Monday, April 27, 2009
The hike this last weekend was to Sweeney Ridge. Bay Area Hiker
rates it as moderately easy, and the REI "Best Hikes of the Bay Area" rated it moderate. I'm personally leaning more towards moderate myself - this is definitely an up! up! up! then down trail.
From the parking lot, it's up the hillside on a paved path, about the size of a fire road. It's completely exposed, making this a trail I might avoid in the summer months. The views the entire way up are great. The sides of the path have loads of plants: yarrow, anise, and irises.
The total elevation change is 600 feet. Once we got towards the top, the trail leveled out.
The Fog Line amused me.
Crystal Springs Resiivoir.
Up at the top is the Discovery Site, where Portola was the first European to see the SF bay.
Even with the fog across the valley and ocean, the views were breath taking!
This granite piece has many of the local landmarks on it in the direction where they can be seen. Like Bay Area Hiker said, Portola must have arrived on this ridgetop on a day that was clear! We couldn't see a thing. ("hey, look, Mt Hamilton has snow on it!" "So does Mt Diablo!")
From the Discovery Site, we turned right onto the Baquiano Trail. The Baquiano Trail is dirt, and gently slopes up and down, heading due West towards Pacifica. We hit the top of one of the hills, and I stopped to see where we'd walked from.
Turning back around, I focused on where we were heading. Pacifica and the Pacific Ocean. It was stunning. The trail continues on all the way down to Pacifica, but we decided this was our turn around point and headed back, enjoying the long down hill slopes and giggling at the folks groaning on their way up. Keep going, the views are worth it!
In the future - bring a jacket to this one. After sweating and hiking up hill, the strong winds were very chilling on the walk back. Overall, a good work out hike, excellent views, and about two hours total.