Long Ridge • Highpoint: San Mateo County
• Santa Cruz Mountains

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Date: December 19, 2000 and December 21, 2001 • Elevation: 2,600 feet • Prominence: 120 feet • Distance: 4 miles • Time: 1.5 hours • Gain: 580 feet • Conditions: Nice in 2000, heavy rain in 2001 • Teammates: Some random dog

The San Mateo County highpoint is a bump along the spine of the Santa Cruz Mountains called Long Ridge, located in the south part of the county in a private housing development. It took me nearly a full year to properly "hike" this highpoint.

I was here last year (December 19, 2000) and hiked a trail from the highway (CA-35) about two miles through pretty California coastal woodland. I came into the open at the ridge, and hiked to the summit, only to find it was fenced and there was a dog patrolling the area. I was about 200 horizontal feet and 15 vertical feet below the top, but the fence looked electric and the dog probably wouldn't have been too friendly, so I admitted defeat and hiked back to my truck.

I was up in the Bay Area again, visiting with my sister in San Francisco. I made arrangements with the landowner of the highpoint in advance and we established a "date" for me to visit. The day arrived (today) and it was a cold and stormy day, the whole state being slammed by a major winter Pacific storm. I left my sister's place in San Fran early and drove 50 miles south to Saratoga where I topped the truck and poked around a bit, as I was still early according to the time we set to meet.

I drove into the development and parked below the man's property. It was a short "hike" up his driveway to meet him. He was friendly and surprised I was here given the conditions. After a short chat, I made the "official" visit to the highpoint, then went back in to talk a little more with the man. For now he was living out of a camper, with plans to build a large home on the property.

He seemed curious about this hobby and why people would come from so far to visit this point, so I gave him some background. Our visit went well and overall, he seemed like a decent guy. My whole visit with him took just 30 minutes. I told him about my hike a year earlier and about the dog. He confirmed he owned the land back then but had no idea who the dog belonged to. It wasn't his.

I said my good byes and started the long drive home. Many hours later, I rolled into the town of Mojave east of Bakersfield, stayed there for the night, then home the next day. It had been a fruitful Bay-Area highpoints trip and a nice visit with my sister.

Update: For years, access to this highpoint was coordinated by a ranger with the Open Space coalition, who worked in concert with the landowner to allow visits on an irregular basis. This worked well until recent years. Some people have stealthed this highpoint and have incurred the wrath of the landowner. For now (2009) it appears access is closed for the foreseeable future. This idiot has not helped the situation any:


In case the link eventually dies, a runner "with an obsession" in the Bay Area gets hopelessly lost for a week in the Snow Mountain Wilderness in Colusa County. He also pissed off the San Mateo highpoint landowner with his hare-brained actions.

(c) 2000, 2001, 2016 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.