Crestridge Ecological Reserve is wonderful oasis between Interstate 8 and the residential development of Crest. The reserve contains approximately 3000 acres of protected habitat, including riparian and oak woodlands, coastal sage scrub, and chaparral. There are numerous, interconnecting trails which connect as far as Flinn Springs County Park and Los Coches Road, allowing one to craft hikes of varying lengths and difficulties.
During a recent heat wave, we decided to head out early before the sun burned through the protective marine layer and do a short section of the Valley View Truck Trail which runs through the Reserve. While there are multiple access points to Crestridge, we started at the main entrance off of Horsemill Road.
Around .25 mile, on the western edge of the oak grove, we came to another “Y” junction. The road to the right with a closed metal vehicle gate was Valley View Truck Trail. We turned right and began to climb the hill.
A short distance past the gate another trail branched off to the left. This leads up the hill to a nice little overlook area, and eventually reconnects with the Truck Trail, but for now we continued to the right.
While the truck trail continues on for several more miles, we wanted to make sure we were done hiking before the marine layer burned off. So we decided to call this our turnaround point, and headed back the way we had come.
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From I-8 east, take exit 20 for Greenfield Dr toward Crest. Turn right onto Greenfield Dr. Turn left onto La Cresta Road. Continue on La Cresta Road for 3.1 miles, then turn left onto Mountain View Road. Follow Mountain View Road for 1.2 miles, then turn left onto Horsemill Road. The trailhead will be at the end of Horsemill Road (in approximately .6 mile). Park on the street, being careful not to obstruct anyone’s driveway. map
|Total Distance:||3.3 miles|
|Difficulty:||Easy – Moderate|
|Total Ascent:||450 feet|
|Dog Friendly?:||Leashed dogs allowed|
|Bike Friendly?:||Bikes allowed|
|Facilities:||Composting toilet and water at trailhead|
For more information, visit:
Earth Discovery Institute – Crestridge Ecological Reserve
California Department of Fish and Wildlife – Crestridge Ecological Reserve
View route or download GPX from CalTopo