Right off of California’s Highway 35, Alpine Road passes Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve and Skyline Ridge Preserve on its route from the San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. Alpine Road probably began as a Native American walking trail and later became a way for Mexican Rancheros and then loggers to cross over the Santa Cruz Mountains. Today, it’s a favorite trip for motorists.
The name “Alpine” is said to be derived from a Californio-owned ranch on the west side called “El Pino” (the pine tree). In the 1830s, it became a wagon road between the two ranchos granted to Antonio Buelna and was known as “The Old Spanish Trail.” When logging gained traction, it became a primary route used to access the redwoods west of the summit.
Two Adjacent Preserves
A tunnel from the parking lot of the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve leads to the lovely spring-fed Alpine Pond and the David C. Daniels Nature Center in the adjacent Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve. Both of these preserves offer extensive trails and beautiful views. If you visit Russian Ridge, be sure to stop by the nature center for a historical overview and biology lesson about the pond.
Read the rest of the story to learn about Skyline Ridge Preserve and to discover what Seabiscuit, the famous race horse, has to do with this area, at mobileranger.com.
Take the Self-Guided Mobile Tour
This piece is part of the South Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35) Tour made possible by Janet Schwind of the Skyline Historical Society. Download the free app with many tours of the Santa Cruz area and beyond at mobileranger.com.
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