The main entrance and parking area for Coal Mine Ridge Nature Preserve are located along Alpine road at the intersection with Willowbrook Dr in Portola Valley.
Interactive Map: Hover over trail name for a description of trails in the Nature Preserve.
Toyon Trail skirts the western perimeter of Coal Mine Ridge, running from the Main Entrance at Alpine and Willowbrook roads, intersecting Coalmine and Old Spanish Trails, then connecting to Lake Trail, which continues on to the southern tip of Coal Mine Ridge Open Space. The northern portion of this trail was designed by Portola Valley naturalist Herb Dengler specifically to provide vistas and gentle changes of grade. It is a good choice for those who wish to avoid steep climbs. Hand built by volunteers, this is a single file trail, with narrow wooden bridges and low over-head clearance, in some spots.
Bay Laurel Trail begins outside the Nature Preserve on Valley Oak Street, running between private homes. From the Preserve boundary it climbs through oak woodlands to its intersection with Old Spanish Trail.
Coalmine Trail climbs from Old Spanish Trail through woods and meadows to a high point from which the Bay and eastern Diablo Range are visible in clear weather. It terminates where it again intersects Old Spanish Trail and where a magnificent old Coast Live Oak provides a shady resting spot.
Starting up the path from the Main Entrance:
Favorite Hike #1:
Toyon / connector / Coalmine / Old Spanish – 2.9 miles
Favorite Hike #2:
Toyon / connector / Old Spanish – 2.7miles
Toyon / connector / Old Spanish / Arroyo / Bay Laurel / Old Spanish – 3.7 miles
Toyon (midway pt.) / connector / Coalmine / Old Spanish – 1.5 miles
Old Spanish Trail predates the other trails and was the chief route across the Sierra Morena (now Santa Cruz) mountains to the coast. It was used for centuries by the Costanoans, known today as the Muwekma Ohlone, and after 1823 by Spaniards, Mexicans and Americans. From the Alpine Trail entrance, it traverses the entire ridge, through oak and bay woodlands, opening to reveal rolling meadows and wide vistas of the surrounding hills and San Francisco Bay.
Click for Suggested Hiking Loops
Arroyo Trail zigzags along switchbacks at the eastern portion of Coal Mine Ridge Nature Preserve. Named for the steep gully carved by a nearby stream, it climbs from Bay Laurel Trail to its intersection with a connector to Blue Oak Trail, continues on to connect with Sunrise Trail and then to its end point at Old Spanish Trail.