About the Park
Redwood City, Ca – Open Space Preserve
Science Spotlight: Ancient Oaks at Russian Ridge
Russian Ridge offers opportunities to see beautiful views of the Bay Area and gorgeous displays of wildflowers. In addition to the sights, Russian Ridge also offers a piece of California natural history: the chance to see centuries-old oaks on the Ancient Oaks Trail.
The majority of ancient oaks are canyon live oaks, with massive trunks spanning 24 to 56 inches in diameter. Scientists have estimated that trees with 10 to 18-inch trunks are likely 150 years old, meaning that these giants could easily be hundreds of years old.
The spread of Sudden Oak Death throughout California has been cause for concern at Russian Ridge. The pathogen spreads through spores, and results in the sudden browning and consequent death of the infected tree.
Wanting to protect the grove of ancient oaks, any bay laurel trees within 15 feet of the ancient oaks have been removed. Bay laurels are known carriers of the pathogen, so their removal intends to help prevent the disease’s spread to this grove. Visitors are also discouraged from climbing the oaks, as their shoes could carry the pathogen’s spores.
The Russian Ridge area used to be a dairy farm and cattle grazing land from 1920 – 1950. The operation was run by a Russian immigrant, which resulted later in the naming of the area “Russian Ridge”.
The land began to be acquired in 1978. Today, it is a 3,137 acre preserve run by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space.
Visit the Park
Please note that there is no entrance fee to enter the park. Dogs are not allowed.
Here are some helpful resources to help plan your visit:
- Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve Park Map
- General Information
- Bay Nature Article – “Follow a Trail Through the Ancient Oaks on Russian Ridge in the Santa Cruz Mountains”