very few “distant views” along the trail. Here was one place where it was possible to see the East Bay Hills, across San Francisco Bay, through a gap in the forest.
The trail crosses Kings Mountain Rd and continues about ½ mile to a trailhead across Skyline Blvd from Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve. As I was checking out the trailhead a vintage car passed by, and I quickly stepped out into the road to take a picture. After the peacefulness of the forest, it was a bit startling to see any traffic, and more so to see a vintage car.
After checking out the Purisima Creek Redwoods trailhead I retraced my path back to Wunderlich. This was a very pleasant hike for a spring day, and the shade would be especially welcome in warmer weather.