Monday, April 23, 2007

Portola Valley - Hamms Gulch Trail

The Hamms Gulch trail is the less popular trail in the Windy Hill Open Space Preserve. The Trailhead is near Alpine and Willowbrook road in Portola Valley. There is a good size parking lot -- which also serves the Coal Mine Ridge trailhead.

The trail starts up Alpine road past the Willowbrook intersection. The trail is open to hikers and horses -- no bikes. Dogs on a leash are allowed on the trails. On this day, Jake the dog came along for a nice long hike.

This trail is very well defined and well marked, typical for Open Space trails. The trail crosses Corte Madera Creek (no bridge), which was running fairly strong after a recent rain storm.

While the trail is wide enough for easy hiking, there was a ton of Poison Oak along the trail. From the creek crossing the trail goes uphill in a very gentle way. Its a very nice cool hike with lots of shade.

A couple switchbacks are along the trail, with very limited views. There were about four points where you have a view of Portola Valley and the Bay.

If you want views of the Bay Area, this is not the trail to take. For great views, take the Spring Ridge Trail from the Portola Road trailhead.

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Area - Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District - Windy Hill in Portola Valley
Trail - Hamms Gulch Trail (Trail Map)
Length - 6 miles roundtrip - Easy Hike (uphill, but easy)
Trail - Up and Back-style, dirt trail, limited stops along the way. Well marked and maintained, can get muddy after rain storms.
Dogs - Some
Bikes - None - not allowed
View - Just a few
Getting There - Google Map Take 280 to Alpine Road Exit, head West toward Portola Valley. The parking lot is before Willowbrook Road.
Fee- None, free parking
Weather - Can be cool -- lots of shade, great for a sunny hot day.
Other Trails - there are other trails nearby Eagle Trail, Coal Mine Ridge Trail, Meadow Trail