Whenever I do Portola loop on my bike, I always pass the entrance to Windy Hill OSP, and I have thought many times about riding up there and hiking, but today I finally did it. I wasn’t sure if it would work well. I thought I might be too tired, but that turned out not to be the case. Again, my W2W-acquired endurance triumphs. I’m tired now though, and planning a nap soon.
Going up on the bike takes about 50 minutes, about 8.5 miles. Mostly it’s up Alpine, and then a little ways on Portola. There are no bike racks (that I could find), but there are plenty of nice-sized trees to lock up to. Bike parking was a lot easier than car parking; the preserve was quite busy.
I wasn’t sure if I would want to do this, but ultimately we did climb up to the summit, elevation approx. 1900 feet (the entrance is around 550 ft). The hiking took about three hours, so we were going pretty slowly to cover the 5 or so miles up and down Spring Ridge Trail and the Anniversary Trail. We saw several coyotes and a small brown lizard. The views were terrific, but the thick haze did make them a bit less exciting, so it would be better on a really clear day. But you can see all the way to the ocean and all the way to Mt. Diablo. Really amazing.
Coming down on the bike is faster — 35 minutes — and of course, a lot easier.
Overall, a challenging and enjoyable thing to do. I think I’m going to try biking+hiking for more of the nearby preserves, like Arastradero and the Dish area!