Back to Your Places

What you need to know

Location Activities

  • Hiking
  • Dogs
  • Horses
  • Fishing
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Handicap Accessibility
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Photo Op
  • Redwood
  • Waterfall
Download a free guide to find more walks near you! Download

Preserve Information

Located within the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve, Mindego Hill is one of the highest points in the Santa Cruz mountains and provides word-class views from the summit.

This landscape is yours to savor thanks to POST, who protected the land for public use in 2007. Plan your visit today and enjoy the views!

Watch for:

Raptors, including red-tailed hawks, turkey vultures, Cooper’s hawks and golden eagles. Wildflowers are also abundant in the spring, and in May and June, gumweed, mule ears, farewell-to-spring and Brodiaea bloom along the hillsides. 

Our Favorite Hike at Russian Ridge

Distance: 4.6 miles round trip

Elevation change: 1300′ elevation gain

Hiking time: 3 – 4 hours

Trail surface: Mixed

Best Season: All year

Parking lot location: Click here for directions

Midpen Logo-TransparentThough we try to keep this page accurate, please see the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s website before visiting for the latest information.



The Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve has over 10 miles of hiking trails. For a moderately strenuous five-mile hike, follow the Mindego Hill Trail out to the summit and back. This trail begins at the Mindego Gateway parking area.

Please note: The beginning of the trail is on a gravel road with a steep decline — some hikers may wish to use hiking poles. There is limited bike and equestrian access throughout the preserve.

The Backstory

Audrey’s Way at Mindego Gateway is a commemorative site honoring former POST President Audrey C. Rust for her 24 years of conservation leadership. Featuring a short accessible paved pathway, lookout deck and connections to surrounding trails, the site offers panoramic vistas of protected redwood ridges and undulating hillsides, including Mindego Hill, now part of the Russian Ridge preserve, protected by POST in 2007.

With generous support from our donors and in partnership with Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, POST funded the creation Audrey’s Way so future generations can continue to enjoy breathtaking coastal views from this dramatic lookout point. The Mindego Hill portion of the Russian Ridge preserve was opened to the public on March 30, 2016.

Scroll to top