Windy Hill Open Space Preserve is a favorite among cyclists, runners, and hikers alike. The first time I came here I fell in love with the view. Sure, you gain nearly 2000 ft and there are some steep hills, but the reward of the bay below from San Jose all the way up to San Francisco is worth it. Back in my pre-mama fitness days I used to run up this mountain in 30 minutes. While now I am slowly trudging up the mountain with a 20 pound baby on my back, it’s still a killer workout and one of my favorite go-to bay area hikes.
If you’re a new mama like me and you’ve spent a lot of time breastfeeding (sitting) in those early months then you might have a butt that has become victim of gravity as well. Fortunately for us, there are trails like Windy Hill where you can burn a lot of calories all while getting outside and enjoying nature with your sweet babe.
Windy Hill Open Space Preserve: Hike Details
I prefer to park at the parking lot on Portola Road where there is a vault toilet but nothing else. There are NO trashcans. If you bring dogs do not forget the poop bags and don’t forget to pack it out, people! Same goes for diapers, but you already knew that.
From the parking lot head up the Betsy Crowder trail. This single track trail eventually meets up with the Hamms Gulch trail, a wide fire road that climbs all the way up to Skyline Boulevard. There are some pretty steep sections that are sure to get your blood pumping.
Once you’ve reached the top, you will be rewarded with sweeping views of the bay to the east and the Santa Cruz mountains and Pacific Ocean to the west if it is a clear day. At this point I usually turn around and head back down the way I came but you can continue along to do a long loop (~8 miles).
Windy Hill never disappoints with its views. Spring is my favorite time to visit but any time of year is nice. Find a map here.